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Prosecutor: 2 children found in California storage unit murdered because of bagel

Delylah and Shaun Tara. Photo courtesy of KSBW.

According to KSBW News, the 2015 violent deaths of Delylah Tara, 3, and her brother, Shaun Tara, 6, in Salinas were so monstrous that even veteran homicide detectives struggled emotionally with the case.

In court Wednesday, prosecutors revealed the prime motive behind the child killings, making the case even more incomprehensible.

Monterey County prosecutor Steve Somers said Delylah, Shaun, and their 9-year-old sister were beaten because the 9-year-old girl "stole" a bagel on Thanksgiving.

Now, the children's aunt, Tami Huntsman, and Gonzalo Curiel, who was 17-years-old at the time, are being charged with torture and murder.

Somers described events immediately leading up to Thanksgiving Day of 2015 when the 9-year-old girl took the bagel, "they got a beating, and that's when the kids died."

Investigators say the 9-year-old girl survived. "She survived and feels guilty," Somers said.

Somers said Huntsman and Curiel left their Salinas apartment the day after Thanksgiving in the middle of the night, driving the two bodies and the severely injured 9-year-old girl, to Plumas County.

Officials said the 9-year-old girl was rescued two weeks later after being found by Plumas County Sheriff's deputies in a locked vehicle in Quincy. The young girl was rushed to the hospital where her injuries showed she had nearly been beaten to death. Investigators say they didn't know at the time that the young girl had two missing siblings until Huntsman's mother called them and asked where they were.

"I want to know where those babies are," Joy Tara told Detective Steve Peay. "They could be on the side of the road, or buried somewhere."

Tara told Peay that her 41-year-old daughter was "obsessed" with her underage boyfriend, Curiel.

In court Tuesday, Juvenile Hall surveillance video played in court showed Curiel telling investigators where they could find the children's bodies. Delylah and Shaun's bodies were found on Dec. 14, 2015, in a Redding storage facility.

Peay testified in court saying when he asked Huntsman where the two other Tara siblings were, she claimed she had given the kids up to an agency in November.

Joy Tara did not have good things to say about the Monterey County Department of Social Services and Salinas police, saying they did not do enough to save the children after she alerted them to child neglect. Joy Tara said Delylah was zip-tied to a bed to keep her from "wandering" around.

Even though a joint murder trial was scheduled to begin March 5, the judge decided Wednesday that Huntsman's trial will be delayed until Oct. 15 and Curiel's trial will begin separately March 5. Curiel is being tried as an adult.

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