Turpin case: California children 'chained for months'

Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin announces charges against David Turpin, 56, and Louise Turpin, 49, in Riverside, California U.S. January 18, 2018.Image copyright

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District Attorney Mike Hestrin said the couple chained their children as a form of punishment

California prosecutors have detailed allegations of horrific abuse by the parents of 13 children held in shackles at their home.

David Turpin, 56, and Louise Turpin, 49, face charges of torture, abuse and false imprisonment, Riverside County district attorney Mike Hestrin told reporters.

They are due to appear in court to be formally charged.

Mr Hestrin said all 13 of the couple’s children were severely malnourished.

He said the teenager who fled from the house earlier this week to raise the alarm had planned the escape with her siblings for two years.

She fled through a window with a sibling, who then became afraid and returned to the house, he added.

The couple’s children, who are aged between two and 29 and had all been home schooled, have been treated in hospital since being freed.

Mr Hestrin said that the couple had punished their children by tying them up – first using ropes and later chaining them to their beds with padlocks.

He said the punishments would last weeks or months at a time.

If found guilty of all charges the couple face 94 years to life in prison, Mr Hestrin added.

The 13 were found in an emaciated state in their filthy, foul-smelling house, police revealed earlier. Officers had at first thought all the children were minors but later realised some were frail and malnourished adults, they said.

Mr Hestrin said that when officers arrived, three of the couple’s children were chained to their beds.

The charges against David and Louise Turpin:

  • 12 counts of torture
  • 1 count against David Turpin of a lewd act on a child
  • 7 counts of abuse against a dependent adult
  • 6 counts of child abuse/neglect
  • 12 counts of false imprisonment

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