The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and Perris Police Department encountered a shocking scene Sunday morning after a 17-year-old girl called 911 upon escaping the home of David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49.
When officers arrived they discovered what was initially believed to be 12 children inside the home. However, upon further investigation authorities discovered that the age range of the victims was much larger, from ages 2 to 29.
Several of the children were found “shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings,” according to police notification service Nixle.
The victims were “very dirty” and “malnourished,” and reportedly told authorities they were starving upon being discovered.
During initial questioning, the parents were reportedly unable to provide authorities with a valid reason for why their children were being held in this manner.
Authorities promptly removed the children from the home, provided them with food and drinks and conducted interviews.
As noted by The Washington Post, the six minors were taken to a medical facility for treatment while the seven adults were taken to a separate medical center to be treated.
David and Louise Turpin were arrested and charged with torture and child endangerment.
Their bail has reportedly been set at $9 million each.
The parent’s of David Turpin told local ABC affiliate KABC that they are “surprised and shocked” at the situation, noting that their son and daughter-in-law had 13 children because “God called on them.”
KABC reported that David and Louise’s children were subjected to “very strict homeschooling,” and rarely saw the light of day.
David Turpin’s parents revealed that they hadn’t seen the family in almost five years, but that they seemed to be a “happy family” the last time they visited.
Neighbors told the local news outlet they were shocked to learn that the home had 13 children inside, noting that they would see them sparingly.
“They were very pale-skinned, almost like they’d never seen the sun,” one neighbor told KABC.
The neighbor added that, “It was mostly girls. Kind of small-framed, kind of tiny. Almost looked a little malnutritioned.”
“I respected their privacy,” she said. “But now it just breaks my heart. It makes me want to cry.”
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