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Parents of 13 Shackled Siblings Charged With 12 Counts of Torture, Face Life in Prison

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

Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin revealed the charges filed against David and Louise Turpin via a press conference on Thursday, January 18.

The couple, who officials say kept their 13 malnourished children shackled to their beds since 2010 before they were rescued on Monday, January 15, face 12 counts of torture, multiple counts of abuse, neglect and false imprisonment. If found guilty, they will serve 94 years to life in prison. Riverside authorities have requested that bail be set at $13 million per defendant.

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“It is an ongoing investigation. It is a detailed investigation,” Hestrin told reporters on Thursday, requesting that any individual with additional information come forward. “We’re going to go about this meticulously and carefully.”

Hestrin confirmed disturbing details surrounding the case, including that David, 57, who has also been accused of performing a lewd act on a child by force or fear, and Louise, 49, allowed their children to shower once a year and fed them rationed meals once a day. “These individuals sleep all day and are up all night,” Hestrin said, noting that the nearly one dozen victims and the defendants “go to sleep around 4:00 a.m. or 5:00 a.m., sleep all day and then are up all night.”

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Hestrin also said that the children were not allowed to have toys, have not seen a doctor in more than four years and have never been seen by a dentist.

The DA added: “The victims report that, as a punishment starting many years ago, they began to be tied up, starting with ropes.” David and Louise began to use chains and padlocks to secure the siblings after one escaped. These forms of punishment lasted for several weeks at a time and victims were not permitted to use the restroom.

“All victims have been examined by doctors and medical professionals,” Hestrin continued, saying that all 13 of them are malnourished and several have nerve damage “as a result of extreme and prolonged abuse.”

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As previously reported, authorities discovered the remaining victims after a 17-year-old female jumped out of the window and called 911 using a cell phone she found inside the house. According to a police officer who spoke with NBC, she is believed to have a mental capacity far beneath her age. Hestrin revealed on Thursday that she had been working on a plan to save her siblings for two years.

Hestrin said on Thursday that, when questioned by authorities, the teenager did not know what pills and medication are. They also did not seem to know what police officers are.

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