David and Louise Turpin pleaded guilty before Riverside County Superior Court on Friday to a list of grotesque crimes, including torturing their 13 children.
The Turpins were charged with 14 counts of abuse and torture over the course of the lives of their 13 children. The children ranged from 2 years old to 29, all of them held captive by their parents. According to Fox News, “Some of the children had stunted growth and wasted muscles and described being beaten, starved and put in cages.”
It was their 17-year-old daughter who finally saved herself and her siblings with a 911 call made after she escaped the filthy, hellish home. In the recorded call, she said some of her younger siblings were chained to their bed. “They will wake up at night and they will start crying, and they wanted me to call somebody,” she said on the call. “I wanted to call y’all, so y’all can help my sisters.”
The 11-year-old girl, whose arms were the size of an infant’s arms, suffered severe malnutrition and muscle wasting.
The 17-year-old did not know her home address, and her siblings were seemingly confused by the appearance of police officers. They had rarely even been allowed to go outside and were locked in their rooms except to eat meager meals and use the bathroom.
An 11- and 14-year-old girl had been recently unshackled when authorities arrived, but their 22-year-old brother was still in chains. He described a life of being bound with ropes and shackles of increasing weight throughout his life. All of the children were falsely reported as being homeschooled. The children were chained because their parents suspected they stole food and were being somehow disrespectful.
Nevertheless, the children’s spirits remained unbroken. “I was very taken by their optimism, by their hope for the future, for their future,” Riverside District Attorney Mike Hestrin said. “They have a zest for life and huge smiles and I am optimistic for them and I think that’s how they feel about their future.”
The children will finally be given the opportunity to speak during sentencing.