Parents Arrested After 13 Starving Siblings Found Shackled: 7 Emaciated Adult Children Looked Like Young Kids

David Allen and Louise Anna Turpin allegedly held their 13 children captive, ages 2 to 29 until one escaped to call 911.

David and Louise Turbin
Riverside County Sheriff's Department / AP Images

David Allen and Louise Anna Turpin allegedly held their 13 children captive, ages 2 to 29 until one escaped to call 911.

Police in California discovered a “house of horrors” where 13 siblings were reportedly being held captive by their parents in what police are calling a “shocking” discovery in very “foul-smelling” and “dark” house. The home was riddled with padlocks and chains that were used to keep their offspring captive, with many of the siblings found chained to their beds. The parents were arrested on charges of torture and child endangerment as their children, who ranged in age from 2 to 29, were rescued from their Perris, California, nightmare.

One of the girls escaped with a cell phone she found in the house and called 911 for help. When police arrived she appeared to be about 10-years-old but was actually 17 and looking younger due to being so emaciated. Police arrested the parents at the house, which is in Perris, a town about 60 miles southeast of Los Angeles. They were identified as David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, reports BBC News.

According to Fox & Friends on Tuesday morning, the parents cannot give police an answer as to why they have done this to their children. Their bail has been set at $9 million each. While the children have all been hospitalized, the parents will face a judge in court on Thursday, according to Fox & Friends.

What “Horrors” Did Police Find Inside That House?

The parents supposedly kept their 13 children shackled and chained with padlocks inside this home and looking so pale that it is apparent they have rarely seen the outside light. According to Fox & Friends, the siblings consist of mostly female children, who are all small in stature and possibly suffering from malnutrition. The children were so emaciated and pale that they all looked young, even though half of them are legally adults over 18-years-old. Police believed they were dealing with all young siblings because of the way they appeared but were shocked when learning that more than half of the kids were indeed adult children of this couple.

According to the BBC News, police officers were “shocked” when learning that seven of the children they rescued from these horrific surroundings were actually adults between the ages of 18 and 29-years-old. The siblings were filthy when they were found, according to Fox & Friends.

Police described the siblings.

“The victims appeared to be malnourished and very dirty.”

All 13 siblings appeared emaciated and were admitted to area hospitals for evaluation and treatment.

This is a “smart suburban home” when looking at the outside of the property; it appears it was kept neat with nothing to indicate it was any different from the other homes on the street, all which were built very close together. This brings up the question as to how the neighbors didn’t know about the horrors going on inside the house next door, across the street, or a few houses over from them.

What Did The Neighbors See?

Fox & Friends said on their Tuesday morning show that some of the kids in the neighborhood thought the family resembled the vampires from the Twilight movie series because they were all so pale. Neighbors said the kids were pale and looked like they barely saw sunlight, which was an observation made during one of the rare occasions the children were seen outside.

The BBC suggests that there will be a lot of “soul-searching” among the people in that neighborhood after living so close to an “enormous dark secret” hidden inside a house. It is a house where 13 siblings endured being allegedly shackled and tortured, which is indicated in police reports.

One neighbor spoke with reporters about the Turbin family and said how they “were the type that you didn’t really get to know anything about them.”

The neighbor continued.

“You would never see them on a visit, you would never see anyone come outside. All you would really see is that they go out and maybe do a grocery round. And that was about it.”

Where Are The Children’s Grandparents?

Police have no answers yet as to why the parents allegedly did this to their family or for how long this has gone on. David Allen Turpin’s parents, who are the grandparents of the 13 siblings, have not seen the family for about five years. The grandparents, James and Betty Turpin, told police that the couple had so many children because they believed that “God called on them” to do so.

What Is The Family’s History?

The Turpin couple and their 13 kids moved to California from Texas in 2010. David Allen Turpin has claimed bankruptcy twice and the second time that he did so he was gainfully employed in a “relatively high-paying” job. He was an engineer at an aeronautics and defense technology company at the time.

What About Children’s Education?

The children were listed as being homeschooled at the Sandcastle Day School, which was operated out of the house where the children were being kept captive. The same address is listed as a private school, according to the California Department of Education website. David Allen Turpin is listed as the principal of that school.

The school was reportedly opened in 2011 with six pupils listed, who were all attending different grades of education. California has no authority over the education doled out in private schools. Even the teachers do not need a valid state teaching qualification.

The investigation is on today with so many unanswered questions about this family and how this reported horrendous treatment of 13 siblings could go on without anybody noticing.