Parents accused of holding 13 children captive charged with torture, child abuse

Parents accused of holding 13 children captive charged with torture, child abuse

They weren't allowed to bathe. The victims range in age from 2 to 29. A high school captive had gotten away through a window and called for help, uncovering a wrongdoing that has shocked and enamored the country.

David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, denied 75 charges of child abuse, torture and false imprisonment when they appeared at court in Riverside, California this week. Hundreds of their journals have been taken into evidence.

A law enforcement official told NBC News that the 13 siblings were fed just one rationed meal a day. In a press conference with reporters Thursday, District Attorney Mike Hestrin alleged that the last time any of the children had seen a doctor was four years ago and they had never been to a dentist.

The diaries also have sparked the interest of academics who research trauma and language.

At the Turpin's home, a memorial of stuffed toys and balloons placed there by neighbors heartbroken by the nightmare said to have unfolded inside. "In an interesting way, this may have helped them come to terms with the freaky world they lived in".

The emaciated condition of the children is in sharp contrast with how the parents looked in court.

A pair of well-kept dogs were taken from the Perris, California, house where 13 children were found shackled and severely malnourished last week. Billy Baldwin and his mother bought the house a year later, the interior trashed, the bathroom floor rotted through, he said.

California Assemblyman Jose Medina believes that the "torture house" where 16 children were held in captivity, starved, and beaten happened because of poor oversight of private and home schools. But this challenge also would be valuable in the study of communications barriers and the evolution of language.

"She thought the world would be fascinated by their lives", he told "This is the exact opposite".

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The elder Turpins, who live in West Virginia, "want to be very involved in trying to assist in placement", their attorney, Paige Flanigan, said. "I think as the police investigation progresses, there's going to be a lot that we learn about this family and this girl". "We've got the journals to go through, more interviews to do".

James Turpin said that he and his wife, who are both in their 80s, had not been to California in six years, but that the children appeared during that visit to be fine. "And frankly, they may be enough to persuade a defendant that they don't want to go through a long trial here". When children were not shackled, they were often locked in rooms. When washing their hands, if they washed above their wrists, they would be accused of playing in the water and would be chained up, he said.

California criminal charges stemmed from crimes dating to 2010, he said. "What started out as neglect became severe, pervasive, prolonged child abuse".

Prosecutors said the abuse of their children dated back years, to when the couple lived in Texas and appeared to intensify over time.

The situation at the home in Perris, about 130 kilometres southeast of Los Angeles, was discovered when the daughter escaped early Sunday, Fellows said.

"I will tell you as a prosecutor, there are cases that stick with you, they haunt you", Hestrin said.

"We're going to do everything we can to assist them through our victims' services division, and hopefully they'll be cared for throughout this process", he said. "Some deal with human depravity, and that's what we're dealing with here". "That is what we are looking at here", he added.

David and Louise Turpin are expected to make their first court appearance on Thursday. They said they needed to say "goodbye" because they were getting ready to leave town.

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