Women Accused of Starving, Chaining Children Say Girl Went on Hunger Strikes: Warrant

Two Northern California women accused of chaining up their 8-year-old adopted daughter to prevent her from getting food have claimed the girl weighed only 40 pounds because she went on hunger strikes, according to a sheriff's office search warrant.

One of the women, Eraca Dawn Craig, 31, also said the girl would only eat when she was told she would otherwise have to go to the doctor's office and would eat until she vomited, the warrant by the Monterey County Sheriff's Office said. It was reported by the Salinas Californian on Friday.

Craig and Christian Jessica Deanda, 44, are charged with felony false imprisonment and felony child endangerment.

They are also facing misdemeanor child-endangerment charges in connection with the treatment of two boys, ages 5 and 3. A judge raised each woman's bail from $50,000 to $500,000 on Friday.

Deanda's attorney, Jeremy Dzubay, has said there was a much wider story to tell.

Susan Chapman, who is representing Craig, said in court on Friday her client has no prior criminal record, the Californian reported.

"She poses no danger to the community, and the children are now in a safe environment,'' Chapman said.

Deputies were called to Craig and Deanda's Salinas home on March 14 after the girl missed a second appointment with a physical therapist, according to the search warrant. Authorities have described Craig and Deanda as domestic partners.

A deputy described the girl as haggard and said her hands had bruises and marks and her fingertips and feet were a purplish color. The deputy noted a scar under her short-cropped hair, though Craig later blamed it on a self-inflicted nail injury, according to the warrant.

Sheriff's officials have said the girl was hospitalized for five days, and the two boys also showed signs of abuse.

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