News

Abuse report leads to 2 dead children in California storage unit, injured girl in house

SAN FRANCISCO – A child abuse investigation led to the bodies of two young children inside a commercial storage unit in Northern California, along with a starving, injured 9-year-old at a house about 140 miles away, authorities said Tuesday.

The 3-year-old girl and 6-year-old boy were found dead Friday at a storage facility in Redding, a city of 91,000 about 300 miles north of San Francisco.

Homicide detectives were investigating, and autopsies were planned for Wednesday. The children’s names were not released.

The investigation began with a call about a possible child abuse case in the small Northern California town of Quincy.

On Friday, authorities found the starving 9-year-old at a Quincy home, according to a news release from the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office. The unidentified girl was taken to a hospital. No details on her condition were available Tuesday.

Sheriff’s officials later arrested a 17-year-old boy and 39-year-old woman on abuse allegations related to the 9-year-old. Each remained jailed Tuesday on $1 million bail. The two were being held on suspicion of felony child abuse, torture and mayhem.

Attorneys Douglas Prouty, who represents the 39-year-old, and Robert Zernich, who represents the teen, both declined to comment. The Associated Press typically does not identify abuse victims; it is not naming the teen or the woman because their relationship to the children is unclear.

The investigation then led authorities about 140 miles northwest, to the Redding storage facility where they found the bodies. A woman who answered the phone there Tuesday declined to comment.

Redding Police Lt. Pete Brindley wouldn’t say whether the two children were killed in the storage unit or elsewhere. No other details were released.

Meanwhile, south of San Francisco, authorities searched a home in Salinas, where the teen and woman recently lived. They did not say whether they found anything.

Social services had investigated the 39-year-old and her family within the last year for general neglect, said Elliott Robinson, director of social services for Monterey County.

Robinson’s office filed the death reports for the two children found in Redding. He declined to comment further.

Brindley said he expects more details to be released later Tuesday.