On Sunday, Jan. 14, police made a shocking discovery in Perris, CA. At the home of David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Ann Turpin, 49, 12 brothers and sisters were found living in "dark and foul-smelling surroundings" where some had been bound, shackled, or padlocked to beds, according to a statement from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. A 13th sibling was the one who alerted authorities to the house of horrors after she managed to escape and call for help.
The parents are currently being held on $9 million bail each after they were arrested and booked on torture and child endangerment charges. CNN reports that the pair has a scheduled court hearing for Thursday, Jan. 18. Scroll down for more details about the disturbing case.
The Turpins' children were so emaciated, it was hard to decipher their ages.
Though the teen who managed to escape was 17, police initially thought she was 10 years old due to her tiny frame. "Deputies located what they believed to be 12 children inside the house, but were shocked to discover that seven of them were actually adults, ranging in age from 18 to 29," the sheriff's department said. The youngest is two years old.
Officers provided the siblings with food "after they claimed to be starving," police added. They were all admitted to nearby hospitals for treatment following their rescue.
On Facebook, the Turpins painted a picture of the perfect family.
Photos from the couple's multiple vow renewals in Las Vegas fill their joint Facebook page. During one ceremony, the girls wore matching purple plaid dresses, while the boys donned black suits. "This is a highly respectable family," David's mother, Betty Turpin, told CNN. She explained that they all dressed alike for "protective reasons," and that the children would line up according to age. "It was easier to keep up with the kids," Betty said. She also claimed the family had yearly passes to Disneyland.
Neighbors told NBC Los Angeles they knew the Turpins had a lot of children, but that "the kids didn't come out very often." One neighbor told CNN they were "very pale-skinned, almost like they'd never seen the sun."
The couple filed for bankruptcy in 2011.
Though David is currently listed as the principal of Sandcastle Day School, which is believed to be run out of his residence, he previously worked as an engineer at Northrup Grumman, according to bankruptcy documents obtained by CNN. The attorney who represented them, Ivan Trahan, said "there was nothing out of the ordinary" about the duo, and that they "spoke lovingly of their children."
Trahan added, "They came with a lot of debt. We just knew there was no way they could make their payments."