February 21, 2018

US couple who 'tortured' children pleads not guilty

20 January 2018, 08:19 | Christie Tate

'We tend to look after each other here': Inside the Turpin family's neighbourhood as it reels from discovery of captive

David Louise Turpin_Rio_Vista_TX_Home_1_WFAA-TV

Louise Turpin, 49, said she was hoping for No. 14 in a telephone call with her half-brother Billy Lambert on January 10, just four days before her 17-year-old daughter escaped and called police, who discovered her siblings starved, chained to furniture and living in filth.

"You can't interview a diary, you need to interrogate the children, however they are a still a decent beginning stage", Levenson said.

Sharon Ontiveros, 63, stopped by the house with her 3-year old granddaughter, who left a stuffed animal with dozens of others on the front walkway. Several had cognitive impairment and nerve damage from extreme and prolonged physical abuse, the prosecutor said. David Turpin is a former aerospace engineer, and his wife a homemaker. The couple has since renewed their vows multiple times, including recently by an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas.

They couldn't play with toys that were kept in the storage room, still bundled.

The Turpin children, who range in age from 2 to 29, were reportedly only allowed to eat only one rationed meal a day and shower just twice a year, a law enforcement official told NBC News. Seven of them are adults. The couple's eldest child, who is 29 years old, weighed only 82 pounds.

"I think I was around nine-years-old when a family member that I loved so much and I was supposed to be able to trust molested me".

A 17-year-old girl who looked closer to 10 jumped out a window, called 911, and showed the world the secret horror she and her 12 brothers and sisters had been living through.

What started as neglect escalated into years of horrific torture, authorities said, with the parents allegedly depriving the children of water and feeding them small portions of food on a strict schedule. Inside the house, they found a 22-year-old chained to a bed, he said. - In addition to being tied up, the victims were also frequently beat and even choked, Hestrin said.

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Police said Louise was "perplexed" about why authorities had arrived at their home.

Relatives remained at a loss as to what happened to the family and why the children suffered under the hands of the couple.

"These defendants eventually began using chains and padlocks to chain up the victims to their bed", said Riverside District Attorney Mike Hestrin. "Punishment would last weeks or even months at a time".

The children were accustomed to frequent beatings, including strangulation.

The children were only allowed to bathe once a year, he added. They'll return to court on February 23.

From the outside, the brown-and-beige four-bedroom home in a quiet residential neighbourhood looked fairly orderly.

"I would find it incredibly offensive if someone from the government came to inspect how I educate my children", she said. - The parents would apparently buy food, like apple and pumpkin pies, and leave it on the counter - and not let the starving children have any. She also remembered asking one of the girls her name, and the girl answered they weren't allowed to tell people their names. She is off my family tree, she is dead to me.

The father registered the house, where the family lived since 2014, as the private Sandcastle Day School and listed himself as the principal. In the 2016-17 school year, it had an enrolment of six - all his children. The address of the school is the same as the Turpin's address where the children were found, according to California's state Department of Education's latest information, KTLA reports.

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