Tami Joy Huntsman, the 39-year-old woman who is under investigation in the deaths of two children whose bodies were found in a storage locker, was previously investigated for neglect, PEOPLE confirms.
Child welfare workers visited Huntsman’s Salinas, California, home multiple times over the past year, Elliot Robinson, head of the Monterey County Department of Social Services, said Wednesday.
Between September 2014 and August 2015, four complaints were filed about general neglect. “General neglect calls rarely will result in the removal of the child,” Robinson said, according to the Associated Press. “More often than not it’s about poverty.”
Huntsman and her 17-year-old boyfriend, Gonzalo Curiel, were arrested Friday in Quincy, where Huntsman had recently moved, following an investigation into the near-fatal beating of a 9-year-old girl. For that, they are charged with child abuse and torture.
The girl is currently at a hospital undergoing surgery for “numerous injuries,” Plumas County Sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Peay said, KSBW reports. Authorities said she was starved and weighed about 40 lbs. when they took her from the home. She also had various broken bones.
That investigation led authorities to a storage unit in Redding, California, later on Friday, where they found the dead bodies of two children. Police suspect the children are 3-year-old Delylah Tara and her 6-year-old brother, Shaun Tara, but have yet to confirm their identifies.
It’s believed that the 9-year-old and the two victims were all siblings, the children of Hunstman’s brother, Wayne.
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Wayne is currently incarcerated for allegedly igniting a massive wildfire in a national forest; he has pleaded not guilty to the charge. He placed his children in the care of his sister after their mother died when she was struck by a car while walking.
All together, Huntsman had five children in her custody prior to her arrest – two of her own, and her three nieces and nephews.
None of the five children living in the Salinas apartment were removed because there was no evidence that they were at risk, Robinson said, adding that none of the complaints alleged physical abuse, according to CBS News.
It’s unclear how the two children died; Huntsman and Curiel are not currently charged in their deaths. However, Shasta County District Attorney Stephen Carlton told the Redding Record Searchlight that evidence found during the autopsy showed “clearly” the children were killed in Monterey County, likely around Thanksgiving.
Social services officials are reviewing the Monterey County agency’s handling of the case. “We’re looking at the case to see if there’s anything we should have done differently that could have prevented this tragedy,” Robinson told The San Francisco Chronicle.
Huntsman and Curiel are being held on $1 million bail. They have not entered pleas to the charges against them.