Monterey County

Monterey County DA charges child abuse suspects with one count of child endangerment

The charge deals with alleged abuse for only one child; DA says that could increase

SALINAS, Calif. - At this point, the Monterey County District Attorney's Office said it is charging both Eraca Craig and Christian Deanda with one count of child endangerment against one child. Because the investigation is still ongoing more charges could be added.

It's being called the worst child neglect case in Monterey County by Sheriff Scott Miller. His investigators are accusing 31-year-old Eraca Craig and 42-year-old Christian Deanda of abusing their three children, a 3-year-old biological boy, a 5-year-old adopted son and an 8-year-old adopted girl.

"We're still continuing to do that investigation and receive information. We may be amending to add additional charges as the case moves on through our court system," said Stephanie Hulsey, assistant to the district attorney.

Hulsey said the one charge deals with alleged abuse to only one child.

"That is with respect to Jane Doe. If there is evidence to support the filing of additional charges to reflect additional victims, then that is something we would amend the complaint to reflect," said Hulsey.

On Friday, Sheriff Miller said the eight year old girl was the major target of the abuse. Miller said the girl was chained to the wall with a collar and denied food.

What we do know now is that the children are in protective custody and have already been interviewed by specialized social workers at Natividad Medical Center.

"To ensure that children are volunteering information and not being led to give certain information or agree simply with what an investigator is saying, children are asked open-ended questions," said Hulsey.

Hulsey said these interviews will be used in court as evidence.

The one current child endangerment charge holds a maximum penalty of six years in prison. Craig and Deanda are expected to be in court Wednesday.

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