SALINAS, Calif. -

A Monterey County Superior Court judge has raised the bail to $500,000 for two women accused of abusing three children in the Salinas area.

Bail for Eraca Craig and Christian Deanda previously was set at $50,000 but prosecutors sought for a bail increase, citing the extreme nature of the charges against the two women. Prosecutors also argued that the pair posed a flight risk.

When Monterey County Sheriff's deputies arrested the pair and removed their children from the couple's Russell Road home, deputies said it appeared the family was preparing to leave town.

Defense attorneys for Craig and Deanda argued against the bail increase but admitted they had been planning to move to Fresno. That was because both women had gotten jobs there and were seeking better healthcare for one of the children, the attorneys said.

Deanda and Craig were arrested last week after deputies performed a welfare check on the children, ages 3, 5 and 8. The women are accused of starving and abusing the children. It's alleged they had even chained the 8-year-old to the wall to keep her from getting food.

Deanda and Craig, who were planning on getting married later this month, are the legal guardians of the two older children. The youngest child is Craig's biological child, deputies said.