Shaun Tara
- November 2015

Delylah Tara
- November 2015

Three children were living with their Aunt, Tami Huntsman who was 39 years old and her boyfriend, Gonzalo Curiel who was only 17 years old. It was believed that the children came to live with their Aunt after their father had been accused of causing a wildfire. their mother had taken her own life. From September 2014 until August of 2015, there had been five complaints made to Social Services who went out to check about the complaints and determined that there was nothing wrong with the children. Sadly, by November, they would be proven wrong when Police went to investigate and found a nine year old girl who was suffering from starvation and broken bones, she was in an SUV that was parked in Quincy. This discovery caused Police to question where the other two children, her brother and sister were. In the end about 24 investigators would end up trying to figure out what had happened in the home:

"In my 32 year career, this is the most egregious child abuse
homicide I've ever seen"
Police Chief Kelly McMillin

District Attorney Deal Flippo said that two children who were found in a storage shed had died from ongoing child abuse. Six year old Shaun and three year old Delylah were said to have died around Thanksgiving of 2015, though their exact date of death is not known. After finding the nine year old child, Police were lead to a storage shed where they found the bodies of Shaun and Delylah.

In December of 2015, a family was getting ready to bury two children who they loved and would miss:

"They system failed my niece and nephew. Multiple calls were made to
do welfare checks, but nothing ever came of it. Now we have to bury 2
small, innocent kids who will never have the chance to grow up, finish
elementary school, play with friens or even graduate high school"
From a Go Fund Me page set up by Laura Garcia Miranda

In January of 2016, Tami and Gonzalo were accused of abusing these two children to death and then hiding their bodies in a storage unit, they both plead not guilty to charges of felony child abuse, torture and mayhem. It is believed that the children had been abused to death about 300 miles from where they were found in the storage shed. The nine year old girl was going to have surgery due to multiple injuries. Also in the home were 12 year old twins, a boy and a girl, they were taken into protective custody and were the children of Tami and her estranged husband Chris. The family had been staying with a friend when the discovery was made.

The nine year old girl was lucky to be alive weighing only 40 pounds she had broken bones in her shoulder and fingers, she had a dislocated jaw and some teeth were missing while others were loose and reports say she had open sores and was covered in lice:

"This had shaken my staff to the core. 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"
Sheriff Greg Hagwood

During questioning Police were told that they would find the two missing siblings inside of a pair of plastic bins in a storage container about 150 miles away. It came out that none of the five children living in the home were removed when the child abuse reports came in because "there was no evidence that they were at risk" according to Elliot Robinson of the County Department Of Social Services. The four complaints that came in were for "general neglect" which includes poor supervision, improper feeding, lice infestation and a dirty home:

"General neglect calls will rarely result in removal of the child. More
often than not, it's about poverty. We're looking at the case to see if
there's anything we should have done differently that could have
prevented this tragedy"
Elliot Robinson

Unfortunately, poverty is NO excuse for lice and and dirty home, you can be poor and still be clean. I am not reading any reports that this family was offered help of any kind. Tami's Facebook page was alleged to have listed her job as, "Being The Best Mom I Can Be". I guess she didn't set the bar very hard on how good of a mother she should have been or these children would not have been abused to death. Tami's husband said that she had never been and evil person"

"Tami Huntsman was the perfect mother, the perfect housewife, the perfect
person up until the point she met that kid"
Chris Criswell

I found the following report which lists WAY more than four times calls were made about neglect and abuse in the home:

Repeated reports of abuse to child protective services CPS officials responded to two dozen abuse or neglect referrals involving Shaun and Delylah, 6 and 3, respectively, and their 9-year-old half-sister. Officials determined that many of the reports were unfounded or inconclusive:

