Nobody knew the chilling secret parents David and Louise Turpin hid inside their California home.
As previously reported by Dearly, their 17-year-old daughter made a daring escape to alert police that her parents were holding her and her 12 siblings, aged 2 to 29 years old, captive in the home.
Authorities revealed Monday the Turpins used chains and padlocks to keep the children in their beds and inside the filthy home. The parents were also starving them to death, the New York Post reports.
As Dearly previously reported, the sheriff’s department said in a statement:
The parents were unable to immediately provide a logical reason why their children were restrained in that manner.
Sheriff’s Capt. Greg Fellows said the mother seemed confused about why the police showed up at their house to arrest them, according to KTLA:
“It seemed that the mother was perplexed as to why we were at that residence.”
Fellows said the home as “horrific,” as he described what the children were suffering through:
“If you can imagine being 17 years old and appearing to be a 10-year-old, being chained to a bed, being malnourished … I would call that torture.”
Two of Louise’s sisters were shocked to learn about their sister’s alleged, cruel treatment of her children; the family members had been shut out of their lives years ago.
The Daily Mail reports that no one realized how their nieces and nephews were living. Louise’s sister, Elizabeth Jane Flores, told the publication:
“Something didn’t seem right about her parenting but never would I have expected it to be like this.”
The Tennessee woman had seen warning signs from her sister, whom she has not seen in 19 years. Louise refused to let her see or speak the children, and kept their address a secret from the family:
“We have been so worried about them because it’s been so strange but there was nothing we could do. We would talk on the phone from time to time, but every time I would ask to talk to her kids, she wouldn’t let me.”
Louise also kept her own parents out of her family’s life, refusing to let them visit as well, according to Flores, a Christian motivational speaker and a mother of seven:
“My parents booked several flights to go see them but when they got there they wouldn’t tell them where to go and my parents left crying every time. They died before they got to see them again. It’s just heartbreaking and I’m so embarrassed about all of this.”
Louise Turpin’s sister, Teresa Robinette, also from Tennessee, said her sister cut off contact with them when she left home at age 16 to get married, according to WBIR. She said even her parents’ deaths didn’t convince her sister to show her face:
“My parents before they died in 2016 begged to see her. Even on their on their deathbed they asked to see her. She didn’t even show up to either of their funerals. So we have really no connection with Louise in a long, long time since we were young.”
“We always thought she was living the perfect life. She would tell us they went to Disneyland all the time. They would go to Vegas.”
After their rescue, the Turpin’s 13 children were taken for treatment at several Los Angeles-area hospitals. WBIR reports Corona Regional Medical Center CEO Mark Uffer described the children as:
“…very friendly, very cooperative, and i believe they’re hopeful life will get better for them from this event.”
Bond was set at $9 million each for David and Louise, who face charges of torture and child endangerment, the NY Post reports.
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