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Posted: January 21, 2018

Dogs found in perfect condition in home where 13 siblings held captive

13 Siblings Held Captive In California "House of Horrors"

By Christabel Duah, Rare.us

PERRIS, Calif. —

A pair of well-kept dogs were taken from the Perris, California, house where 13 children were found shackled and severely malnourished last week.

>> Watch the news report here

David Turpin, 57, and Louise Turpin, 49, are facing a minimum of 94 years for charges including child neglect and torture after police said their children, ranging from ages 2 to 29, were discovered in their home severely malnourished.

>> Neighbors of parents accused of holding 13 kids captive describe family as odd, reclusive

In a statement on Wednesday, city spokesman Joe Vargo said authorities recovered two Maltese terrier dogs in far better condition than the Turpins’ children. The 1-year-old female puppies were reportedly healthy and were taught skills, People reported.

“The animals, one white and one black, appear healthy and friendly and are leash-trained, according to Christina Avila, a senior animal control officer,” a press release from the city of Perris said.

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The dogs — one was named Fluffy — were featured in photos from the city appearing well-groomed and in sweaters. An adoption raffle for the pups is being held through Jan. 26 to find them new homes.

Investigators said the children were only allowed showers a few times per year and were fed only once per day. In a press conference with reporters Thursday, District Attorney Mike Hestrin alleged that the last time any of the children had seen a doctor was four years ago and they had never been to a dentist. Police said the parents allegedly kept themselves well-fed and regularly ate pies in front of their children to taunt them, ABC News reported.

>> Police: 13 siblings held captive in California residence

The 17-year-old who reportedly escaped the home through a bedroom window to alert authorities was initially believed to be just 10 years old due to the severity of her malnourishment, while the oldest victim, a 29-year-old woman, weighed only 82 pounds when the children were found. According to Hestrin, the children “lack a basic knowledge of life,” although they were allegedly homeschooled, KTLA reported.

According to the Daily Mail, the parents face a combined total of 75 charges, and each was being held on $12 million bond.


Related

Photos offer glimpse into former Texas home of parents accused of abusing 13 children

Pool/Getty Images

Photos offer glimpse into former Texas home of parents accused of abusing 13 children

David and Louise Turpin, the California couple who were charged with torture and child abuse after authorities accused them of holding their 13 children captive in dire conditions, previously lived in Texas, several news outlets have reported.

>> Read more trending news

ABC News reported Thursday that it had acquired pictures from inside the family’s former Texas home, near Fort Worth. The pictures were submitted by the home’s current owner, who took the pictures after he bought the foreclosed property about 18 years ago.

The pictures, which can be seen here, show stained carpets and walls. The current owner told ABC it required an “extensive cleanup” and that he and his wife “believed that the previous occupants destroyed the house because it was being foreclosed on.”

The anonymous owner also told ABC that feces were smeared all over the walls of every room at the time that he bought the home.

The Associated Press reported Friday that a prosecutor in the case said the Turpins limited their children to one shower a year and one meal a day. 

DA: Captive siblings limited to one meal a day, one shower a year

The 13 siblings taken from a California home after they were held captive by their parents were allowed to eat only one rationed meal a day and shower once a year, a prosecutor said Thursday.

>> Read more trending news

Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said that David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, were charged with 12 counts of torture, CNN reported. Hestrin said that David Turpin also was charged with a lewd act on a child by force or fear of duress.

The children were allegedly beaten, choked and chained to their beds at their residence in Perris, California, NBC News reported.

“This is severe, emotional and physical abuse. There is no way around that,” Hestrin said. “This is depraved conduct.”

The siblings range in age from 2 to 29. Six are minors, CNN reported.

>> Police: 13 siblings held captive

Hestrin said the Turpins would buy toys but not let the children play with them or even take them out of the packaging. They also would make pumpkin pies and not let the hungry children eat them, the prosecutor said.

“In more than 20 years as a prosecutor in Riverside County, this is one of the most disturbing cases I've seen,” Hestrin said. “We are fully prepared to seek justice in this case and to do so in a way that protects all of these victims from further harm.”

Lawyers for the Turpins entered not guilty pleas to more than three dozen charges that could send the couple to prison for 94 years to life, NBC News reported. Bail was set at $12 million.

The Turpins were arrested Sunday after Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies said they found several children “shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings.”

Hestrin said the abuse “started out as neglect” but became more severe. He added that the charges only covered the eight years the Turpins lived in Riverside County.

Hestrin added that the children were allowed to write in journals and that officials had recovered “hundreds of them,” adding they "are going to be strong evidence of what occurred in that home."

Authorities were alerted Sunday when the Turpins' 17-year-old daughter and her younger sister escaped through a window, NBC News reported.

"There was two of them that left the house," Hestrin said. "One of them turned back because she was afraid."

