California Couple Pleads Not Guilty to Charges of Torture, Child Abuse

20 January 2018, 05:14 | Santos Harmon

13 siblings held captive — how did no one else know

13 siblings held captive — how did no one else know

David Turpin, 56, and Louise Turpin, 49, are facing charges of torture, abuse and false imprisonment, BBC reported on Thursday.

"This is depraved conduct", Hestrin said. David Turpin also pleaded not guilty to performing a lewd act on a child under age 14. The American parents are accused of starving, chaining and torturing the kids, aged 2 to 29. The charges involve acts in Riverside County dating to 2010.

He said the alleged punishments would last weeks or months, and intensified over time.

They were allegedly punished when they washed their hands above their wrists, and beaten regularly, according to the prosecutor. A sibling who escaped with her got scared and turned back, Hestrin said.

One of the victims is age 12 and is the weight of a 7-year-old while the 29-year-old was 82 pounds, Hestrin said. They were also forbidden from showering a few times a year.

The abuse began when the family lived in Fort Worth, Texas, Hestrin said.

Prosecutors said the entire family would go to sleep around 4 a.m., sleep through the day and would be up all night. He said that may have contributed to why the abuse went undiscovered for so long.

"When you've been malnourished for so many years, your immune system is much weaker than it should be, and you're more prone to getting infection", Raj said. None had ever been to a dentist.

Hestrin alleged the Turpins themselves were well fed; they would tease the children by setting out pies on a counter and not letting the youngsters have any. They were also not allowed to shower a few times a year, he said.

Malnutrition apparently stunted the Turpin children's growth, Hestrin said. The district attorney characterized the siblings as relieved but would not elaborate.

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Neighbors described the children as being a bit odd, but said they saw no signs of what was allegedly going on inside the house.

When asked about the number of counts and the nature of the charges, David Turpin's public defender David Macher said: "It's going to be a challenge". "But someone who has experienced these things for 20-some years of their life will have a lot of learning to do about what relationships are like, what the world is like, how they're supposed to be treated". "They were "sweetie" this and "sweetie" that to each other".

Louise Turpin looks on during her court arraignment with husband David in Riverside, California on January 18, 2018. Betty Turpin told the Southern California News Group on Wednesday that they were still in shock from learning that her son and his wife were arrested. She told police that her 12 siblings were being held captive inside their house by their own parents. "But it can be done", she said.

"It was something that always nagged at me", she said.

"I thought they were really strict, but I didn't see any abuse", Flores said. They weren't skinny or nothing.

Prosecutors laid out horrifying details of the allegations but didn't offer any theories about the motivation for what they called an escalating climate of brutality that began in Texas and ended in a small, close-knit desert town a couple of hours southeast of Los Angeles.

"They are the sweetest family", said Turpin, 81.

When sheriff's deputies arrived Sunday at the four-bedroom house they were appalled. Investigators removed dozens of boxes, what appeared to be two safes and pieces of a bed frame. The Turpins have lived in two Riverside County communities since moving to California, and police said they were never called to either home, nor were any reports fielded by child protective services.

"It's a very serious case", he said.

"This happens all the time".

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