The current owners of the two Texas homes where a California couple charged with torturing their 13 children once lived claim to have found scratch marks on doors, as well as closets that may have been used to keep the siblings.
David and Louise Turpin had lived in a home in Fort Worth, Texas from around 1992 to 1999 before they lost it in a foreclosure.
The owners who moved in after them claim the home was left in complete squalor.
They say they found scratch marks on the back of doors and that the carpet was covered in disgusting dirt stains and filth.
The people who bought the home initially thought the scratch marks were caused by animals, but now believe it could be something more sinister following the arrest of the parents, according to CBS.
They took photos of the dirt covered floor, walls and doors.
The Turpin family then moved to Rio Vista, south of Fort Worth, where they lived for the next decade.
The current owner of the Rio Vista home, who didn’t want to be identified, told WFAA that she found unusual vents in the master bedroom closet when she moved in after the Turpins left in 2010.
‘There are two vents in the closet and they are covered up now,’ she said.
She believes the couple’s children may have been locked in there.
The Turpins lived in Rio Vista from around 1999 to 2010 when they relocated to California. Louise gave birth to at least one child, who is now aged two, after moving to California.
‘She never allowed her children to go outside and play. They homeschooled every one of them and one day they just up and left,’ the woman said.
She described the Turpins as hoarders and said they left everything when the suddenly moved. They had so many belongings in the home it was difficult to walk around.
Neighbors have also revealed the children were not allowed to tell people their names and described the home in Rio Vista as a ‘religious compound’.
A daring escape: How the California horror house was discovered
The disturbing details emerged after the Turpins were charged with torturing and keeping their 13 biological children – ranging from 2 to 29 years of age – captive in their Perris, California home.
The children were rescued by police on Sunday after the couple’s 17-year-old daughter escaped through a window and called police saying her siblings were being chained up inside the home.
Police hailed the teenager a hero for her daring escape.
The girl, who was so malnourished officers initially believed she was only 10, managed to escape through a window and call 911 with a deactivated cell phone she had found in the home. When officers interviewed the girl, she provided photos of the conditions and abuse suffered by her and the rest of her siblings.
Authorities found at least three of the Turpin children – aged 2 to 29 – shackled to their beds and furniture with chains and padlocks in a dark, foul-smelling room inside the family home.
The victims, including six children and seven adults, were ‘malnourished and very dirty’. It is not clear how long some of them were chained, padlocked and shackled before they were discovered.
‘We do need to acknowledge the courage of that young girl who escaped,’ Riverside County sheriff’s Capt. Greg Fellows said on Tuesday.
Police confirmed that all 13 victims are the biological children of David and Louise Turpin. They were both arrested and charged with nine counts of torture and 10 of child endangerment. They are being held on $9million bail pending a court appearance.
According to The Mirror, the 17-year-old who finally broke free thought her parents would kill her if they caught her trying to escape.
‘In her mind, she was risking her life,’ a source told the paper, describing the teen as ‘so intelligent’ despite alleged limited access to the outside world during her childhood.
‘I would call that torture’: All 13 malnouruished siblings undergo treatment
The malnourished siblings, who were taken to hospital still dressed in their pajamas, continue to undergo treatment. Child’s services will now seek a court order to have oversight over the 13 children, including those over the age of 18.
Police confirmed that both David and Louise Turpin were religious but were unable to say if that played a role in holding their children captive.
While still early in the investigation, police said there were no signs that any of the siblings were sexually abused or that the parents were suffering from mental illness.
The sheriff’s captain said the conditions were horrific and amounted to torture. It wasn’t yet clear how long they had been held in such conditions in the filthy home but it appeared to have been a ‘prolonged’ period.
‘If you can imagine being a 10-year-old and being chained to a bed … I would call that torture,’ he said.
He added that Louise seemed ‘perplexed’ about why police came to their home, but it was unclear how the children’s father reacted.
Deputies had never been called to the home and neither had social service workers.
Corona Regional Medical Center CEO Mark Uffer said his facility is treating seven of the adult children.
‘It’s hard to think of them as adults, they are so small,’ Uffer said, adding that they clearly malnourished but stable and very friendly.
‘I believe they are hopeful life will get better for them after this event.’
A nearby pizza shop worker said he would serve Louise regularly, having no idea that she had starving children at home.
“Louise was in here every other day,” Matthew Alex Padilla, 20, told the Telegraph. “Sometimes with her husband, and a few times with a little girl, but never more than one.
‘We knew each other, and would chat – she was normal, if maybe a bit reserved. I had no idea she had 13 children, because she’d only ever order a slice of pepperoni, or a chicken club sandwich with no tomato.’
Mom refused to let her sisters see the kids and skipped her own parents’ funeral
Louise Turpin’s sister, Elizabeth Jane Flores, now aged 41, said she lived with the couple in Texas briefly more than 20 years ago. Flores said her brother-in-law David often made her feel uncomfortable.
‘If I was to get in the shower, he would come in while I was in there and watch me – it was like a joke,’ Flores told Good Morning America on Wednesday. ‘He never touched me or anything. I was young, I was scared. I was in Texas where I knew nobody. I was treated like one of the kids, I had rules.’
Flores said Louise and David ran a strict household but at the time she didn’t see any signs of abuse.
Her other sister, Teresa Robinette, told NBC’s Today that the mother-of-13 would laugh off the fact that her children were so skinny when family commented on it.
