Published: Wed, January 17, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Tortured, Starved California Children Rarely Seen Outside Home: Neighbours

Tortured, Starved California Children Rarely Seen Outside Home: Neighbours

Questions are being asked about the Californian private education system after it was revealed the home where two parents allegedly tortured their 13 children also functioned as a school which had never been inspected by officials.

Police said they were alerted to the situation in the house in Perris, California, by a 17-year-old girl who escaped and called them on a cellphone.

"If you can imagine being 17 years old and appearing to be a 10-year-old, being chained to a bed, being malnourished..." They ranged in age between 2 and 29. Some of the children were shackled to their beds with restraints and padlocks, said police.

Riverside County sheriff's Capt. Greg Fellows described the reaction of 49-year-old Louise Turpin but didn't know the reaction of the father, 57-year-old David Turpin.

The statement went on to say,"the parents were unable to immediately provide a logical reason why their children were restrained in that manner".

But neighbors said they saw the children only a handful of times and were stunned to learn there were 13 of them in the home. Ten female children smiled for the camera while wearing matching purple and pink plaid dresses and white shoes, while three male children wore black suits and pink ties. They died before they got to see them again.

While Grand did not treat the siblings, she spoke generally about people who suffered similarly to the 13 Perris siblings who deputies initially believed to be all children.

Private schools are generally regulated by parents, who often sign contracts and review standards before enrolling their children, said Ron Reynolds, executive director of the California Association of Private School Organizations.

She never let us talk to her kids.

"One of the things that was interesting was, he (Turpin) set up his own home school so the kids were accounted for and not really seen by anybody", said Sherryll Kraizer, a child-abuse prevention expert and the founder of the Coalition for Children.

Photos posted on what appeared to be David and Louise Turpin's shared Facebook account showed the family took trips to Disneyland and Las Vegas.

Deputies went to the residence and said they were "shocked" to find the teen's 12 siblings, seven of whom were adults ranging in age from 18 to 29. "You know something is off, but you don't want to think bad of people".

Authorities say David and Louise Turpin still carry Texas driver's licenses with addresses for a house just south of Rio Vista.

"It's insane. I can't believe this is going on", Zinzi Ross, who has lived near the family for about two years, told The (Riverside) Press-Enterprise.

"You would never see them on visit, you would never see anyone come outside".

The Turpins filed for bankruptcy that same year, stating in court documents that they owed between $100,000 and $500,000.

And each time, everybody was beaming as the Turpin family stood together on a stage adorned with fake Greek columns.

Kimberly Milligan, 50, who lives across the street from the family, said she only saw the infant in the mother's arms and three other children since she moved in across the street two years ago, describing them as small and pale.

Investigators said they had had no previous contacts with the couple, David and Louise Turpin. "There's no words", Teresa Robinette said. At that time, Turpin worked as an engineer at the Northrop Grumman aerospace company and earned $140,000 annually and his wife was a homemaker, records showed.

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