On Thursday, David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin were charged with multiple felony counts of torture, child abuse, abuse of dependent adults and false imprisonment. David Turpin is additionally charged with committing a lewd act on one of the female children by force.
The 56-year-old father and 49-year-old mother could face up to 94 years to life in prison if convicted of the charges. Their children, ranging in age from 2 to 29, were malnourished and appeared to have undergone years of abuse and starvation, authorities said.
When sheriff’s deputies arrived at the home in the city of Perris about 70 miles east of Los Angeles – after being alerted by the Turpin’s 17-year-old daughter, who escaped – they said they found the other 12 children, including three who were in chains, in dark, dirty and foul-smelling surroundings.
As punishment, the victims were allegedly tied up with ropes for weeks or even months at a time. One victim reported being hogtied in one instance. When that victim was able to escape the ropes, the parents reportedly began using chains and padlocks to restrain the victims to their beds.
– In addition to being tied up, the victims were also frequently beat and even choked, Hestrin said.
– The victims were allowed to shower only once a year, Hestrin said. One of the reasons for being punished was if the siblings were found to have washed their hands above their wrists. The parents would then accuse the siblings of “playing in the water” and then punish them.
Many of the siblings have cognitive impairment and nerve damage as a result of the abuse, he said. The siblings had not seen a doctor in more than four years and had never seen a dentist. Medical experts said they expect that the siblings will require long-term psychological support in their recovery.
When the victims were found, they were severely malnourished. Hestrin said they suffer from severe caloric malnutrition associated with muscle wasting. The victims were fed very little on a schedule. A 12-year-old victim was the weight of a typical 7-year-old, Hestrin said. A 29-year-old female victim weighed 82 pounds.
– Several of the victims were found to have cognitive impairment and neuropathy, which is nerve damage, as a result of this extreme and prolonged physical abuse.
– The victims lacked basic life knowledge. Many didn’t know what a police officer was, and also did not know what pills and medicines were.