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'This Is Depraved Conduct'. *Editor's note: This report includes disturbing descriptions of child abuse.

Posted by on Jan. 18, 2018 at 7:23 PM
  • 6 Replies

'This Is Depraved Conduct': Couple Charged With Torture After Kids Found Shackled

Louise and David Turpin have each been charged with torture and other crimes after their children were discovered emaciated and shackled to furniture.

Riverside County Sheriff's Department via AP

Editor's note: This report includes disturbing descriptions of child abuse.

Updated at 5: 30 p.m. ET

Just days after Louise and David Turpin's 13 children were discovered deeply malnourished and — in some cases — shackled to furniture in their home, the Southern California couple has been charged with torture, child abuse and false imprisonment. The two parents face the possibility of life in prison.

"As a prosecutor, there are cases that stick with you, that will haunt you," Riverside County District Attorney Michael Hestrin said at a news conference Thursday. "Sometimes in this business, we're faced with looking at human depravity — and that's what we're looking at here."

"Circumstantial evidence in the house suggests that the victims were often not released from their chains to go to the bathroom," Hestrin added.

Police did not discover the house in Perris, Calif., until Sunday, when the 17-year-old daughter enacted a plan she and her siblings had been working on for more than two years. Hestrin said that the daughter, together with another sibling, escaped through a window — and that though the other sibling soon grew frightened and turned back, the 17-year-old forged ahead and contacted local police.

What they found appalled them.

"To give you an example," Hestrin said Thursday, "one of the children at age 12 is the weight of an average 7-year-old. The 29-year-old female victim weighs 82 pounds. Several of the victims have cognitive impairment and neuropathy — which is nerve damage — as a result of this extreme and prolonged physical abuse."

And though the parents had reportedly registered their home as a private school with the state's Department of Education, the children "lack a basic knowledge of life," Hestrin said. "Many of the children didn't know what a police officer was. The 17-year-old, when asked whether there was medication or pills in the home, didn't know what medication or pills were."

Not long after police visited the home Sunday, the children were taken to medical centers for treatment and the parents were taken into custody.

Among the charges the parents face: 12 counts each of torture, 12 counts each of false imprisonment, seven counts each of abuse of a dependent adult, and six counts each of child abuse or neglect. David Turpin also has been charged with committing a lewd act against a child using force, fear or duress.

As to why the parents face 12 counts and not 13, Hestrin responded: "I don't know why, but apparently the 2-year-old was getting enough to eat."

He noted that officials reserve the right to file more charges as the investigation proceeds.

The parents pleaded not guilty Thursday. Their bail is set at $12 million each.

Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said Thursday that for at least eight years and in three homes, the children were forced to eat rarely, shower no more than once a year and, when punished, were often beaten, strangled or tied up "for weeks or even months at a time."
David McNew/Getty Images

Prosecutors hope to learn more about the lives of these children from one of the few privileges Hestrin said they were allowed: their journals. Hestrin said they lived in Fort Worth, Texas, until 2010 when they moved to Murrieta, Calif., and finally settled in Perris in 2014. And during this time, despite being kept in separate rooms or chained to furniture, the children were allowed to keep journals of their own.

"We now have recovered those journals — hundreds of them — and we are combing through them for evidence."

For the time being, authorities' knowledge of the situation derives mostly from the children's accounts: Stories of the parents eating well and leaving food in front of their children, who were forbidden to touch it. Stories of toys scattered about the house but never removed from their original packaging. Stories of a ban on washing above the wrist while washing their hands, which if violated, would elicit accusations that they "were playing in the water."

"This is severe emotional and physical abuse," Hestrin said Thursday. "There's no way around that. This is depraved conduct."

Hestrin said the family would wake around nightfall and head to bed in the early morning, around 4 or 5 a.m. It was shortly after this morning curfew, around 6 a.m., that the 17-year-old daughter placed the 911 call that brought police to her family's home.

For now, and likely for some time to come, she and her siblings are receiving medical and psychological treatment.

