Murder charges against woman, teen in deaths of 2 children found in locker

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Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin and Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo held a press conference at Salinas City Hall today about the status of the investigation following the arrest of Tami Huntsman and a 17-year-old companion.

The DA said the suspects will be charged with two counts of first degree murder with special circumstances.

The case will be tried in Monterey County and prosecutors could seek death penalty.

Chief McMillin and the District Attorney Flippo released the following timeline:

Friday December 11th: The Plumas County Sheriff's Office responded to a residence in Quincy, California to check the welfare of a nine-year-old girl. At that location they began a child neglect investigation.

Deputies ultimately were able to contact and arrest Tammy Huntsman, 39, and her 17-year-old male companion after it was determined that they both were abusing a nine-year old girl.

Huntsman and the 17-year-old were booked into the Plumas County Jail for felony child abuse, torture and mayhem.

Saturday December 12th: 12:00 PM. The Plumas County Sheriff's Office contacted the Salinas Police Department to discuss the possible connection to the case of an apartment located at 501 Fremont St., Apt #1. Salinas Police offered any assistance necessary to assist in their investigation.

Sunday December 13th: At 12:00 PM, the Plumas County Sheriff's Office contacted the Salinas Police after receiving new information about two previously unknown children who had not been mentioned during the initial investigation.

These children were identified as Delylah Tara, 3, and Shaun Tara, 6. The Sheriff's Office asked us to conduct a welfare check at the Fremont street address and to check with local contacts to determine the whereabouts of the two children.

The Salinas Police received that information at 12:02 PM, officers arrived on scene at 12:14 PM, and after a brief investigation they forced entry into the apartment at 3:10 PM.

After determining the apartment was unoccupied, Salinas Police detectives prepared a search warrant for the apartment so as to look for evidence of abuse and neglect, and to try to determine the whereabouts of the missing children.

Salinas Police entered the children in the statewide missing person database and continued to investigate the whereabouts of the two children.

Attempts to locate family members about this were unsuccessful.

At 10:00 PM, the Plumas County Sheriff's Office contacted the Salinas Police to report that the Redding Police had found two deceased children in a plastic container in a storage unit in the City of Redding.

Monday December 15th through now: Salinas Police and Monterey County District Attorney investigators, in conjunction with Plumas County Sheriff and Redding Police investigators, are working together to follow up on leads. This includes speaking to potential witnesses, and family members.

Wednesday December 16, 2015: The Shasta County Coroner's Office conducted an autopsy on two deceased children.

Preliminary autopsy results determined that the cause of death of the two children was a result of ongoing physical abuse.  

This abuse likely started in Salinas and continued elsewhere.

The Salinas Police Department said, "We are all devastated by the nature of the abuse we've seen and are committed to bringing those responsible to justice."