California couple, parents of 13 children have been arrested on Monday on suspicion of abusing their children and locking them up at home. The police were called by a 17-year-old family member who managed to escape. The forces found 12 children, aged two to 29, some of them tied in chains, bound to beds, suffering from severe malnutrition and very dirty.
Police said the father, David Allen Turpin, 57, and mother Louise Ann Turpin, 49, were arrested and charged with nine cases of abuse and placing a minor in danger. The guarantee for their release was set at $9 million each.
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The girl who managed to escape feared for her life and was even afraid that her parents would try to kill her if they found out she had escaped, she told the police. She went out the window of the house at 6 am on Sunday with an old telephone she found in the house, with photographic evidence of what was going on. After she arrived in a safe area, in her opinion, she called the police station and reported that she and her brother were imprisoned in their home against their will. At least three of the children were tied up in chains and furniture locks or areas of the house, which caused a very strong stench.
“In her mind, she risked her life,” a source told the British Mirror. The source added that the girl who escaped “very intelligent” although she probably had very limited access to the outside world as a child. At this stage, it is not yet clear exactly how long the children were held in the conditions in which they were found, and how the parents managed to prevent any attempt to escape.
The girl who exposed the horror house did so use a mobile phone she found at home. On Sunday morning she fled, called the police and reported that she was being held by her parents against her will and that her brothers were still being held there. The police arrived at the family home in Pariss, about two hours from Los Angeles, and were shocked. There was a very bad smell and darkness.
The sheriff’s office said some of the children in the house were shackled with chains and locks. “The parents could not immediately provide a reasonable reason why their children were tied up like that,” a police statement said. The police found a house without access to water or proper food, and said they did not even realize at first that seven of the family members were adults – because they were extremely thin. The police thought the 17-year-old girl who reported the atrocity was a 10-year-old girl.
The police provided water and food to the brothers-who told them they were starving. Afterwards the brothers were transferred to hospitals for medical treatment. Their condition has not yet been disclosed. No estimate was given as to how much time the children were held at home.
Neighbors of the family said they were stunned by the arrests. “I had no idea it was happening,” said a neighbor who lives around the corner. “I did not know there were children at home.” The neighbor said that a few years ago he and his mother saw several family members in the yard of the house and that he spoke with them – “but they did not say a word.” Other neighbors described the family as very jealous of its privacy.
The New York Times reported that documents in California show that the father received permission from the state to run a private school in his home called the Sandcastle Day School. There were six sixth and twelfth grade students enrolled in the school this year, and the father was registered as the institution’s director.
It was also reported that the couple filed for bankruptcy in 2011, pledging to a court that they were in debt of $ 100,000- $ 500,000. At the same time, the father worked as an engineer at Northrop Grumman, a manufacturer of security systems, and earned $ 140,000 a year. She was registered as a housewife.
The lawyer who handled the bankruptcy request said last night that the parents used to talk a lot about their children at the same time. “They talked about them very well,” he said, noting that the father had told him that the family loved to visit Disneyland in the south of the country and drove often. “We remember them as a very nice couple, it’s shocking,” said the lawyer. He added that the children had never visited his office.