REDDING (CBS13) — The older sibling of two children feared dead after a gruesome discovery in a Redding storage locker is speaking out.
“What were you so angry at? What was your mentality? If you didn’t want the kids why didn’t you just give them to us? We were fighting for custody,” said Precious Aponte.
She’s mourning 3-year-old Delylah and 6-year-old Shawn Tara. The children are officially listed as missing, but are believed to be the two children who were found dead in a storage locker.
The Redding Police Department stopped short of identifying the children on Wednesday, but said an autopsy revealed the children in the locker were killed outside of Shasta County, and that other agencies would take the lead on the investigation.
The bodies were found after an arrest for suspected abuse against their 9-year-old sister. She is in the hospital recovering from severe abuse.
Tami Huntsman, their 39-year-old cousin, had custody of them. She and her boyfriend, 17-year-old Gonzalo Curiel, were arrested in for the torture of the 9-year-old.
“It completely tore me apart,” Aponte said. “I mean you see these children. They’re so innocent. so young. You think why would anyone want to hurt them?”
Aponte says she tried to get custody, but Huntsman assured her the children were fine. Then she stopped calling.
“Why isn’t she calling us back?” She said. “Why isn’t she letting us see the kids?”
Surveillance video from the lobby of the Dunnigan Motel 6 shows Huntsman and Curiel on Nov. 27 with no children two weeks before their arrest.
Amanda Latham was working the desk that day and checked the pair in. She says nothing about them seemed unusual.
“They seemed like everyday people going about their lives,” she said. “That’s what’s so shocking; they seemed so mellow, so calm, and like nothing was wrong.”
Surveillance video shows Huntsman paying for two rooms. A single bed in each of the rooms was used. It also shows the pair driving the same SUV that police say they found the 9-year-old locked inside and severely beaten.
Now Aponte wants answers.
“Why do this now? Why to these children? Why did you do what you did? Were you sick, were you going through something? Did you need help? Why didn’t you get the proper help?” she said.