It’s been alleged that David and Louise Turpin held their 13 children captive in cruel, squalid conditions. Now charges have been laid and more grim details of this story are emerging.
A Legal Update
On January 18, 2018, it was announced that David Turpin and Louise Turpin have now been charged with multiple felony counts of torture, child abuse, abuse of dependent adults, and false imprisonment. David has also been charged with one count of a lewd act on a child by force.
If convicted, the pair is looking at 94 years to life in prison.
A House of Horrors
The details of what allegedly went on in the Turpins’ Perris, California house have continued to emerge. According to investigators, the Turpin children, ranging in age from two to 29, were abused for years.
Police said the children were beaten, tied up with ropes, chains, and shackles, starved, and rarely allowed to bathe.
All of the children were home-schooled, with the exception of one of the older sons who was allowed to attend some college classes. He was driven to school by his mother, who would stay out in the hall until classes were done and then drive him straight back home, police said.
Due to malnourishment, many of the children, including the adults, experienced stunted growth and appear younger than they are. Some of the children also appear to have cognitive issues stemming from long-term physical abuse.
How Did this Go Unnoticed?
One reason that the abuse went seemingly unnoticed in the community is that David Turpin turned his home into a school where his kids were registered. California does not license or regulate private schools. Local fire marshals can do annual inspections of these facilities, but there is no record of any inspections taking place at the Turpins’ home school.
The Turpins also moved a lot and seemed to be disconnected from other family members.
The children were allegedly forced to sleep during the day and wake at night. They had limited access to and knowledge of the outside world. Many of the children did not know what a police officer or medication was. On the very few times that relatives saw the children, it wasn’t in the home and the children were cleaned up for those visits.
Because of the family’s reclusive habits and because the children were so well hidden by the parents, the neighbors, family, and officials didn’t know that the children were being abused. In many cases, many didn’t even know that the children existed.