On Sunday, January 15th, a 17-year-old girl called the police department with horrifying news and a request for help. She claimed that she and her 12 siblings were being held captive by their parents. They were locked inside the house and some were chained to their beds.
Quick to dispatch, officers from the Riverside County were sent out in order to search the for the girl who had made the call. Upon arrival, they noted that malnourishment had caused her to look more like an adolescent than a nearly full grown woman. In order to convince the police department of her claims, she showed them pictures of her situation. When the officers entered the family’s house in Perris, California, they found 12 others in a similar state. Upon first look, they all appeared to be children, but officials were shocked to find that 7 were, in fact, adults who were over 18. Their ages ranged from 2 to 29.
The children’s father, David Turpin aged 57, had state approval to run a private school from home. It was in this home that both he and his wife, 49-year-old Louise Turpin, kept their 13 children captive. When the grandparents were asked about the horrific situation, they claimed to be “surprised and shocked” that this had happened. They admitted knowledge that their grandchildren were homeschooled but had not known anything else about the situation. The couple’s bankruptcy attorney added that they have “always thought of them as very nice people who spoke highly of their children”.
When arrested, the abusers showed little to no remorse. A neighbour pointed out that the “police officer kept talking and she (Louise) kept just, like, smirking and, like, kinda, like, she spit twice down at the floor.” As of now, they have been charged with 9 felony counts of torture and a further 10 counts of child endangerment. Both child protective services and adult protective services are interviewing the victims in the hopes of finding them somewhere safe to go. They have all been admitted to the hospital.