Cops: Calif. Parents Shackled Their 13 Kids, Ages 2 to 29

A bizarre and disturbing story out of California
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2018 12:54 AM CST
This Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018 photo released by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department shows suspect David Allen Turpin.   (Riverside County Sheriff's Department via AP)
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(Newser) – An ordinary house in a California subdivision concealed a bizarre and disturbing case of torture and child abuse, police say. In a press release, the Riverside County Sheriff's Office says a 17-year-old girl called 911 early Sunday morning after escaping a home in Perris and told police her 12 siblings were being held captive by their parents. Police say that inside the residence, they found several malnourished and dirty children "shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings"—and parents David and Louise Turpin were "unable to provide a logical reason" why they were restrained. Investigators initially thought the couple's 13 children were all juveniles, but they were shocked to discover that seven were adults and the oldest was 29.

David Turpin, 57, and Louise Turpin, 49, were arrested on charges of torture and child endangerment and are being held on a $9 million bond each, the Los Angeles Times reports. The 13 victims—the youngest just 2 years old—were hospitalized. Police say they gave them food after they said they were starving. Horrified neighbors tell the Press-Enterprise that they had no idea what was going on. Some didn't even know there were children in the house. A joint Facebook page shows the Turpins, accompanied by their children, renewing their wedding vows in Las Vegas. A 2011 bankruptcy filing seen by CNN states that David Turpin made $140,000 per year working as an engineer at Northrup Grumman. He is listed as principal of the Sandcastle Day School, a private school with just six students, at his Perris address, KTLA reports. (Read more child abuse stories.)

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