The older teen called 911 for help with a cellphone she had found inside the house, Hestrin said.

 

Neighbors of parents accused of holding 13 kids captive describe family as odd, reclusive

Neighbors described the reportedly nightmarish situation at the Turpin home, where parents David and Louise allegedly kept their 13 children shackled to their beds and malnourished, as seeming like a “cult.”

Former neighbors said the children were made to march around for hours in the middle of the night, they told the New York Post.

A man named Mike, who did not want to give his full name and was a neighbor of the Turpins when they lived in Murrieta, California, told the Post, “I thought they were like a cult. They would march back and forth on the second story at night. The light would be on the whole time, and they would be marching the kids back and forth.”

>> Police: 13 siblings held captive in California residence

Mike said he would arrive home late from his job at a hospital and see the children marching through the upstairs rooms of the Turpin home between midnight and 3 a.m.

David and Louis Turpin were arrested Sunday in their Perris, California, home after one of their daughters called police for help, saying she had managed to escape the house with a cellphone. When police arrived, they reportedly found the siblings, ages 2 to 29, living in squalor and looking very thin, with several of the kids shackled to furniture.

Mike said his wife, Myrna, called the family “clones,” saying the Turpins all spoke “robotically, in a monotone and at the same” time during the few occasions on which Myrna interacted with them at a local grocer.

However, Mike told the Post that he and Myrna never called the police because they didn’t see anything that suggested they needed to. They just thought the parents were a bit odd.

Mike, as well former neighbors from when the Turpins owned a farm in Rio Vista, Texas — which the family left due to foreclosure — remarked on the amount of trash that the family accumulated.

“I ended up calling the police because of the trash and everything that was left there,” said former Texas neighbor Randy McClain. “There was a brand new pickup truck covered in [trash] — a whole truck bed full and overflowing to the ground with trash: diapers, Spam cans, potted meat cans, just overflowing.”

The Daily Mail got access to the Turpin’s Perris backyard and found a Disney-themed fountain situated in a messy yard in which “piles of metal pipes could be seen strewn around, along with a rusty set of metal garden furniture and some diaper boxes.”

>> Read more trending news 

Through the screen door, the Daily Mail spied piles of clutter, including what appear to be stacked books, within the house.

Neighbor Leticia Gomez, 45, who lives directly behind the Turpin home, told the Daily Mail that she wasn’t aware there were any kids in the house. She described the Turpins’ garden as unkempt and “scruffy.”

Another neighbor, Andria Valdez, said she did know there were children living in the home and that she had seen them before. She joked that the Turpins reminded her of the vampire family in the “Twilight” books and movies, because they were “really, really pale” and “only came out at night.”

Police: 13 siblings held captive in California residence

Update 1:20 p.m. Jan. 16: Officials said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon that the 13 siblings taken from a California home after they were held captive by their parents for an undisclosed period of time are recovering.

The siblings, who range in age from 2 to 29, were in stable condition Tuesday.

“They’re very friendly, they’re very cooperative and I believe that they’re hopeful that life will get better for them after this event,” said Mark Uffer, CEO of the Corona Regional Medical Center.

Riverside County Sheriff's Department Capt. Greg Fellows said Louise Anna Turpin, the mother of the children, was “perplexed” when police arrived at the family’s home Sunday. Authorities said they had received no prior calls to the house and said there were no early indications that either Linda Anna Turpin or her husband, 57-year-old David Allen Turpin, had any history of mental illness.

Original report: A California couple was arrested Sunday after 13 siblings, ranging in age from 2 to 29, were allegedly held captive in a home, with several children “shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings,” the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said Monday.

>> Read more trending news

In a news release, the Sheriff’s Department said David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, were arrested and charged with torture and child endangerment. Bail was set at $9 million apiece, according to the news release.

Early Sunday, a 17-year-old called 911 and said she had escaped from her residence in Perris, according to the Sheriff’s Department. The teenager claimed that her 12 brothers and sisters were “being held captive” in the residence by her parents. 

When deputies met with the teen, she “appeared to be only 10 years old and slightly emaciated.” Deputies went to the residence and said they were “shocked” to find the teen’s 12 siblings, seven of whom were adults ranging in age from 18 to 29. All of them appeared to be “malnourished and very dirty,” according to the release.

The parents were subsequently arrested, deputies said.

The six children, including the teen who escaped, were taken to a hospital in Moreno Valley for treatment, deputies said. The adults were being treated at a hospital in Corona.

David Turpin’s parents, James and Betty Turpin of West Virginia, told ABC News they were surprised and shocked at the allegations, KABC reported.

According to the California Department of Education website, David Turpin is listed as principal of the Sandcastle Day School, which was operated out of his home. The address listed for the school is the same residence where the 13 victims were discovered, CNN reported.

The school opened March 21, 2011, according to the website, and was categorized as a private school for students in grades one through 12.

 

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