Published: Sat, January 20, 2018
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

Couple plead not guilty to torture of children

Couple plead not guilty to torture of children

ACalifornia couple tortured a dozen of their children for years, starving them to the point that their growth was stunted, chaining them to their beds for up to months, preventing them from using the toilet at times and forbidding them from showering more than once a year, a prosecutor said Thursday.

The Turpin parents allowed their children to eat only one meal a day but the parents would sometimes buy food, like pumpkin pies, and place it where the children could see it but not eat it. A 29-year-old woman weighs 82 pounds, and a 12-year-old weighs as much as an average 7-year-old, a prosecutor said.

They were forced to sleep during the day and would stay up at night. If they washed their hands above their wrists, they would be chained up as punishment for playing with water. When found, they hadn't been to a doctor in over four years and had never been to a dentist, he added. Other punishments for misbehavior included beatings and strangulation, Hestrin said.

But two 1-year-old puppies in the home were found in remarkably good condition. Several children even had cognitive and nerve damage from the abuse, he said. The parents were able to get two of the children, 11 and 14, unchained before police entered, but a 22-year-old remained chained to the bed. The seven older siblings were taken to a different hospital. The Riverside University Health System has also created a Perris Sibling Support Fund.

He told ABC News he was "certain feces were smeared all over the walls of every room at the time that he bought the home".

The teenager who raised the alarm was so malnourished social workers believed her to be just ten years-old. They have little knowledge of outside world; they did not know what a police officer was, didn't know what medicine is.

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No reason was offered as to the depth of "depravity" and "cruelty" both parents doled out to their children which first began manifesting itself in 2010, the same year David Turpin lost his high paying engineer's job of $140K with Northrop Grumman.

Betty and James Turpin of Princeton, West Virginia say they were in shock when they learned of the arrest of their son David Turpin and his wife, Louise Turpin this week.

Police are still trying to piece together the extent of the abuse and encourage people to contact them with any information that may further reveal what was happening in the Turpin house. When children were not shackled, they were often locked in rooms. Investigators were combing through hundreds of journals found in the home, Hestrin said.

Ironically, Hestrin noted, "about the only thing the children were allowed to do" in captivity was to write.

Their next court date is February 23.

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