January 14th, 2018
The home where David and Louise Turpin are alleged to have tortured 12 of their 13 children. The Turpins face trial set for Sept. 3, 2019 on a collective 88 felony charges including torture, child cruelty and false imprisonment. David, 57, and Louise, 50, are accused of shackling, starving, neglecting and psychologically abusing all but their youngest child to the point where doctors say the now five minors and eight adults suffered varying levels of cognitive and physical impairment. David Turpin has also been charged with eight counts of perjury for the state Department of Education affidavits he filed that asserted the children were home-schooled full time. Prosecutors say the children, ages 2-29 at the time of their parents’ arrests, received at most a few years of grade-school education. The Turpins have pleaded not guilty to all charges. The children had largely been kept out of sight by leading a nocturnal existence, but their plight came to light Jan. 14, when a 17-year-old daughter escaped through a window and used a sibling’s cellphone to call 911. When asked for her street address, the girl instead read off the ZIP-plus-four code from a piece of mail. Inside, police found a house piled with clutter and filth; the odor of decay was overpowering. Then, in rooms that looked like military barracks, they found the girl’s siblings, dirty and emaciated from hunger — and some of them were chained to their beds in their own waste. The children were so small that police at first assumed they were all underage, but later would find out that seven of them were over 18. Once they were safely out, the siblings told of horrific physical abuse at the hands of their parents. They were kept imprisoned 20 hours a day and forbidden to bathe. They were beaten for such crimes as stealing food or “wasting water” if they washed their hands above the wrists. Their parents would only feed them once a day, causing them to be so malnourished some of them would suffer permanent physical and cognitive delays. At the same time, their parents would leave pizzas and pies out on the counters to mold, forbidding the children to touch them and beating them if they disobeyed.