PERRIS, CA — Police have arrested a California couple after they found their 13 children chained to beds and malnourished in their residence, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department announced on Monday.
A 17-year-old girl managed to escape the home in Perris on Sunday. She called 911 from a cellphone she found in the home, police said. When officers located her, the teen told them that her brothers and sisters were being held captive by her parents. The officers were shocked to learn she was 17 years old, reporting that she looked like she was about 10 years old.
Police entered the home and discovered “children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings.” In a news release, the sheriff’s department stated that “The parents were unable to immediately provide a logical reason why their children were restrained in that manner.”
Six of the couple’s kids are minors, while the other seven are over 18, according to authorities. Deputies reported that they were so malnourished, even the Turpin children who are legal adults, as old as 29 years old, resembled young children.
David Turpin, 57, and Louise Turpin, 49, were arrested at the scene and each charged with nine counts of torture and 10 counts of child endangerment. Each is being held on $9 million bail.The six children and seven adult victims have been taken to the police station and given food and water. They were later taken to the hospital for treatment.
KTLA reported that, according to California records, a David Turpin is listed as the principal of Sandcastle Day School in Perris.
The couple filed for bankruptcy in 2011. Friends and neighbors reacted with shock to the arrests and said that the Turpins seemed like a normal, if larger than average, family. Although neighbor Andria Valdez did say the family reminded her of the family from the Twilight books and movies. “They only came out at night,” she said. “They were really, really pale.”
A Facebook post from “David-Louise Turpin” in 2016 shows the couple renewing their vows with their children and an Elvis impersonator.
The investigation continues. Anyone with information on the case is requested to contact Master Investigator Tom Salisbury at the Perris station at (951) 210-1000 or PerrisStation@RiversideSheriff.org.
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Main photo: The Turpin family (image has been blurred due to the fact that some of the children are minors) [KTLA (screenshot)]