April 18, 2010: Shaun and older sister, emotional abuse, general neglect; unfounded
May 13, 2010: Shaun and older sister, general neglect; unfounded
May 20, 2010: Shaun and older sister, general neglect
June 13, 2010: Shaun, at risk due to sibling abuse; Older sister, severe neglect, unfounded
Aug. 4, 2010: Shaun and older sister, general neglect
Nov. 15, 2010: Shaun and older sister, general neglect, physical abuse; inconclusive
Christmas 2010: Shaun, at risk due to sibling abuse; older sister, general neglect, abuse
Dec. 27, 2010: Shaun, general neglect; substantiated; Older sister, general neglect, substantiated and physical abuse, inconclusive
Jan. 3, 2011: Shaun, at risk due to sibling abuse; Older sister, general neglect, physical abuse
Jan. 4, 2011: Shaun, general neglect, at risk due to sibling abuse; Older sister, general neglect, physical abuse
Jan. 19, 2011: Shaun, general neglect; substantiated
July 31, 2013: Shaun, Delylah and older sister, general neglect; unfounded
Aug. 28, 2014: Shaun, Delylah and older sister, caretaker absence/incapacity, general neglect
Aug. 28, 2014: Shaun, Delylah and older sister, general neglect; unfounded
Sept. 25, 2014: Older sister, caretaker absence/incapacity
April 9, 2015: Shaun, Delylah and older sister, general neglect; unfounded
April 18, 2015: Shaun and Delylah, general neglect; unfounded
May 15, 2015: Shaun, Delylah and older sister, general neglect; inconclusive
Aug. 14, 2015: Shaun, Delylah and older sister, general neglect; inconclusive
Dec. 11, 2015: Older sister, caretaker absence/incapacity, emotional and physical abuse, substantiated; sexual abuse, unfounded
Dec. 13, 2015: Shaun and Delylah, physical abuse; Older sister, general neglect, physical abuse
Dec. 14, 2015: Shaun and Delylah, physical abuse * Tami Huntsman named as alleged perpetrator

In August of 2015 a Social Worker was interviewing Shaun, Delylah and their older half sister. The apartment was dirty and cluttered with cockroaches walking across the bedroom walls. This was the beginning of Social Services tracking the family and on this visit the Social Worker also saw bruises and scratches on Shaun's forehead. Shaun said that he had slipped on a toy and that a cat had scratched him. The nine year old child in the home had her head shaved due to having been treated for lice and the treatment burned her hair off. All of the children in the home had bloody legs from scratching flea bites. The Social Worker asked Tami about the complaint that was made against her and Tami denied it, when the children told her they felt safe with their mother, the Social Worker left and that was that last time she would see Shaun and Delylah alive.

On December 11th of that year County Officials found the nine year old half sister in the car with the injuries she had sustained during abuse and neglect from Tami and Gonzalo. Two days later, Shaun and Delylah were found in the storage shed. Of course the deaths of the two children as well as the abuse of the half sister caused people to ask questions about how Social Services had failed these children. It was reported that their failure to follow state regulations and practices of monitoring the children was what lead to their deaths. It soon came out that the children had endured horrific living conditions most of their lives.

The children first grew up in Riverside and San Bernardino where Social Workers made many visits to check out reports of neglect and abuse while in the home of their biological parents. In 2013, their biological mother committed suicide by jumping front of a car. Just a few months later, the father of the two youngest children was sentenced to prison on drug charges and ask Tami, who was his cousin, to take care of his children to keep them out of the system. When asked how she and her two half siblings had come to be in the care of Tami, sadly, the nine year old said:

"Nobody else wanted to take us so she took and adopted us"

The truth was that Tami had never adopted the children and didn't even have legal guardianship. California law allows for this kind of transfer of parental rights to avoid court costs to families and avoid time in already overcrowded court dockets. It was also reported that in fact Tami had been asked by Social Workers to go to court and get legal custody of the children, she just never did.

In April and May of that same year, Tami had been reported for neglect when it was said that the children were home alone and the school reported that the nine year old wore the same sweater and torn pants to school every day, that she was covered in lice and seem to be hungry all the time, eating large amounts of food at lunch. Along with those allegations it was said that she had 16 unexcused absences in one  year, apparently, Tami had 12 year old twins who were in better shape than the other three children.

It was said that when Social Services visited the apartment, they found that 11 people lived in the tiny home and Shaun told them that at times, he and the his sister were spanked with a belt by a teenaged boy who live there. Tami said that she had no known about the belt and that she would not allow it to happen any more she also said her daughter was absent from school because she had troubles with her ex-husband who kept stalking her adding that he had drug abuse problems. Apparently the teenager living with them was a boy from the neighborhood who was friends with her son and she helped take care of him.

After this visit, CPS decided that the allegations were "inconclusive" and that the children were not in any immediate danger and that custody issues would be up to the courts:

"While it is difficult, she wants to keep the children in her care because
she made a promise to their father and also because they are like her
family now"

I would hate to think of this being the way she treats family and a promise made to her brother should NOT have been a reason to leave abused and obviously neglected children in the care of these people who were living in filth with too many people in a small apartment. A promise to her brother should not have cost his children their lives.

