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13 Shackled Siblings Ate One Meal a Day, Showered Twice a Year

Less than a week ago, police discovered 13 malnourished siblings — aged 2 to 29 — held captive in David and Louise Turpin’s Perris, California, home. According to the Riverside County Sheriff’s department, the children were “shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings.” Now, a law enforcement official with knowledge of the case has released more disturbing details.

David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin
David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin Riverside County Sheriff’s Department

According to an NBC News report published Thursday, January 18, David, 57, and Louise Turpin, 49, fed their nearly a dozen kids one “rationed” meal a day and allowed them to shower twice a year. The conditions inside the four-bedroom ranch-style house were filled with urine and the Turpin brothers and sisters were chained to furniture when authorities found them. 

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As previously reported, officers were alerted to the situation when one of the victims, a 17-year-old female, who appeared to be “only 10,” jumped out a window and called 911 using a cell phone found inside the home. According to the law enforcement official who spoke with NBC, she is believed to have a mental capacity below her age.

All the siblings are currently hospitalized and receiving antibiotics, vitamins and nutrients for severe malnutrition, the law enforcement official told NBC News. Psychologists will be brought in to evaluate the victims when their health improves. 

Shocked relatives, including David’s mother, Betty Turpin, had no idea what her son and and daughter-in-law were doing. “They were just like any ordinary family,” Betty, 81, told NBC. “And they had such good relationships. I’m not just saying this stuff. They were ‘sweetie’ this and ‘sweetie’ that to each other.”

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Betty called David and Louise “model Christians” while speaking with the Southern California News Group on Wednesday. “It’s hard to believe all of this,” she said. “Over the years, the Lord knows what happened.” She said David and Louise had such a large family because God wanted them to. 

Per the NBC, investigators are trying to determine if religion played a part in the alleged torture of the Turpin children. 

David and Louise Turbin are charged with torture and child endangerment and are scheduled for a court hearing Thursday. Bail was set at $9 million for each. 

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