Posted: January 24, 2018
By Jeffrey Caplan, Rare.us
PERRIS, Calif. —
Following their parents’ arrest, the Turpin siblings finally tasted freedom.
A surveillance video shows the siblings exiting the house where they were allegedly held captive. One grown sibling is shown carrying one of the younger children while another sibling is seen running to the silver van in the driveway that would take them from the house which reports have described as a nightmare.
David and Louise Turpin were arrested after one of their daughters reportedly escaped from the home and called police. The children were found Jan. 14 at their home in Perris, California. The Turpin parents are accused of abusing their children for years.
The parents allegedly forced the children to shower only once a year, shackled them to furniture and beat them routinely, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said at a press conference. The Turpins also are accused of taunting their children with food. Hestrin said the children had not been to a doctor in four years and had never visited a dentist.
The 13 siblings, ages 2 to 29, have all been hospitalized. Hestrin said the oldest sibling, a 29-year-old woman, weighed only 82 pounds. He said a 12-year-old sibling was the weight of an average 7-year-old.
All of the siblings are being treated for malnutrition and undergoing other diagnostic tests.
“Circumstantial evidence in the house suggests that the victims were often not released from their chains to go to the bathroom,” Hestrin said at the press conference. “If the children were found to wash their hands above the wrist area, they were accused of playing in the water, and they would be chained up.”
The parents have each been charged with 12 counts of torture, 12 counts of false imprisonment, seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult and six counts of child abuse. In addition, David Turpin has been charged with one count of a lewd act on a child under the age of 14 by force, fear or duress. They have each pleaded not guilty to all charges.
David Macher, a lawyer representing David Turpin, told ABC News: “What we would like the public to know is that our clients are presumed to be innocent, and that’s a very important presumption,” adding, “We’re going to provide a vigorous defense.”
Meanwhile, Hestrin said that when the siblings were not chained up, they were locked in different rooms and were not allowed to have toys. Investigators said they found many toys in the house; however, they were reportedly in their original packaging and had never been opened.
The Turpins are accused of starting the torture of their children when they lived in a rural area of North Texas near Fort Worth. Hestrin said the torture “intensified over time and worsened” when they moved to California in 2014.
“They were fed very little, on a schedule," Hestrin added.
The moved to a middle-class neighborhood in Perris, about 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles, where they home-schooled their children and allegedly kept them trapped inside the home.
A sister of Louise Turpin, Elizabeth Flores, told ABC the couple kept to themselves.
“This has been going on before they even had children. … They were real private, and they didn’t come around much,” Flores said.
“We begged to Skype (with) them,” Flores said. “We begged to see them.”
Terry Pierson/The Press-Enterprise, Pool via AP
Terry Pierson/The Press-Enterprise, Pool via AP
Although the children in the home, ages 2 to 29, were only allowed to bathe twice a year and eat once a day, they were allowed to write in journals, authorities said. District Attorney Mike Hestrin said in a press conference that the children kept hundreds of journals, and he believes they will be “very significant” in the upcoming court case, the Desert Sun reports. Hestrin added that he thinks the journals will provide “strong evidence of what occurred in that home.”
Researchers are also interested in the journals as they detail the firsthand accounts of the alleged abuse. One academic told the Desert Sun: “There is a good chance that being able to write may have kept them sane. In an interesting way, this may have helped them come to terms with the bizarre world they lived in.” He even compared them to the journals kept by Anne Frank.
The journals could prove valuable for prosecutors as they might provide evidence that could be used to cross-examine the parents, David and Louise Turpin. The Turpins are facing life in prison for a series of charges, including torture.
The journals have not been made public, and law enforcement officials are currently in the process of reviewing them.
The conditions in the home were unimaginable, authorities said. The children reportedly were beaten and chained to furniture. Neighbors recalled seeing them marching during the night. They were discovered when one girl escaped and managed to find a police officer, authorities said.
ABC News reported that the parents were moving from California to Oklahoma days before they were arrested and charged with torture and child endangerment, citing multiple unnamed sources.
David Turpin was getting a job transfer with a defense contractor he was working with, according to ABC News. Moving boxes were reportedly found at the residence. The report says the family has moved to multiple places over the years, including a home in Texas.
The couple’s 17-year-old daughter escaped the home early Jan. 14 and called 911, saying her 12 siblings were “being held captive” at a Perris, California, residence by her parents.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said in a Jan. 15 news release that the siblings, ranging in ages from 2 to 29, “appeared to be malnourished and very dirty.” Six of the siblings are minors.
Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, were charged with 12 counts of torture and a lewd act on a child by force or fear of duress. The siblings could only have one meal a day and take one shower a year. Hestrin said at a news conference that the siblings were able to write in journals all the time, which will provide “strong evidence of what occurred in that home.”
Two dogs were found by authorities in the home, according to city spokesman Joe Vargo. Vadrgo said in a statement that the two Maltese terrier dogs were in much better condition than the siblings.
“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 news release from the City of Perris said.
The parents made their first court appearance Thursday and entered not guilty pleas to all charges. Their bail is set at $13 million. They are scheduled to appear in court again Feb. 23.
A pair of well-kept dogs were taken from the Perris, California, house where 13 children were found shackled and severely malnourished last week.
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.
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.
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.
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.
David and Louise Turpin are facing a string of charges, including torture, after police say the couple kept their 13 children locked away in subhuman conditions in their Perris, California, home. On Thursday, the Turpins made their first court appearance.
David Turpin appeared in chains, wearing a lavender shirt and black jacket while his wife sat nearby, also in chains and a black jacket. The Turpins entered not guilty pleas to all of the charges, some of which date back to 2010. The district attorney says the couple is facing 94 years to life in prison if convicted on all counts.
During the arraignment, the Turpins were quiet and spoke only to say they acknowledged their right to a speedy preliminary hearing, CBS reports. They will appear in court again on Feb. 23, and their bail was set at $13 million.
District Attorney Mike Hestrin said in a press conference, “As a prosecutor, there are cases that stick with you, that will haunt you. Sometimes, in this business, we’re faced with looking at human depravity, and that’s what we’re looking at here.”
Authorities said the parents were able to keep their children hidden away by listing their home as a private school. Some of the kids, who ranged in ages from 2 to 29, reportedly didn’t know what a police officer was.
The children were only allowed to eat once a day and shower twice a year, authorities said. However, the parents reportedly did allow them to keep journals, and authorities said the kids filled hundreds of notebooks. Those have not been released and are still being reviewed by law enforcement.
The children are currently being cared for in the hospital, authorities said. The Riverside University Health System has set up a fund for the children that will go to their long-term needs, according to a press release. The hospital said the children have already seen a tremendous outpouring of support.
Brian Rokos of the Press-Enterprise was present at the hearing and reported that David Turpin is being represented by a public defender, while Louise Turpin has outside counsel. During Thursday’s arraignment, the public defender requested that media be banned from the trial, but the judge shot that down. Rokos said reporters from around the world were in the courtroom. The Turpins' lawyers have not announced whether they will try to have the case moved out of Riverside County.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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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