Early on some labelled what went on inside David and Louise Turpin’s suburban home as a “house of horrors”.
Today the Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin confirmed that was certainly true.
Even before starting his news conference today he warned “this will be difficult to listen to”.
He was right.
It also begged the question how could all this have happened to 13 innocent children, tortured and punished by a depraved couple for so long and unnoticed in what is otherwise an ordinary suburban street in Perris, two hours drive south of Los Angeles?
The brave act of one of the girls, a 17 year old, eventually brought an end to their nightmare. She escaped out the window with a younger sibling who panicked at the last moment and went back to the house.
But there was still enough time for the girl to call the police and the whole horror of what was going on inside of the house was revealed.
Mike Hestrin described how the children:
– Were ordered to sleep all day and forced to be up all night. Being told to go to sleep at 5am.
– They were first tied to their beds with ropes but when they worked out how to break out of those ropes, they were than chained and padlocked
– Punishments included frequent beatings and strangulation.
– They were fed very little even though their parents would buy apple pies and pumpkin pies put them down in front of them in the kitchen and ate them themselves and not allowed the children near them.
– The children ranging in age from 2 to 29 were not allowed any toys even though toys, still in their packages, were found in the house.
– They were not allowed to shower more than once a year.
– If they washed their arms above their hands they were severely punished.
All of the children were emaciated and as a result suffer serious health issues.
The district attorney told how they were uneducated right to the point where some children did not even know what a police officer was.
He says, as example, the 12-year-old is the weight of an average seven year old and social workers who are now buying clothes for all the children, right up to the age of 29, are only buying children’s sizes.
Both David And Louise Turpin face dozens of charges including 12 counts of torture, child abuse and he is also charged with a lewd act on a child.
If found guilty they face up to 94 years in prison.
The 17 year old explained that she along with other brothers and sisters had been planning the escape for two years.
Earlier police had explained how Louis Turpin was dismayed and perplexed as to why the police needed to raid the house.
David Turpin’s elderly mother said she was surprised by the allegations. She often asked the couple why they had so many children and he always replied because “God wants me to”.