California parents starved 13 children, taunted them with pie

David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin

David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna

Each parent faces 94 years to life in prison if convicted on more than two dozen charges including torture, child abuse and false imprisonment in a case that has shocked the nation and prompted calls for greater supervision of home schooling.

The children ranged in age from 2 to 29, but they were so malnourished that all of them looked like minors, Hestrin said.

Elizabeth Flores, sister of Louise, told ABC News she hadn't had "a sister relationship for about 20 years".

Hestrin added that what started out as neglect over the years developed into full-fledged "pervasive" and "severe" child abuse.

Police chief Captain Gregg Fellows said her siblings were found padlocked to their beds during the raid.

The alleged crimes took place between 2010 and the present in the cities of Murrieta and Perris. He said a 29-year-old woman rescued weighed just 82 pounds. No calls about trouble ever came to police or child welfare officials.

Hestrin said all the siblings were severely malnourished and as a result some have cognitive impairment and a lack of basic knowledge.

On Sunday, their 17-year-old daughter escaped from their home in Perris, California, and notified authorities that she and her 12 siblings were being held captive. Robert Perkins stated that the family were constructing a nativity scene in their driveway a few years prior that he complimented: "They didn't say a word".

No one was aware of the harrowing ordeal they had endured in the filthy, stench-ridden suburban home.

According to Hestrin, the siblings had planned an escape from their parents for more than two years.

Nor is it clear why the teen girl fled when she did, breaking a silence that had likely lasted years.

Investigators have confirmed that David and Louise Turpin are the children's biological parents, and say there is no evidence so far of sexual abuse or mental illness - though they caution that the investigation is continuing. 10 of the children are females and three are males. Deputies found some of the children chained to furniture when they entered.

She said said she had only seen the baby in its mother's arms and three other children since she moved to the street two years ago.

Susan von Zabern, director of the county's social service department, said it was "the first opportunity to intervene". When the Turpins were foreclosed on in Texas, the new owners said they found the carpets soiled, windows broken and boarded up, and scratches on the inside of the doors. Mr Perkins said he complimented them on it. They told officers they were starving.

Days after 13 malnourished siblings were removed from a Perris home, authorities gave a disturbing list of acts that were allegedly committed upon them by their parents.

Homeschooling them and providing a lackluster education to the point some of them didn't know what a police officer was.

The children were not allowed to have toys, although many toys were found in the house in their original packaging, never opened, Hestrin said.

In 2015, Kimberly Milligan, a neighbor of the Turpins in California, said she was with her son checking out Christmas decorations on nearby homes.

Seven of the children recovered from the "horror house" are aged over 18, though looked no older than teenagers.

"They just froze", Milligan recalled.

They occasionally spoke on the phone but all other advances to make contact were immediately shut down.

However, she said her brother-in-law made uncomfortable, and even used to watch her shower.

"A case like that sticks with you and haunts you", Hestrin told reporters. At Disneyland, the grandchildren wore matching outfits and lined up in a row to get on attractions, according to the age of each child, with the father standing at the end, their grandmother said Wednesday.

At their arraignment, the Turpins will be represented by attorneys with the Riverside County Public Defender's Office. But at the time of the Tuesday press conference, she said no relatives had come forward.

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