SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Tami Joy Huntsman, 41, pleaded guilty to starving, torturing, and murdering two children left in her care in 2015 and then dumping their bodies in a storage unit.
The dead children — Delylah Tara, age three; and Shaun Tara, age six — were Huntsman’s niece and nephew. She had agreed to look after them while the kids’ dad (her brother) served jail time over a forest fire. The children’s mother had previously died in a car accident.
In addition, Huntsman and her boyfriend, Gonzalo Curiel, face charges over Delylah and Shaun’s “severely abused” nine-year-old sister, who police found weighing just 40 pounds and suffering from broken bones. The girl was also infested with lice.
Curiel, who was only 17 years old at the time, has pleaded not guilty on those counts of child abuse, torture, and mayhem.
Reportedly, Huntsman had forbidden the children to eat and exploded into a lethal storm of abuse after the nine-year-old girl “stole a bagel” — on Thanksgiving.In response, Huntsman beat Delylah and Shaun to death at her Salinas residence. She then transported the children’s remains 150 mile away to a storage facility in Redding.
After Delylah and Shaun were reported missing, investigators questioned Huntsman until she admitted what she had done and directed police to find the bodies.
Upon discovering the nine-year-old, Plumas County Sheriff Greg Hagwood told the press:
As part of her plea deal, Huntsman received life in prison without the possibility of parole rather than risk the capital punishment by going to trial. Prosecutor Berkley Brannon, addressing the sentence, stated: “Justice was served … She will die in prison.”
“This has 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.”
In a horrific bit of irony, Tami Huntsman described her job on Facebook as “Being the best mom I can be.”
Huntsman’s estranged husband blames Gonzalo Curiel for his ex’s sickening turn, stating:
“Tami Huntsman was the perfect mother, the perfect housewife, the perfect person, up until the point she met that kid.”
Curiel’s trial is set to begin on April 2, 2018. Since he was a minor at the time of the crimes, he will not be eligible for the death penalty.
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Main photo: Tami Huntsman [Redding Police Dept]