‘I always made comments to Louise, when I did talk to her about, ‘Gosh they’re so skinny’, and she would laugh it off saying ‘Well, David’s so tall and lanky. They’re going to be like him’,’ Robinette said.
‘(The children) weren’t allowed to date, or they didn’t have a social life,’ she said. ‘They weren’t allowed to watch TV. They weren’t allowed to talk on the phone, have friends over, stuff like that. Normal things that kids do.’
Flores told DailyMailTV on Tuesday that she had not seen her sister in 19 years, and while she still kept in touch with her by telephone, Turpin refused to invite her over to her home and never let her speak to her nieces and nephews.
She said their parents had bought tickets to visit the family but Turpin would not give them an address.
When asked why no one in the family thought to report the Turpins to authorities, Flores told GMA that their behavior didn’t seem abnormal to them.
‘When this happens for 20 years and before the kids are even there, you don’t think it’s abnormal,’ she said. ‘If it had been two years ago, we would have thought something is not right. Even before children, they were real private.’
Robinette also echoed that the family had lost touch with Louise several years ago.
‘My parents before they died in 2016 begged to see her. Even on their on their deathbed they asked to see her,’ Robinette told NBC. ‘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.’
Disney trips and Las Vegas vow renewals: How Facebook photos hid disturbing life
The shocking allegations provide a stark contrast to the life shown on David and Louise’s joint Facebook page. They appear to have had marriage-renewal ceremonies in Las Vegas by an Elvis impersonator at least three times in 2011, 2013 and 2015.
Their children were present at the ceremonies and are seeing posing for photos in 2015 in matching outfits for the boys and the girls. The 10 girls are all dressed in pink dresses with white tights and white shoes, while the boys are seen in suits with purple ties – and bowl haircuts like their father.
Footage of the ceremony posted online showed the smiling children awkwardly dancing and clicking their fingers behind their parents.
Another ceremony with the same Elvis impersonator in 2013 – prior to their youngest child being born – shows the children wearing the same outfits. Photographs from 2011 show the couple by themselves, but impersonator Kent Ripley said the children were in attendance that time as well.
‘I’m still disturbed. This is a sad day for everybody, especially the children, I mean they were sitting right around here three different times,’ Ripley told Fox5Vegas. He added on Today: ‘Nothing seemed to be unusual apart from the fact there was a lot of them. They were well behaved and smiled a lot’.
Other pictures show the family smiling on several trips to Disneyland, while another shows them wearing Dr Seuss-style shirts, with each child’s top emblazoned with ‘Thing 1’ to ‘Thing 13’.
It also features several photos of the youngest child when she was a baby in late 2015. She was often pictured posing with her mother, including in a Snow White costume, inside a Krispy Kreme store and at a lake.
The last public images that appeared on the Facebook page were posted in July 2016.
Speaking to CNN, grandmother Betty Turpin said the parents made the children dress alike for safety reasons. She describes how the children would line up according to age and the mother and father would walk in front and back of the line.
‘They were very protective of the kids. This is a highly respectable family.’
The couple’s joint Facebook page features several photos of the youngest child when she was a baby in late 2015. She was often pictured posing with her mother outside the house, including dressed as Disney Princess Snow White
Plagued by years of debt and bankruptcy
The Turpins were believed to have been dogged by debt and filed for bankruptcy twice – once in Texas and again in 2011 after moving to California.
Records show the large family’s expenses exceed Turpin’s pay by just over $1,000 a month. He previously worked for Lockheed Martin but left the job in 2010.
The Turpins lived in Murrieta first before purchasing their current four-bedroom home in Perris in August 2014 for $351,000.
Their house in Perris is also the address of Sandcastle Day School – a private school registered in 2014-15 so David Turpin could home-school six of his children. In the 2016-17 school year, it had an enrollment of six students – one each in the fifth, sixth, eighth, ninth, 10th and 12th grades. As a private school, there are no laws that require it to be inspected.
DISNEY-OBSESSED PARENTS ARRESTED FOR IMPRISONING 13 CHILDREN
The parents accused of starving and keeping their 13 children chained up inside their home had an obsession with Disneyland, according to the multiple family trips they took to the theme park and their ‘DSLAND’ car license plates.
David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, were both arrested at their home in Perris, California on Sunday after their 17-year-old daughter managed to escape and call 911.
But the shocking allegations made against David and Louise are in stark contrast to the life they publicly portrayed on their joint Facebook page.
David and Louise are pictured above smiling with their children and Disney Princess Jasmine. The photo was posted in 2012
Photos posted on Facebook between 2010 and 2012 show that the couple took their children to Disneyland on at least two separate occasions.
David and Louise are pictured smiling with their children in front of the theme park’s iconic castle and posing with Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse, Princess Jasmine and Winnie the Pooh’s Eeyore.
Just like all of their family photos, the children are pictured wearing matching outfits.
Just like all of their family photos, the children are pictured wearing matching outfits
Some of the younger children wore the same Disney-themed outfits on both family trips to the theme park. The trips occurred prior to the birth of their youngest daughter, who is now aged two.
Meanwhile, two of the four cars parked outside the family’s home in Perris when they were arrested also appear to have licence plates linked to Disneyland.
One of the plates on a Volkswagen Beetle reads ‘DSLAND’.
The other, which is also on Volkswagen, says ‘DL4EVER’. There has been speculation that the second plate could also mean David and Louise forever.