A 39-year-old woman and her 17-year-old companion, both living in the tiny Northern California town of Quincy in the Plumas National Forest, were arrested Thursday on charges of felony child abuse, torture, and mayhem in connection with an abused young girl hospitalized in Redding and the abused bodies of two toddlers found dead in a storage unit in Redding. Homicide charges are still pending against the two as three law enforcement jurisdictions investigate the case, the Plumas County Sheriff's Department, Redding Police Department, and Salinas Police Department, as NBC News is reporting.
As KSBW reports from the Central Coast, 39-year-old Tami Joy Huntsman may have had temporary custody of the three children, who were all siblings, and investigators were led to an apartment in East Salinas where she and 17-year-old Gonzalo Curiel had recently lived.
The investigation began after Plumas County investigators arrived at the apartment where Huntsman and Curiel were living in Quincy and found a girl there who was severely abused and in need of medical attention. She is reportedly "fighting for her life" and was undergoing surgery last night, per KSBW. It's unclear what or who first summoned them to the apartment. CBS 5 describes the girl as a pre-teen.
Further investigation led them to the storage unit in Redding, about a two-and-a-half-hour drive to the west from Quincy, where they discovered the younger children's bodies, ages 3 and 5, apparently siblings of the hospitalized girl, according to the SF Chronicle.
It remains unclear what Huntsman's exact relationship to the children is, or for how long they may have been in her care. The identities of the deceased children has not been released.
Here's the original release from the Redding PD.
NEWS RELEASE - DECEASED JUVENILES December 14, 2015 4:30 p.m. 15-87988 On December 11, 2015 Tami Joy...Posted by Redding Police Department on Monday, December 14, 2015
Update: KSBW is reporting that the abused girl who remains alive is nine years old, and may have led investigators to the storage unit where the bodies of her siblings were found. They also report that the children may have been killed in Salinas, hence the attention on that crime scene, which Huntsman and Curiel left as little as a week ago.
Huntsman reportedly has 12-year-old twins of her own who were taken out of her home by Child Protective Services. She's reportedly a distant relative of these three kids.
But the biggest WTF to come out of this case in the last couple of hours is that Tami Joy Huntsman is actually the sister of Wayne Allen Huntsman, the very same man arrested and convicted of starting the King Fire in El Dorado County, which scorched 126 square miles before being extinguished in September 2014. KSBW reports that they both grew up in Santa Cruz.