California couple plead not guilty


Parents David and Louise Turpion are - and the dad is being hit with one count of performing a lewd act on a child under 14 - after police discovered Sunday that they routinely withheld food from the kids and kept them shackled to furniture as punishment, Hestrin said.

A judge set bail at $12 million each for the Turpins, who were scheduled to return to court on February 23. "She would laugh it off and say David's so tall and lanky, they are going to be like him".

Photos from the Fort Worth, Texas, home previously owned by David, 57, and Louise Turpin, 49, indicate similar foul living conditions for the family almost two decades ago. They lived mostly at night, out of sight of neighbors, and knew virtually nothing of the outside world. They lived in Fort Worth and Rio Vista, Texas, and moved to Murrieta, California in 2010.

The Turpins have been in police custody since Sunday after authorities were called to their house in Perris, southeast of Los Angeles.

David Turpin's mother, Betty Turpin, told the Southern California News Group that she last saw the family six years ago. Louise Turpin identified herself as a housewife in a 2011 bankruptcy filing. Seven of them are adults.

Authorities say the siblings are malnourished and undersized, with cognitive impairment and other problems.

The Turpins are alleged to have starved their children to such an extent their oldest child, a 29-year-old woman, weighed only 82lbs (five stones) when she was rescued from the home.

Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin explained both in court and during a press conference the serious allegations made against the Turpins.

"In more than 20 years as a prosecutor in Riverside County, this is one of the most disturbing cases I've seen", Hestrin said.

"If you can imagine being 17 years old and appearing to be a 10-year-old, being chained to a bed, being malnourished and injuries associated with that, I would call that torture", Fallows said, explaining the possible charge face by the parents.

It "started out as neglect" and became severe, pervasive child abuse, getting worse when the family came west, Hestrin said.

The police noted that the parents were not able to provide a logical reason for shackling the children to their beds.

Of the victims, Hestrin said: "They're relieved". They were were initially bound with ropes, but when the children figured out how to escape from such bondage, the couple switched to chains and padlocks, just one of many forms of punishment, the district attorney said.

The physical abuse included beatings, chokings, and children being tied up for long periods, Hestrin said. The children were denied food, basic hygiene and medical care and were punished for perceived infractions such as washing their hands above the wrist.

From the outside, the brown-and-beige four-bedroom home in a quiet residential neighborhood looked fairly orderly.

After the pair's arrest pictures emerged of them and the 13 children posing on various day trips.

David and Louise Turpin with their 13 children that were found malnourished and some chained inside their Perris, California, home on January 15, 2018. Sometimes, authorities said, the parents would buy apple or pumpkin pies, leave them on the counter and let them go uneaten, prohibiting the children from tasting them. The children also appear at the ceremonies, dancing and posing for photos.

"We now have recovered those journals - hundreds of them - and we are combing through them for evidence". Mr Turpin also registered a private school in their California home, known as Sandcastle Day School. The registration indicated that the school had six students and was founded in the 2014-15 school year.

The siblings, who were schooled at home, were rarely seen outside the house, though the parents posted photos of them smiling together at Disneyland and in Las Vegas, where the couple renewed their wedding vows. They are, however, subject to an annual inspection by the state or local fire marshal.