Saturday, 17 August, 2019

California couple who held 13 children captive due in court

David Turpin and Louise Turpin David Turpin and Louise Turpin
Patty Aguilar | 19 January, 2018, 11:47

Their parents, David and Louise Turpin, have been charged with 12 counts of torture, seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult, six counts of child abuse, and 12 counts false imprisonment.

David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of torture and child abuse in Riverside County.

David Turpin was also charged with one count of committing a lewd act on a child by force or duress, according to Riverside County District Attorney Michael Hestrin.

Their home in Perris, a city in Riverside County east of Los Angeles, was a veritable prison, where some of the couple's 13 children, ranging in age from 2 to 29 years old, were chained to furniture, officials have said.

Now, The New York Post reported the couple is being held on a $9 million bond, after their 17-year-old daughter escaped their Perris, California home and called 911 to report that her 12 siblings were being held against their will.

The district attorney said the parents would bring food home for themselves but would not allow their children to eat; the 29-year-old female sibling is said to have weighed just 37kgs.

All 13 children are being treated for malnutrition and are undergoing medical tests.

He said none of the victims had seen a doctor in more than four years, and none of them had ever seen a dentist. "She would tell us they went to Disneyland all the time, they would go to Vegas".

Among some of the horrors found in the house, prosecutors said evidence suggested that the children were not allowed to shower a few times a year, children were punished through beatings and starvation frequently, and the children were often kept in the rooms.

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The siblings were fed very little and on a schedule.

Others who knew the Turpins are sharing their stories about the family as investigators try to piece together why their 13 children were locked in a basement chained to their beds.

"They were not allowed to have toys although there were many toys found in the house that were in their original package and had never been opened", he said.

A sibling who escaped with her got scared and turned back, Mr Hestrin said. The abuse lasted until one of the children escaped with a cellphone and alerted police.

As the years passed by, Ms Flores said her sister gradually shut out more family members, even turning away her father when he planned to visit the family.

Hestrin said the children are "in good hands", and are being cared for, but he admitted he did not know where the children may end up.

The dozen oldest children were so severely malnourished they faced muscle-wasting, DA Mike Hestrin said, and have suffered cognitive impairment and nerve damage as a result of "extreme and prolonged physical abuse".

Forcing them to sleep by day and stay up at night. "These defendants eventually began using chains and padlocks to chain up the victims to their beds", Hestrin said on Thursday. The abuse apparently started when they lived in Fort Worth, Texas, for 17 years, but the torture intensified as they moved to California.

Hestrin said the only activity the kids were permitted to do was writing in journals.

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