Jan. 16 (UPI) — A 17-year-old girl escaped from a California home where she and 12 of her siblings were held captive, shackled to beds and malnourished by their parents, police said Monday.
David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, face torture and child endangerment charges after the girl alerted police to conditions at her home.
Police said the 17-yer-old girl “appeared to be only 10” because she was so emaciated.
When officers from the Perris Police Department and Riverside County Sheriff’s Department searched the home, they found “several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings, but the parents were unable to immediately provide a logical reason why their children were restrained in that manner,” police said in a statement.
Law enforcement officials found 12 of the couple’s children held captive in the home and seven of them were adults, ranging in age from 18 to 29.
“The victims appeared to be malnourished and very dirty,” police said.
The parents were booked and are being held on a $9 million bond.
A neighbor who witnessed the arrest told KABC-TV that she saw the children being taken out of the four-bedroom house by authorities.
“They were very pale skinned, as if they had never seen the sun … they were very small-framed,” she said.