Autopsy: Children found in storage unit died of ‘ongoing physical abuse’

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

REDDING, Calif. – The Monterey County district attorney says murder warrants will be filed against a couple accused in the deaths of two young children.

On Sunday, Redding officers acted on a tip from another police department, went to the AAA Enterprise Store-All and found  two dead children inside one of the units.

Also, a 9-year-old girl was found on the floorboard of a locked SUV. The girl weighed about 40 pounds, had open sores, lice, broken bones and missing teeth, the sheriff said.

Tami Joy Huntsman, 39, and Gonzalo Curiel, 17, have already been charged with felony child abuse and torture in the case of the 9-year-old girl.

However, Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo said murder warrants may be filed against the couple as early as Friday.

He added that he might seek the death penalty.

An autopsy showed the two children, who have been tentatively identified as 3-year-old Delylah Tara and 6-year-old Shaun Tara, died of “ongoing physical abuse.”

Elliot Robinson, the head of the Monterey County Department of Social Services, told KSBW that welfare workers visited the couple’s home four times to look into allegations of child neglect.

However, they did not remove any children from Huntsman’s care.

Robinson said investigators could not establish enough of a risk to the kids in Huntsman’s care to take them away.

Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin said officers twice went to Huntsman’s apartment after receiving anonymous reports about child abuse.

One time nobody was home and the second time the officer found a child asleep and other children doing homework — nothing to indicate abuse, McMillin said.

The department will be investigating whether there were any “missed opportunities” to uncover wrongdoing, the chief said.