Kids Chained in CA House of Horrors 01/16 06:28
PERRIS, Calif. (AP) -- A 17-year-old girl called police after escaping from
her family's home where she and her 12 brothers and sisters were locked up in
filthy conditions, some so malnourished officers at first believed all were
children even though seven are adults.
The girl, who was so small officers initially believed she was only 10,
called 911 and was met by police who interviewed her and then went to the
family home in Perris, about 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles. They found
several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark,
foul-smelling surroundings, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's
The children, ages 2 to 29, "appeared to be malnourished and very dirty,"
according to a press release announcing Sunday's arrest of the parents. "The
victims were provided with food and beverages after they claimed to be
David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, each were held on $9
million bail and could face charges including torture and child endangerment.
It wasn't immediately known if they had attorneys.
State Department of Education records show the family home has the same
address as Sandcastle Day School, where David Turpin is listed as principal. In
the 2016-17 school year it had an enrollment of six with one student in each of
the fifth, sixth, eighth, ninth, 10th and 12th grades.
Neighbors said they were stunned by the arrests. Andrew Santillan, who lives
around the corner, heard about the case from a friend.
"I had no idea this was going on," he told the Press-Enterprise of
Riverside. "I didn't know there were kids in the house."
Other neighbors described the family as intensely private.
A few years ago, Robert Perkins said he and his mother saw a few family
members constructing a Nativity scene in the Turpins' front yard. Perkins said
he complimented them on it.
"They didn't say a word," he said.
The Turpins filed for bankruptcy in 2011, stating in court documents they
owed between $100,000 and $500,000, The New York Times reported. At that time,
Turpin worked as an engineer at Northrop Grumman and earned $140,000 annually
and his wife was a homemaker, records showed.
Their bankruptcy lawyer, Ivan Trahan, told the Times he never met the
children but the couple "spoke about them highly."
"We remember them as a very nice couple," Trahan said, adding that Louise
Turpin told him the family loved Disneyland and visited often.