Turpins Plead Not Guilty To Torture, Abuse Charges

Mae Love
January 21, 2018

Furthermore, County District Attorney Mike Hestrin says that the children lack basic knowledge about life- one child did not know what a police officer was and another did not know what pills or medication were. "What started out as neglect became severe, pervasive, prolonged child abuse".

David and Louise Turpin pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges that could send them to prison for life.

The police officials said that they learned of the abuse when a 17-year-old girl escaped from the house with a mobile phone that she used to contact the police. The girl and her siblings had plotted the escape for two years, Hestrin said. But the sibling quickly turned back out of fear and re-entered the house.

The aunt of the 13 children held hostage in their parents California home for almost two decades is coming forward with information about David and Louise Turpin.

The parents of the children who were allegedly tortured and found shackled to their beds are said to have hidden their crimes behind the veil of homeschooling.

The eldest, a 29-year-old woman, weighed just over five-and-a-half stone (82lbs). A 12-year-old was the weight of a typical 7-year-old. When police arrived at the victim's family home, they were greeted by extreme filth, a foul stench, and the sight of three children in chains. He never met the family who lived there before him, but he said he found an envelope of photos showing school-age children after an extensive cleanup. He and his wife have both pleaded not guilty and are now being held on bail of $13 million each.

David Turpin's father, James, the children's' grandfather, said from his home in Princeton, West Virginia, that he did not believe the reports about the abuse.

Public records indicate David Turpin is an engineer who worked for Lockheed. Louise Turpin identified herself as a housewife in a 2011 bankruptcy filing. Because the agency does not want the siblings to be taxed for the money they receive, they are setting up a fund for them to go through the Riverside County Regional Medical Center Foundation. He went on to acknowledge that they had been through a "traumatic ordeal" (to say the least!) but were "very friendly and cooperative" with the staff.

He said the alleged punishments would last weeks or months, and intensified over time. They were beaten and choked.

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The tranquil suburban street where the Turpin home sits was clogged with news crews hoping to offer answers, as neighbours grappled with how the apparent imprisonment of siblings - aged two to 29 - could happen amid such normalcy.

That, Perry said, makes the 17-year-old's determination to get away all the more awesome. "That house trashed", Shelli said.

"Allowing them to have access to relatives is also very important", she told Inside Edition.

Officials have not released the name of the teen who escaped and did not respond to questions from NBC News seeking more information about her. In addition to raising them largely in isolation, the parents may have been able to hide the abuse by functioning while other families slept. They were fed so rarely that several children have cognitive impairment and nerve damage.

But neighbors said there were at least some clues that all was not well.

"Whenever we heard this morning on the news, I was 'Man, sounds like those Turpins, '" Ricky said.

The Turpin parents allowed their children to eat only one meal a day but the parents would sometimes buy food, like pumpkin pies, and place it where the children could see it but not eat it. "It breaks our hearts".

Hundreds of journals have been found in the home where the thirteen children were held captive.

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