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Three malnourished, bruised children rescued from California home

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[March 22, 2014]  (Reuters)  Three young children with bruises and signs of malnourishment, one of whom was regularly chained to a wall, were rescued by police from their parents' "cluttered and dirty" home in northern California, the local sheriff's office said on Friday.

Officers went to check on the two boys, aged 3 and 5, and a girl, 8, on March 14 at their home in Salinas, 100 miles south of San Francisco, after two of the children missed medical appointments, arousing concern.

After speaking with the children's two mothers, officers found the children with "obvious bruising and discoloration consistent with malnourishment, and signs of mistreatment," said John Thornburg, a Monterey County sheriff's office spokesman.

"At times the parents had chained the 8-year-old to the wall while she was in the house," he said in a telephone interview, describing an attachment on the wall to which she would be bound to prevent her from getting food.

Police arrested the children's mothers, Eraca Dawn Craig, 31, and Christian Jessica Deanda, 44, the following day on charges of child abuse, neglect and false imprisonment.

A police report said there was "very little food" in the house, which was described as "cluttered and dirty."

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The children were taken into protective custody, and the girl was hospitalized for four days, Thornburg said.

The police report described both mothers as unemployed. They remain in custody in the county jail, Thornburg said. Their lawyer not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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