Official: Social workers had visited home of killing suspect

A California woman under investigation in the killing of two children was visited by county child welfare workers four times in a year amid allegations of child neglect, officials said Wednesday.

However, Elliot Robinson, head of the Monterey County Department of Social Services, said investigators could not establish enough risk to the youngsters in her care to remove them from the apartment in Salinas, the San Francisco Chronicle reported (

The Associated Press typically does not identify abuse victims; it is not naming the woman and a teenage suspect because their relationship to the children is unclear.

On Friday, a 9-year-old girl suffering from neglect and abuse was found near a house in Quincy, where the woman had recently moved. Later, investigators found two children, ages 3 and 6, dead in a storage locker in Redding.

The woman and the 17-year-old male were arrested and charged with child abuse, torture and mayhem. Each remained jailed on $1 million bail

They have been named as suspects in the deaths but have not been charged.

The investigation began Friday with the discovery of the starving 9-year-old girl who was taken to a hospital.

Plumas County Sheriff Greg Hagwood said some officials were so shaken by the abuse endured by the girl that they might have to take time off to recover.

"When you see what has been done to a beautiful little 9-year-old girl ." the sheriff said before stopping to regain his composure. "Anyone not affected needs to get some help."

The case took another turn Sunday, when Plumas County authorities got a call from someone in Monterey County asking about the two younger children.

Detectives questioned the woman and teenager again, and learned of the storage locker, the sheriff told the Sacramento Bee.

Redding police Lt. Pete Brindley wouldn't say whether the children were killed in the storage unit or elsewhere.

The woman and teen appeared in court Tuesday but did not enter pleas. Their arraignments were set for Jan. 7. Their attorneys declined to comment.