"They've gone through a very traumatic ordeal. I can tell you that they're very friendly. They're very cooperative," Mark Uffer, CEO of the Corona Regional Medical Center, where the adults have been hospitalized, said at a news conference Tuesday.

"And I believe they're hopeful that life will get better for them after this event."

by on Jan. 18, 2018 at 7:23 PM
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Replies (1-6):
msb64
by Platinum Member on Jan. 18, 2018 at 9:15 PM
3 moms liked this

I made a post about this when the children were first discovered.  Reading the updates today and what these kids were put through was just heartbreaking and horrific.  I understand that the human spirit is resiliant and these kids and adults have the chance to recover from this abuse.  But damn, I just can't imagine how one truely recovers from this kind of torture and abuse over the course of years.  My hope is that this sibling group can somehow be kept together and heal together.

GrayDuck41
by Linda on Jan. 18, 2018 at 9:26 PM
It’s unreal. They’re two people who need to be kept away from everyone, in solitary, life in prison.
Thinking about what those poor children went through makes me cry.
nb34
by Platinum Member on Jan. 18, 2018 at 9:44 PM
1 mom liked this

I just don't understand this.

billsfan1104
by Emerald Member on Jan. 18, 2018 at 9:44 PM
I agree with you on this. I don’t know how they will recover, but I am hoping with all the help they are going to receive that they can.

Quoting msb64:

I made a post about this when the children were first discovered.  Reading the updates today and what these kids were put through was just heartbreaking and horrific.  I understand that the human spirit is resiliant and these kids and adults have the chance to recover from this abuse.  But damn, I just can't imagine how one truely recovers from this kind of torture and abuse over the course of years.  My hope is that this sibling group can somehow be kept together and heal together.

msb64
by Platinum Member on Jan. 18, 2018 at 10:37 PM
1 mom liked this

Money seems to be there for assistance for this group of siblings and gosh knows they are going to need a ton of help.  It struck me that some of the adult siblings didn't know terms like police and were punished for washing above their wrists.  These adults may not be cognitively impaired but still require tons of support with their integration.  It kind of reminded me of the movie "Nell" times 13.  I just feel for all these victims and hope that the 29 year old is treated with the same care and understanding that the 2 year old will be given.  I also hope, again, that they are able somehow to stay together or in some way connected.

Quoting billsfan1104: I agree with you on this. I don’t know how they will recover, but I am hoping with all the help they are going to receive that they can.
Quoting msb64:

I made a post about this when the children were first discovered.  Reading the updates today and what these kids were put through was just heartbreaking and horrific.  I understand that the human spirit is resiliant and these kids and adults have the chance to recover from this abuse.  But damn, I just can't imagine how one truely recovers from this kind of torture and abuse over the course of years.  My hope is that this sibling group can somehow be kept together and heal together.


billsfan1104
by Emerald Member on Jan. 18, 2018 at 10:49 PM
This story just makes me ill. I don’t understand what makes people do this. I look at their FB and it creeped me out.
The comments and likes and loves on their pictures, the fact that his brother is now saying “I don’t believe this, until I talk to the kids”.
The police are saying that the conditions were the worst they ever seen.


Quoting msb64:

Money seems to be there for assistance for this group of siblings and gosh knows they are going to need a ton of help.  It struck me that some of the adult siblings didn't know terms like police and were punished for washing above their wrists.  These adults may not be cognitively impaired but still require tons of support with their integration.  It kind of reminded me of the movie "Nell" times 13.  I just feel for all these victims and hope that the 29 year old is treated with the same care and understanding that the 2 year old will be given.  I also hope, again, that they are able somehow to stay together or in some way connected.

Quoting billsfan1104: I agree with you on this. I don’t know how they will recover, but I am hoping with all the help they are going to receive that they can.

Quoting msb64:

I made a post about this when the children were first discovered.  Reading the updates today and what these kids were put through was just heartbreaking and horrific.  I understand that the human spirit is resiliant and these kids and adults have the chance to recover from this abuse.  But damn, I just can't imagine how one truely recovers from this kind of torture and abuse over the course of years.  My hope is that this sibling group can somehow be kept together and heal together.

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