Monterey County

Suspects charged with child neglect distanced themselves from everyone, one neighbor said

Suspects declined multiple invitations to neighbor's BBQs

Latest discoveries in Salinas child abuse case

SALINAS, Calif. - Adan Gomez never thought twice about it.

"You never think your neighbor is going to do that," Gomez said.

His next-door neighbors were arrested for allegedly starving their three kids, one of them chained to the floor, Monterey County sheriff deputies said. They have two boys, ages 3 and 5, and an 8-year-old girl.

When Eraca Craig and Christian Deanda moved in, Gomez tried the "friendly neighbor" approach.

Gomez said the two women were private people. Every time he would go over to their house to try and invite them to his house for BBQs, he said they declined.

"She said thank you, we don't want to go over there," Gomez remembered. "We're OK, we've eaten already."

An eerie excuse for what Sheriff Scott Miller calls the worst case of child neglect he's seen in his 30 years in law enforcement.

Unrelated to this case, Child Protective Services deals with this issue all the time.

"A situation that can include torture, it could include hunger, that could include physical abuse, what we have as a primary goal is to help that child overcome the trauma and to overcome the scarring," said Elliott Robinson, director of Social Services.

Two of the kids in this case were adopted by the women. Gomez has an adopted son himself.

"If you are not going to take care of them, why adopt kids, why have them?" Gomez said. "I don't know how many more people can be that way and we don't even know it."

The SPCA for Monterey County rescued 14 animals including: three dogs, three fish, six cats, a bird, and a goat from the same house.

Both women pleaded not guilty to multiple felony charges of child abuse and false imprisonment.The two women are due back in court March 26.

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