HOUSE OF HORRORS: California Teen Escapes, Leads Deputies To 12 Siblings Shackled To Beds

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From the outside, the brown-and-beige four-bedroom home looked fairly orderly. The couple who owned it had purchased the house new in 2014 and soon arrived in this Los Angeles suburb with their 12 children.

They lived there quietly for at least three years and had another baby. Then on Sunday, one of the children jumped out of a window, called 911 and led authorities to what they described as a torture chamber.

Sheriff’s deputies said they found 13 children ranging from 2 to 29 years old, some of them chained to furniture, all of them thin and malnourished. The 17-year-old girl who escaped was so tiny that deputies initially mistook her for a 10-year-old.

When authorities confronted the girl’s mother, Louise Anna Turpin, sheriff’s Capt. Greg Fellows said she appeared “perplexed” about why officers had come to the home.

Turpin, 49, and her husband, David Allen Turpin, 57, were jailed on $9 million bail. They were scheduled for an initial court appearance on Thursday, and authorities say the pair could face charges of torture and child endangerment.

“If you can imagine being 17 years old and appearing to be a 10-year-old, being chained to a bed, being malnourished and injuries associated with that, I would call that torture,” Fallows said, explaining the possible charge.

He said there was no indication any of the children were sexually abused, although that was still being investigated.

Neither sheriff’s deputies nor child-welfare officials received a single call over the years about the Turpin home, he said.

The investigation, still in its early stages, has already begun to unravel a bizarre tale of a couple married 32 years who dressed their children alike, kept them away from outsiders and cut most of the boys’ hair in a Prince Valiant-style resembling that of their graying father.

Videos posted on YouTube show the couple renewed their vows at the Elvis Chapel in Las Vegas at least three times in recent years, most recently on Halloween 2015. An Elvis impersonator performed the ceremony between songs. Most of the children, dressed in matching outfits, took part.

Numerous photos on the couple’s Facebook page show the children dancing at the ceremony, visiting an amusement park that appears to be Disneyland and going on other outings, looking thin but often smiling.

Although their home appeared nondescript from the outside, it was a stinking mess inside, Fellows said.

Deputies reported that the home was very dirty and reeked — a condition that Fallows called “horrific.”

State Department of Education records show the home’s address is the same as the Sandcastle Day School, where David Turpin is listed as principal. In the 2016-17 school year it had an enrollment of six with one student each in the fifth, sixth, eighth, ninth, 10th and 12th grades.

Fellows told reporters there is no indication any student other than the couple’s children were enrolled there. He said six of those children are under 18.

No state agency regulates or oversees private schools in California, and they are not licensed by the state Education Department. Private school operators are required to file an affidavit with the state annually, listing the number of students, staff members and information about the school’s administrators.

Private schools are also subject to an annual inspection by state fire officials.

Representatives for the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the Riverside County Fire Department would not immediately say whether the Turpins’ home was ever inspected.

Mark Uffer, CEO at Corona Regional Medical Center, said seven of the children were there Tuesday.

“I can tell you that they’re very friendly. They’re very cooperative, and I believe that they’re hopeful that life will get better for them after this event,” he said.

Before moving to Perris, a rapidly growing suburb of 76,000 people, the family lived for a time in nearby Murrieta, Fellows said. Property records show they moved to Southern California in 2011 from Johnson County, Texas, near Dallas.

The Turpins filed for bankruptcy that same year, stating in court documents that they owed between $100,000 and $500,000. At that time, Turpin worked as an engineer at the Northrop Grumman aerospace company and earned $140,000 annually and his wife was a homemaker, records showed.

Neighbor Kimberly Milligan said the developer who built the tract where they lived told her the family had a dozen kids when they moved in, although she never saw that many.

She described the family as “standoffish” hoarders who had their garage filled with books and who often let the grass in their front yard grow out of control, unlike other families on the block.

