PERRIS, CA — New and shocking details have emerged about the California “House of Horrors” where 13 children were found starving and chained.
David, 56, and Louise Turpin, 49, were devout Christians who, according to friends and neighbors, kept their brood of children in total isolation while forcing them to march in circles, recite large chunks of the Bible, and wear identical outfits.
The authorities have so far refrained from using the word “cult,” but some who knew the couple said that they had been aware of disturbing behavior from the family for some time. Mike Clifford, Jr., 30, who lived opposite the family’s previous address in Murrieta, California, told The Sun that he saw the kids marching up and down inside their home “military style” late at night and thought they were part of “some kind of cult.”
Police discovered the Turpin children trapped inside the Perris, California, residence after after one of their kids — a 17-year-girl who appeared much younger due to malnutrition — managed to escape through a window and call police.
According to authorities, Louise and David beat their children, taunted them with food while starving them, and shackled them to their beds for weeks or months on end. Additionally, the kids were only allowed to bathe once or twice a year.
As the investigation continues, sources told Crime Watch Daily that Riverside County Sheriff’s Homicide Detectives are seriously considering sending in cadaver dogs to search for any evidence of remains of any additional children, suspecting that bodies may be found buried on the property. They are also reportedly planning to perform DNA tests to determine if the children are related. The Sheriff’s Department has not confirmed this information.
Some neighbors expressed shock that the children, whose parents claimed to be homeschooling them, could have been confined in such horrifying conditions for so long. Another former neighbor from the family’s previous home in Texas told The Telegraph that the family home was littered with feces and dead animals.
Louise’s brother told The Mirror that his sister had dreams of being a reality-TV star. “She used to say how they would be perfect for TV and would often mention they would be bigger than the reality show ‘Kate Plus 8,’ ” her half-brother Billy Lambert told the newspaper, adding that Louise had mentioned having a 14th child. “She and her husband ‘thought it would make them millions and household names. They didn’t care about the kids – it was all about them.’”
Investigators said Louise seemed confused as to why there was a problem when they arrested her last week. But David and Louise were each charged on Thursday with 12 counts of torture. They also face charges including child abuse and false imprisonment. Shockingly, David was also charged with one count of a lewd act on a child by force.
If convicted, they face up to 94 years to life in prison.
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Main photo: David and Louise Turpin [Riverside County Sheriff’s Department]