Mom Accused of Killing & Torturing Kids in Situation That Seems Hard to Miss

It's hard to recall a story of child abuse more horrific than this one. A 9-year-old girl found locked in a car, starving, beat up, and near death leads police to the bodies of her two siblings, murdered at the hands of a woman who disgustingly listed her profession on social media as "being the best mom I can be."

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The mother accused of torturing and murdering the children under her care is 39-year-old California woman Tami Joy Huntsman. And, as police begin to piece together her horrific crimes, it's hard to believe that while all of this was going on, not one person was able to help the kids or sound an alarm.

It's not like things over at Tami's house would have looked great to an outsider. She was almost 40 and shacked up with a 17-year-old boy, Gonzalo Curiel, who is also being charged by police.

The 9-year-old girl found locked in the car is Huntsman's niece, and she had been systematically abused over time -- police referred to it as "torture." She weighed 40 pounds, was infested with lice, was covered in open sores, and had a broken jaw. The two children Huntsman is accused of killing were just babies. The bodies of 3-year-old Delaylah Tara and 6-year-old Shaun Tara -- siblings of the 9-year-old girl who was found in the nick of time before she wound up just like her younger brother and sister -- were stuffed in a storage locker. The three kids were in Huntsman's care after their mother was killed in a traffic accident and their father went to jail.

Sure, there were complaints of neglect from some neighbors, and child protective services workers reportedly made several visits to her home to check up on reports of neglect. There were five children living with her at the time -- two are now dead, one was locked in a car near death, and two twins, her biological children, are now in foster care. How is it possible there were no signs of abuse or neglect? How could social workers visit that household and determine that the children were safe? It's all so unbelievable.

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We all failed those children. Let this serve as a lesson to all of us -- especially mothers -- that when you get that nagging feeling in your gut that a child is in danger, we have to speak up. When we see children in need, it's our job to reach out to those kids and try to help them or draft some bigger guns to get involved. We need to yell and scream and jump up and down if we have to. Because standing by while another child is murdered and betrayed by the person who's supposed to care the most is unacceptable.

Let's face it, child protective services is underfunded and stretched to the max, and unless they are able to witness unequivocal abuse in their presence, the law makes it difficult for them to act. It was only after someone saw that child locked in the car and tipped off police that the kids were rescued. Up until that moment, someone -- probably lots of people -- knew Tami as a complete monster and decided to do nothing.

Shame on all of us.

It's too late for those murdered children. But hopefully today we can all harden our resolve to do a better job of looking out for the kids amongst us who might be in trouble.

Unbelievably, on Facebook Tami is reported to have listed her profession as "being the best mom I can be." It's just hard to imagine there wasn't anyone around concerned that maybe she wasn't living up to her full maternal potential.

Here's more on the terrible story.

 

 

Image via USA Today/YouTube

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