In May, a call was received by Social Workers stating that Shaun and Delylah's grandparents were searching for them as well as their sister ever since their mother had died. Tami told Social Workers that the grandparents were not fit to care for the children and there was never any legal paper work filed by them to request guardianship. In August another report to CPS stated that the children were being neglected with the older girl being tied to a bed when she would wet herself.

CPS workers stated that it was hard to get honest answers out of the children especially when they are stressed out:

"They lost the two most important people in their lives and now they've
found some stability again. And my guess is they're being told if you
don't stay here you'll end up in foster care or worse"

During her private interviews with the children, the Social Worker noticed that Tami kept herself within hearing distance of anything that was being said.:

"Should this family come to the attention of the Department again, it is
highly recommended the children be interviewed privately"
From the Social Workers Notes

So it seems that Social Workers had major concerns and just seemed to brush them under the table. It was OBVIOUS that something was not right in the home and they did very little to help these children. Trying to contact the family for over a month, Social Workers left phone messages, knocked on the door several times and wrote a letter to check if the family had moved, they were never answered. On September 29th the same Social Worker who had first visited the home decided that the original complaints were inconclusive so she closed the case writing that it was unknown if there was imminent safety concerns because the assessment could not be completed.

While the family was still considered missing, CPS received a call on October 16rh from the children's elementary school. It was stated that the lice on the older girl was still there and that the child said she watched the other children at night while the parents were out adding that Tami was having a relationship with one of the teenage boys in the home as well as the fact that the two younger children were being tied to their bed with zip ties as a form of punishment. It was reported that a visit was made to the home with Police knocking on the door to do a welfare check, however, nobody answered the door.

A Social Worker made a noted that these reports had been reported and investigated in the past and nothing further was done. Shaun and Delylah are thought to have been killed about a month after Police attempted to visit the home that night. Neighbors said they saw Tami moving out of the apartment with the help of her 17 year old boyfriend around Thanksgiving.

After the nine year old girl was found and then Shaun and Delylah, the children who remained in the home were taken into protective custody.

In August of 2016 Prosecutors announced that they would be seeking the death penalty against Tami who broke down in tears after collapsing when she learned about this decision. Investigators said that Tami and Gonzalo had driven the children's bodies 300 miles from where they had been killed and rented a storage locker to hide them in:

"In my 32 year career, this is the most egregious child abuse
homicide I have ever seen"
Police Chief Kelly McMillin

Autopsies had shown that the Shaun and Delylah had died from long term child abuse. Prosecutor Steve Somers stated that the decision had been made by District Attorn Dean Flippo who had consulted with a team of Prosecutors and interviewed family members of the two chlidren

“We spoke to several people, especially the children’s father"
Steve Somers

Tami's Lawyer, Kay Duffy, left the courthouse without speaking to reporters and the Lawyer for Gonzalo said he was physically ill by the decision that was made:

"The idea that a government, to which I pay taxes, which I help
support, is going to seek, in cold blood, to exterminate the life
of a woman who has 12 year old twins"
Jeremy Dzubay

I wonder if this Lawyer had any idea the horrible suffering these children went through, where were THEIR rights, where is the sympathy for them? They were "exterminated in cold blood", by someone who was trusted to take care of them, why would Tami deserve any less? I am against the death penalty, but I'm also against people who murder children and then cry when someone wants to murder them for their crime.

Reports say that Tami was pregnant when she was arrested though it is not known if she gave birth and if so, where that child is at this time. A trial date was set for February 6, 2016 and Steve Somers wanted the trail to go on "with all deliberate speed":

"And the main reason for this is we have children witnesses. We have
three children who are going to testify as witnesses and they need to
move on with their lives.

Gonzalo was facing life in prison without the possibility of parole due to the fact that he was underage at the time the deaths occurred. Both Tamie and Gonzalo had plead not guilty and were each given a bond of $1 million.

In November of 2016 a new trial date was set for February of 2017 due to Attorney Kay Duffy Taylor being being removed from the case. Judge Pamela Butler said that she would move the trial back two weeks:

"There's still a lot of material we need to look through and we still don't have
Keenan counsel"
Scott Erdbacher - Tami's new Lawyer

I want to thank Lynn for sending me this story and for patience from her and everyone else while it takes me a long time to get each child added.

This page was created on January 8, 2017

Death occurred in the state of California

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