A pair of parents living in Southern California face up to life in prison for starving and torturing their 13 children, prosecutors said Thursday.
At a press conference Thursday morning, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin disclosed some scary details of the case, in which 57-year-old David Allen Turpin and 49-year-old Louise Anna Turpin were charged with committing years of torture and abuse to their children.
According to a notification released Monday by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, the couple who both live in Perris, a town 100 kilometers east of Los Angeles, were arrested Sunday after a 17-year-old girl fled from the suspects' residence and used a mobile phone to call 911, reporting that her 12 brothers and sisters were imprisoned within the home.
Local police and deputies from the sheriff's department went to the reported residence and were shocked by the scene which Hestrin described at the conference as "depraved."
Hestrin said the parents used chains and padlocks to shackle their children up, seven of whom are actually adults ranging in age from 18 to 29, as a kind of punishment, which usually lasted from weeks to months at a time.
The victims weren't released from their chains even to go to the bathroom, and they were not allowed to shower more than once a year, he said, adding that the girl fled out Sunday plotted her escape for two years.
"The children lacked even basic knowledge of life. Many of the children didn't know what a police officer was," Hestrin said.
Hestrin also said the parents would buy food including pies and "leave it on the counter, let the children look at it, but not eat the food."
All the victims are severely malnourished when investigators found them. The eldest victim, a 29-year-old woman, weighs only 82 pounds (37.2 kilograms) and another 12-year-old child has the weight of an average 7-year-old.