Parents accused of holding their 13 children captive to appear in court
ABC News(PERRIS, Calif.) — The California parents accused of starving and shackling their 13 children to beds with chains and padlocks are set to be arraigned Thursday.
David Turpin, 57, and Louise Turpin, 49, were arrested on charges of torture and child endangerment after their children were found Sunday at their home. The Riverside County Sheriff’s Office described the residence as “dark and foul-smelling.”
“The victims appeared to be malnourished and very dirty,” the sheriff’s department added.
They were rescued after one of the children — a 17-year-old girl — allegedly escaped through a window Sunday morning and called 911. Responding officers said the teen was slightly emaciated and “appeared to be only 10 years old.”
The victims have since been hospitalized for treatment.
Louise Turpin’s sister, Elizabeth Flores, told ABC News she hasn’t seen her sister in 20 years. She recalled how the children’s lives were extremely regimented when she lived with them two decades earlier. Flores said the children had to ask permission to speak and they would look to their mother for cues about whether they could answer her when Flores tried to talk to them.
Flores, who was in her late teens at the time, said her sister wouldn’t allow her to invite friends over or allow her to call friends.
Flores emphasized that she never witnessed any abuse of the children while she lived in the home. She added that she cares about her nieces and nephews greatly and hopes to see them overcome what they endured, saying that she wants them to know that she loves them and that family members tried to visit them over the years.
Child Protective Services said it is receiving calls from around the world from people who want to help the siblings financially. Because the agency does not want the siblings to be taxed for the money they receive, they are setting up a fund for them to go through the Riverside County Regional Medical Center Foundation.
All GoFundMe campaigns that claim they benefit the siblings are fake, CPS said.
The agency also listed the clothes that are needed for the adult patients, which are almost all in children’s sizes, a graphic released by Corona Chamber of Commerce showed.
The Riverside County District Attorney’s office is expected to hold a press conference on the case later today.
At their arraignment, the Turpins will be represented by attorneys with the Riverside County Public Defender’s Office.
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