California couple charged with torturing 12 of their 13 children

World Today

David Turpin confers with attorneys Allison Lowe (back of head) and David Macher (R) as Louise Turpin confers with attorney Jeff Moore, during his court arraignment with wife Louise in Riverside, California on January 18, 2018. The California couple who held their 13 malnourished children captive in a suburban home were charged Thursday with multiple counts of torture and child abuse as prosecutors said the youngsters had been shackled even to go to the bathroom. David Turpin, 57, and his wife, 49, were hit with 12 counts of torture, 12 of false imprisonment, six of child abuse and six of abuse of a dependent adult at a court hearing in the city of Riverside. ( AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN)

We are learning more now about that California couple and what they allegedly inflicted on their 13 children. The couple is now charged with torture.

And, the father is also facing sexual abuse charges. CGTN’s May Lee has more.

It was just this past Sunday when the Riverside county sheriff received a 911 call from a 17-year-old girl who told them she and her 12 siblings were being held captive and often chained to furniture by her parents in this home in Perris, California.  What has been learned since then has been shocking and horrific.

Outside of the Turpin house in California, people leave flowers, balloons and stuffed animals in the front of the house.

Outside of the Turpin house in California, people leave flowers, balloons and stuffed animals in the front of the house.

 On Thursday morning, the riverside DA held a press conference where he listed the charges that will be filed against David and Louise Turpin, the parents of the 13 children.

“We have filed 12 counts of violation of penal code section 206, against both David and Louise Turpin,”  Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said. ”That is torture. We filed one count of a violation of penal code section 288B1 against David Turpin, which is a lewd act on a child by force or fear or duress.”

The DA also shared really disturbing details about what went on in this house for years.  It was, in his words, severe, emotional, physical abuse. 

“The victims report that as a punishment, starting many years ago, they began to be tied up,” said Hestrin. “At first with ropes, one victim at one point was tied up and hog tied, and then when that victim was able to escape the ropes, the defendants eventually began using chains and padlocks to chain up the victims to their beds.”

Other details include being fed only once a day…so all of the children, except the 2 year old, are severely malnourished,  and they were only allowed to shower  once a year.  

He also said that the parents would buy food for themselves…pies…all sorts of pies and they would leave them on the counter where the kids would see them, but not be allowed to eat the pies.  

 The DA said the 17 year old girl who made the 911 call had been planning an escape for 2 years with another sibling.  On Sunday, she and that sibling escaped from a window, but that sibling turned back due to fear.  

If David and Louise Turpin are convicted on all the charges, they could face 94 years to life in prison.