13 starving children bound to beds in house of horrors

Mother of 13 malnourished children was 'perplexed' when deputies arrived, captain says

The Turpins each pleaded not guilty on all counts when they were arraigned Thursday afternoon.

The couple will be formally charged at an arraignment in Riverside at 1:30 p.m. Prosecutors will ask the judge to set bail at $13 million for each of the defendants, Hestin said. A court conference was scheduled for February 23 in Riverside.

If convicted on all charges, they face up to 94 years to life in prison, officials said.

One of Louise Turpin's sisters said this week that some family members were prevented from seeing the children.

David and Louise Turpin would tie up or chain their offspring as punishment, both the minor children and the adults, Hestrin alleged.

When officers arrived at the house on Sunday, evidence suggests that three of the siblings were in chains, Hestrin said.

"This is severe physical and emotional abuse we're talking about", Hestrin said.

Police chief Captain Gregg Fellows said her siblings were found padlocked to their beds during the raid.

The only thing the siblings were allowed to do while being punished was write in journals.

The youngest of the 13 children, a 2-year-old, was not starved and thus was not included in the torture charges, Hestrin said. The oldest child, a 29-year-old woman, weighed 82 pounds.

The revelations came on Wednesday as investigators combed through Louise and David Turpin's home east of Los Angeles.

All victims, ranging in age from 2 to 29, were found shackled to their beds amid foul conditions in the house in the 100 block of Muir Woods Road after the unidentified 17-year-old got a hold of law enforcement.

None of the siblings had seen a doctor in more than four years, and none had ever seen a dentist, Hestrin said.

The daughter who alerted police on Sunday had been planning to escape for more than two years, Hestrin said.

In one she talks about being "filled with fear" during a very traumatic childhood in which she watched her mother getting "beaten and raped". 10 of the children are females and three are males.

Deputies found the children, who appeared small and malnourished, and some were chained to pieces of furniture. At first, authorities believed she was only 10 years old - that's how malnourished she was. When the Turpins were foreclosed on in Texas, the new owners said they found the carpets soiled, windows broken and boarded up, and scratches on the inside of the doors. Relatives said they were not permitted to see them.

Days after 13 malnourished siblings were removed from a Perris home, authorities gave a disturbing list of acts that were allegedly committed upon them by their parents.

They were taken to a police station for questioning and are now recovering in hospital.

A neighbor of the Turpins when they lived in Texas told KTVT that the couple "kept them away from everybody".

"They would buy food including pies - apple pies, pumpkin pies - leave it on the counter, let the children look at it but not eat", Mr Hestrin said. She also said she had "uncomfortable" experiences with her brother-in-law. Some of the older Turpin children were putting up a Nativity scene outside their house, and she complimented their decorations. "They were just like any ordinary family.

So I was shocked, I was devastated", she said. "You could tell they were terrified". The children also appear at the ceremonies, dancing and posing for photos.

The Riverside County Department of Public Social Services is seeking court authorization to provide oversight and care for the 13 siblings "to the extent that's necessary", said von Zabern.

Kimberly Milligan claims to have seen the children "only a few times" in the two and a half years that she lived across from them. But at the time of the Tuesday press conference, she said relatives had not come forward. The adults are being treated at Corona Regional Medical Center in Corona, and the six children are at Riverside University Health System Medical Center in Moreno Valley. "All you would really see is that they go out and maybe do a grocery round".

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