On Jan. 14, authorities were alerted to a horrifying scene in a Southern California residence after receiving a call from a frightened girl.
The girl had managed to escape from her home with a cell phone and immediately contacted police. She told them that she and her 12 siblings were being held captive inside of their home, and some were bound to their beds with chains and padlocks.
Police arrived to meet with the girl who looked to be about 10 years old. But they quickly learned that the girl was actually 17, and only appeared to be so young because of her emaciated condition.
After interviewing her, police contacted her parents and entered their home. There, they discovered exactly what the young girl had described: several children were chained to beds, looking very dirty in “dark and foul-smelling surroundings.”
But yet another shock came when the police learned that of the 12 siblings they expected to find inside the home, seven of them were actually adults ages 18-29.
When asked why their children were in this horrendous condition, parents David and Louise Turpin did not have an immediate answer.
One neighbor explained that she watched Louise smirk as police questioned her, and that the mother spit on the floor in front of him.
“I had no idea this was going on,” another neighbor said. “I didn’t know there were kids in the house.”
Other neighbors and even family were shocked to learn of this dark secret the family had been keeping.
Among them were David’s parents, who were “surprised and shocked” to hear the news.
They said that they’ve kept up with David and Louise over the phone, but not with their children. The last time the family visited them was about five years ago.
“They were very protective of the kids,” David’s mother said. “This is a highly respectable family.” But clearly, not all was as it seemed.
Since that last visit five years ago, the family had filed for bankruptcy in 2011 and obtained a permit to start a private school from their home in 2014.
Six children were enrolled in the school with David as the principal, but it was unclear if those enrolled were his own kids.
The family’s online presence also tells a much different story. The large family is always pictured looking happy within the last five years, including on Halloween and during trips to Disneyland.
The most recent photos from 2016 picture the family of 15 looking joyful at one of David and Louise’s three wedding vow renewals in Las Vegas.
The Elvis impersonator who renewed the couple’s vows commented that the family seemed normal, aside from the fact that there were “a lot of them.”
Both parents were detained and taken to the police station to continue the investigation. Child Protective Services and Adult Protective Services were also called to assist in the investigation.
David and Louise were later arrested for 10 counts of child endangerment and 9 counts of torture. Their bail was set at $9,000,000 each.
Thankfully, all of their children were immediately given food and water and taken to the hospital to receive proper care. Our thoughts and prayers are with these children and we hope they are able to adjust soon.
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