A California couple accused of torturing their children by shackling them to beds, putting them in cages and starving them pleaded guilty Friday.
David, 57, and Louise Turpin, 50, were arrested in January 2018 after one of their 13 kids escaped and called the police, The Associated Press reported Friday.
“They will wake up at night and they will start crying and they wanted me to call somebody,” the daughter, then 17, said of her siblings in a 911 call, according to the AP. “I wanted to call y’all so y’all can help my sisters.”
Investigators, however, thought the girl looked like she was 10 years old because she was “emaciated,” NBC News reported.
Officials found other children in “dark and foul-smelling surroundings” in the Turpins’ home after the 911 call, according to NBC.
The children were allegedly allowed to shower only once a year.
All of the children except a toddler were abused. They were between 2 and 29 years old at the time and were extremely malnourished.
They said they were beaten and placed in cages, the AP reported.
The children reportedly saw very little daylight, except when the family went on trips to Las Vegas or Disneyland.
The Turpins said they home-schooled their children, but the oldest child finished just the third grade while a 12-year-old did not know all the alphabet, according to the AP.
The Turpins could spend at least 25 years in prison for child cruelty among 13 other charges, the AP reported.
“The defendants ruined lives so I think it’s just and fair that the sentence be equivalent to first-degree murder,” Riverside District Attorney Mike Hestrin said, according to the AP.
David Turpin was an engineer and Louise Turpin was a housewife.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 19, the AP reported.
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