“I got an impression, that, you know, ‘You stay in your lane, I’ll stay in my lane,” she said. “It was never, ‘Hi.’ Never a wave. Nothing.”

Her 26-year-old son, Robert Perkins, said he only recalled seeing four children outside the home, recalling they all appeared pale and skinny as if they never ventured outside.

“I feel sorry for the kids,” said Perkins, a warehouse worker. “Who knows how this is going to affect them.”

Dr. Sophia Grant, medical director of the child abuse and neglect unit for the Riverside University Health System, said it will take lengthy physical and emotional therapy for the children to recover.

“You have to imagine that these kids are going to need a lot of support. It’s not going to be anything that you go to, you know, a few sessions of therapy and you’re all better,” she said. “This is going to be long term.”

(AP)




20 COMMENTS

  1. Yerushalmit
    January 16, 2018 5:48 pm at 5:48 pm
    Why is this piece of news suitable for a Frum site?
    ———————
    Dont think for one second this can not happen in the yeshivish/ charedi velt because it can and it did. May be not in this fashion perse, but it has happened. Just google a bit. U dont have to dig too far unfortunately.

  2. @ Takes2-2tango. since when just because something happens does it become ok to talk about it ?!
    that is what loshan hara is. additionally pritzus also can and does happen in the yeshivish/ charedi velt, should we report on those stories also ?

    Moderators Note: Yes. And the soaring suicide rate (more than 100 in 12 months), and the staggering number of people in our community on drugs and suffering from other addictions, and abuse, and mental illness, and the hundreds of overdose in the past 12 months. All the things that our community doesn’t really have to talk about….MUST be spoken about. They finally are. But you can feel free to continue ignoring the issues. Look how far they got us in the last 50 years.

  3. Give them the max-with a taste of their own medicine with solitary confinement with shackles !!!!
    Being a parent does not give you TOTAL free rein on your children!!!!

  4. It is not a matter of ignoring issues – but there is a difference in putting on a website – open to EVERYONE – including young children

    I noticed that u don’t post every murder either

    I have a very strong filtrer on my cimputer and I dare say that if the company knew what u put on here – I think u would be blocked

    As a Yerushalmit – i do not let newspapers with such articles into my house

    Tha has nothing to do with the fact that issues have to be dealt with

    But why on an open “family” “yeshivisce” website?

    Moderators Note: Why are your children on the Internet to begin with? Interesting.

  5. Can’t Agree more with the moderator! What’s your concern of news content? Why are your children on this site anyways? Does their yeshiva allow even “occasional visits to Internet ????? Assumption is we are talking to mature grown-ups and there is a lesson to be learnt from such a story ! BEING a parent doesn’t give you a license to treat your children in any inferior and unsafe way!!!??

  6. Moderator – my children r grown up so they don’t see my Internet and i think your note is quite “childish” amd cynical

    Do u right about every murder that is committed?

    These people aren’t even Jewish – so why did u put it on here?

    IMHO, u have to decide whether u r Yeshivish or maybe more like Arutz7

    Moderators Note:
    If they were Jewish, you would be screaming “LASHON HARA!” This story is an insane story, of interest to just about everyone. There is a reason that it has been the top trending story on YWN since it broke.

  7. I also agree with the Moderator. Children shouldn’t be on the internet.

    I believe the idea of a YW website is to give the news of what is going on in the world but in a modest clean way. It should not be limited to Jewish News. This way we can get all the world news we can without going to CNN BBC etc.

    I am not sure what the particular lesson of this story is to frum Yidden. Hopefully it doesnt happen in our community.

    If such a thing CH”V would happen in the Yiddish world it would upto YWN to consult their Daas Torah as to whether it should be shown and how.

    Moderators Note:
    “Hopefully it doesnt happen in our community.” Child abuse is happening in our community.

  8. Bad news but reality:- There are probably several other yet to be discovered sagas right now transpiring across the USA. hence publicizing this, may prompt us into being vigilant neighbors prying to catch the next weirdo sooner than this one was caught.