PERRIS, Calif. (CBS SF & AP) — A Riverside County couple was in custody Monday accused of abusing and torturing their 13 children including shackling several of them to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings, authorities said.
David Allen Turpin, 57, and 49-year-old Louise Anna Turpin were being held on $9 million bail for several counts of torture and child endangerment.
Deputies said that early Sunday morning, the couple’s 17-year-old daughter was able to escape and call 911 for help from a cellular device she found inside the house.
The teenager told authorities her 12 brothers and sisters were being held captive inside the residence by her parents and further claimed some of her siblings were bound with chains and padlocks.
When Perris Police officers and deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department responded, they met with the juvenile who appeared “to be only 10 years old and slightly emaciated.”
After a brief interview, authorities contacted the Turpins at the residence where the teenager escaped.
Further investigation revealed 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.
Deputies located what they believed to be 12 children inside the house, but were shocked to discover that 7 of them were actually adults, ranging in age from 18 to 29.
Authorities said the victims “appeared to be malnourished and very dirty.”
All 13 victims were transported to the Perris Station and interviewed. Child Protective Services (CPS) and Adult Protective Services (APS) were also called in to assist.
“The victims were provided with food and beverages after they claimed to be starving,” investigators said in a press release.
Six of the children were eventually transported to the Riverside University Hospital System for medical examinations and admitted for treatment. The seven adult children were transported to Corona Regional Medical Center for an examination and admitted for medical treatment.
Anyone with additional information regarding this investigation is encouraged to contact Master Investigator Tom Salisbury at the Perris Station by calling (951) 210-1000, or by email at PerrisStation@RiversideSheriff.org