Thirteen children were held in a house of horrors by abusive parents under cruel conditions for years. Somehow, no one ever reported the family, but one of the kids was finally able to escape and called the police.
Police in Perris, California have revealed the horrible torture inflicted by David and Louise Turpin on their 13 children. The children were chained to furniture, in a shared bedroom soaked with their own urine and feces. They were fed only one rationed meal per day, and only allowed two showers per year.
The children, who range in age from 2 to 29, were rescued Sunday after their brave 17-year-old sister climbed through a window of the house to call 911. Their parents David and Louise Turpin were arrested inside the home once police arrived.
On Thursday, David and Louise were charged with 12 counts of torture, and David was also charged with a lewd act on a child by force or fear of duress. The Riverside County District Attorney described their crimes as “severe emotional emotional, physical abuse” and “depraved.” The Turpins each pleaded not guilty on all counts, and if convicted, face life in prison.
A judge set bail at $12 million for each defendant, with their next court date on February 23.
When the children were found by police, they were all literally lying in feces, and the adult children were “so small” that authorities said they still look like young kids. Several of the Turpin children have developed cognitive impairments due to the abuse, and almost all of them suffer from severe malnutrition. The children remain in the hospital, and authorities fear they could go into shock at any time.
Police also say it is difficult to record credible statements from them because their mental states are so fragile.
The big question with this story is — how could this have happened? Why did no one ever call Child Protection Services?
Well, the kids were “homeschooled,” and are described as having a mental capacity much younger than their actual age.
What about extended family? So far, relatives have all pleaded ignorance in interviews. In fact, Louise’s aunt, Brenda Taylor, told CNN: “With the pictures they put on Facebook, you thought they were one big happy family.”
Other family members now realize there were signs all along. One of Louise’s sisters revealed that, when she was younger, Uncle David Turpin would watch her shower.
If I was to get in the shower, he would come in while I was in there and watch me – it was like a joke. He never touched me or anything. I was young, I was scared. I was in Texas where I knew nobody. I was treated like one of the kids, I had rules.
There were other clues, too — including signs of torture at the family’s previous residence in Texas. The new owners of those properties have come forward to share disturbing photographs of scratch marks, stained carpets, and closets that had been converted into cages. Clear signs of abuse left behind at the David and Louise’s former homes in Fort Worth and Rio Vista.
What do you think of this terrible story? How could this have been prevented? Let us know in the comments.
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