A seventeen-year-old girl informed the authorities on Sunday that she had escaped from her abusive parents who had been mentally and physically torturing her and her other twelve siblings.
When the police reached the family’s home in California, they weren’t prepared to face one of the most disturbing scene of child abuse and parental neglect, which rightfully earned it the name ‘House of Horrors’.
Tortured and Starved
The Turpin family consisting of parents David and Louise Turpin, along with their thirteen children were living a life of secrecy in their California residence. None of the neighbors knew what went on inside the Turpin house since their children were not allowed to go to school or outside to play.
Although, the family’s bizarre cult-like activities, such as being active only at night and marching in circles around the house, did raise suspicions among the neighbors, nobody had ever thought that the Turpin children were being tortured and starved by their own biological parents.
The authorities first found out about the situation when one of the Turpin kids, a 17-year-old girl, escaped from the ‘house of horrors’ and called 911 for help. She explained that her parents had been keeping her, and the other siblings, captive inside the house. She had been planning the escape for two years.
Police Reports Suggest Signs of Assault
When the investigators arrived at the family’s doorstep, they were received by mom Louise Turpin, who appeared to be genuinely surprised to hear that someone had complained about her behavior towards the children.
The police officials proceeded inside the house, which was in extremely squalid condition, to discover twelve extremely malnourished children, three of whom were shackled to their own beds to prevent them from moving. There were also signs of injuries on their bodies which indicated towards physical assault.
The four-bedroom Perris house, where the strange family lived, was piled with junk included Mickey Mouse statues and other Disney World inspired articles included a Disney car seat and a Disney number plate for their van.
According to the report, the house was dark and had an extremely foul smell due to the lack of cleanliness and the children had admitted that they were only allowed to shower twice a year.
Suspects Could Receive Life Imprisonment
After the arrest of the parents, Louise Turpin’s own sister, Elizabeth, who she hasn’t seen in 19 years, made a statement saying that she was in utter disbelief to hear the news. Louise’s own parents had tried to get in touch with her several times over the years but she would neither give her address to anybody or let her family speak to her children over the phone.
Even though the 13 children ranged from the age of 2 to 29 years, most of them, including the oldest child, were so malnourished and physically underdeveloped that at first, the authorities assumed they were only 10-years-old. The report also states that the starving children who had been chained to furniture had begged the police for some food.
All the children were taken to Perris Station where they were provided with food, drinks as were as a counselor. The parents who are suspected of committing horrific acts of torture on their own children have now been charged with 19 counts of torture and child endangerment – which could earn them a lifetime in prison. Both of them have pleaded not guilty.
Neighbors Say the Turpins Were a ‘Strange Family’
Some of the news agencies tried to get insight from the Turpins’ neighbors, and a few of them gave accounts of the strange things they had witnessed inside the ‘house of horrors’. One neighbor said that the family would rarely come out during the day, and as soon as night fell, they would start doing strange things such as marching up and down the stairs inside the house as well as running in circles for hours.
Another neighbor said that the children seemed like expressionless zombies and never greeted anyone around the neighborhood. The family had also been spotted getting inside their small van and leaving for a couple of hours in the middle of the night, however, it is still a mystery what the pack was up to while they were outside.
Other neighbors were surprised to hear that someone even lived in that house! The Turpins’ house was always dark and no one ever heard a sound come from inside. The family would only become active during the wee hours of the night.