REDDING, California (KRON) — A 39-year-old woman and a teenage boy are suspected in the deaths of two children whose bodies were found inside a storage unit in Redding, authorities said.
The case came to light after police checked on a 9-year-old girl who was found starving and injured but alive.
Autopsies for the 3-year-old girl and 6-year-old boy, whose bodies were found at a storage facility in Redding, were planned for Wednesday. Authorities have not identified them nor said how they were related to the woman and her teenage companion.
On Sunday, Redding officers acted on a tip from another police department, went to the AAA Enterprise Store-All and found a locked unit, police said. They broke the lock and inside discovered the two dead children.
Redding police launched a homicide investigation, saying that Tami Joy Huntsman, 39, and Gonzalo Curiel, 17, are considered the suspects.
“This is a very fluid, complicated and ongoing case stemming from what appears to be a series of horrific acts,” said David Hollister, the district attorney in Plumas County, where the couple has lived.
The department noted Huntsman and Curiel had physical custody of two children, brother and sister Delylah Tara, 3, and Shaun Tara, 6, who have been reported missing.
Huntsman and Curiel moved around the past few weeks, traveling to Redding; Plumas County, in northeast California; and Monterey County on the coast, the Redding police said in a news release.
On Friday, the Plumas County Sheriff’s Department received a call about a possible case of child abuse or neglect in Quincy, a town of about 1,700 people, authorities said. They went to the place where Huntsman and Curiel were staying.
Plumas County Sheriff Greg Hagwood said officers found a 9-year-old girl on the floorboard of a locked SUV, according to The Plumas News. She weighed about 40 pounds, had open sores, lice, broken bones and missing teeth, the sheriff said.
“This has shaken my staff to the core,” Hagwood told the Plumas News. “That little girl had been subjected to the most unspeakable measure of torture for an extended period of time. This is child abuse, the likes of which we haven’t experienced here (in Plumas County).”
The girl was taken into protective custody and is receiving medical care in Sacramento hospital, the Redding police said.
Two other children, 12-year-old twins living with Huntsman and Curiel, were placed in foster care, the Plumas News said.
Huntsman is the 9-year-old girl’s aunt and had custody of the girl; Huntsman is the biological mother of the 12-year-old twins, the Plumas News said.
Huntsman and Curiel were arrested and charged with torture and felony child abuse.
On Sunday, the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office got a call from someone in Salinas, in Monterey County, asking about the two children, according to the Sacramento Bee.
“We knew nothing about a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old,” Hagwood said. The two children had not been seen when the child abuse investigation started.
Deputies interrogated Huntsman and Curiel again and learned about the storage unit, the Bee reported. They called police in Redding.
Huntsman is not the mother of Delylah and Shaun, but her relationship to those children is undetermined, a social services official told CNN.
CNN contributed to this article.