13 Siblings Ages 2 to 29 Held Captive by Parents


David and Louise Turpin celebrating their wedding surrounded by their thirteen children.

By Isis Iverson

Thirteen siblings, three brothers and ten sisters were found held captive by their parents in Perris, California, about 27 miles south of San Bernardino. Parents, David Allen Turpin (57) and Louise Anna Turpin (49), were held responsible and arrested for torture and child endangerment.

    Their 17 year-old daughter managed to escape from the home, slipping through a window and dialing 911 on a deactivated cell phone she found. The teenager told the police her brothers and sisters were held captive and starving. The police arrived later that day, to arrest the couple after they were informed about the situation from the daughters. The children, ranging from age 2 to 29, were found shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks.

    The investigation began early Sunday morning on January 14, 2018. Investigators and police found out from the children’s journals that they were allegedly beaten, choked, and had no access to a bathroom for months at a time. Mr. and Mrs. Turpin would buy toys but wouldn’t let them play with them or even take them out of the packaging as punishment. They would also make apple and pumpkins pies and wouldn’t let the children eat them. When found, the children were given food, water and hospitalized from malnourishment.

    The parents were booked with the bail set at $9 million each. According to public records, the couple has owned the house and have lived there since 2010. The children were forced to sleep all day and stay up at night,  typically going to sleep at 4 or 5 in the morning. That way, nobody could know about the children in the house and what was going on.

    Some neighbors were shocked to learn the family had so many children in the house. Mrs. Turpin would have sister, Robinette over to visit and she would also Skype with her to see her nieces and nephews. Robinette also knew what was going on in the house, but didn’t say anything to the police. She’s the only was she can keep in contact with her sister, brother in law, nieces, and nephews. Their neighbor, Ricky Vineyard said, said he remembers how the family living there earlier, with the siblings, were rarely leaving the house. The lights were always on and the blinds drawn.

The state of California records show that the Turpin parents had received a state approval to run a private school. Their ‘Sandcastle Day School’ was opened in 2011 enrolling six of their children in 2017. Mr. Turpin was listed as their principal.

    The victims reported the punishments started many years ago with their parents tying them up with ropes. When the parents found out one had escaped their ropes, they began to use chains and padlocks to keep them from leaving. The punishments had lasted weeks or months at a time.

     The children said they have never seen a dentist and been to a doctor in over 4 years. The parents would only allow the children write in their aforementioned journals in their room. Investigators have recovered hundreds of the journals, of how they lived their life.

    On February 23, 2018, David and Louise Turpin have each been charged with 12 counts of torture, 12 counts of false imprisonment,7 counts of abuse of a dependent adult and 6 counts of child abuse. David Turpin was also charged with one count of a lewd act on a child under the age of 14 by force, fear, threats, or violence. The Turpin parents have pleaded not guilty.

    The parents accused of torturing and starving their 13 children will be in court for a procedural hearing. For the first time, lawyers representing their 7 adult children are revealing, how their recovery is going, and what their dreams are for the future now that there away from their parents.

    The children were rescued from there home in Perris, California. The younger six siblings are split between two foster homes. And the 7 adult siblings are in a nearby medical center, where they’re being shown and taught everything from Harry Potter movies to iPads.

    Louise left home at 16 to get married to David, who was 8 years older than her. Her sister and brother in law were very strict with their kids. Louise and David Turpin were married for 33 years, but have since renewed their wedding vows in Las Vegas at least three times recently in 2015.

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