The Latest: Neighbors grapple with reports of child torture

The Associated Press

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on the torture and abuse case against the parents of 13 children and young adults in California (all times local):

7:30 p.m.

Neighbors of a Southern California couple who authorities say starved, and tortured their 13 children for years are trying to grapple with the revelations.

Josh Tiedeman-Bell fought back tears Thursday as he talked of occasionally seeing some of the children and having no clue of what they were enduring.

As he puts it: “We were all like a part of their nightmare.”

David and Louise Turpin pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges that could send them to prison for life. They were arrested after a 17-year-old girl crawled out of a window of her Perris home and called 911.

Sharon Ontiveros stopped by the house with her 3-year-old granddaughter, who left a stuffed animal on the walkway.

Ontiveros says no one knew what was happening behind closed doors. She says of the parents: “They deserve no mercy.”


2 p.m.

The parents of 13 children and young adults have pleaded not guilty in a California court to numerous charges that they tortured and abused the siblings for years.

David and Louise Turpin were each ordered held on $12 million bail after entering their pleas Thursday and were scheduled to return to court on Feb. 23.

Earlier, the district attorney detailed allegations that the couple beat their children, chained them up as punishment and fed them very little.

Authorities say the siblings are malnourished and undersized, with cognitive impairment and other problems.


12:50 p.m.

The father of the man accused by California authorities of abusing his 13 children says he doesn’t believe reports that his son and his son’s wife chained their children for long periods and let them shower only once a year.

James Turpin of Princeton, West Virginia, told The Associated Press he’s going to talk to his son’s children to “find out the real story” as soon as he can get a call through to them.

Prosecutors in Riverside County, California, on Thursday alleged David Turpin and his wife, Louise, committed years of torture and abuse.

District Attorney Mike Hestrin said the victims were severely malnourished, have cognitive impairment and lack basic knowledge of life.


11:15 a.m.

Prosecutors say 13 malnourished children found in captivity in California were chained as punishment and a 17-year-old plotted her escape for two years.

Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said Thursday that another sibling escaped with the 17-year-old over the weekend but turned back out of fear.

Hestrin says all 13 victims were severely malnourished and as a result some have cognitive impairment and a lack of basic knowledge of life. He says a 29-year-old female victim weight 82 pounds.

Hestrin says none of the victims were allowed to shower more than once a year.

Fifty-seven-year-old David Allen Turpin and 49-year-old Louise Anna Turpin have been charged with torture and abuse.


11 a.m.

The parents of 13 malnourished children found in alleged captivity in Southern California have been charged with committing years of torture and abuse and could face up to life in prison.

Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin announced the charges against 57-year-old David Allen Turpin and 49-year-old Louise Anna Turpin at a press conference Thursday.

The two are scheduled to make their first court appearance later in the day.

Authorities say the situation came to light early Sunday when a 17-year-old daughter climbed out a window of their home, called 911 and showed deputies photos that substantiated her story. Deputies found some of the children chained to furniture when they entered.


11:29 p.m.

The grandparents of 13 starved and tortured children say their son’s family looked happy and healthy when they last visited California six years ago.

Betty and James Turpin of Princeton, West Virginia say they were in shock when they learned of the arrest of their son David Turpin and his wife, Louise Turpin this week.

They told the Southern California News Group that their grandchildren all called each other “sweetie” when they visited their home in Murrieta, California six years ago, and none of them appeared malnourished.

Betty Turpin says her son told her he had so many kids because God wanted him to. She says her son shared her Pentecostal Christian faith but he wasn’t affiliated with a church in California.

David and Louise Turpin are expected to make their first court appearance on Thursday.


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