The California parents who pleaded guilty to torturing and starving 12 of their children were sentenced to life in prison on Friday.
Police arrested David and Louise Turpin, 57 and 50, in January of 2018 after authorities learned the shocking details of abuse that went on inside their home, NBC News reported.
Those details came to light after 911 operators received a phone call from a 17-year-old girl who claimed she had escaped from a house of horrors in which her parents were holding her and her siblings captive. Officers responding to the call thought the girl was much younger because she was so emaciated.
She claimed she was one of 13 children being held in Perris, California, which about 60 miles outside of Los Angeles.
When authorities went to investigate the home, they found the rest of the children, ranging in age from 2-years-old to 29-years-old, being held in “dark and foul-smelling surroundings,” NBC reported.
Some of the children were chained to their beds or other furniture. The adult children looked like adolescents because they were so malnourished. Some had not seen a doctor in four years and none of them had ever been to a dentist, CNN reported.
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) April 19, 2019
On Friday, prosecutors said the children were allowed to eat one rationed meal a day and shower once a year. They were forced to spend most of their time in the home, and were only allowed out on a few occasions when the family would take family trips.
The children were supposedly home-schooled, but learning was limited, KCOP reported. The oldest daughter had a third grade education and the 17-year-old said she never made it past the first grade.
Before Judge Bernard Schwartz sentenced the parents, he told them that children were “a gift,” not only to parents, but society, because of their potential.
“The selfish, cruel and inhuman treatment of your own children has deprived them, your family, your friends and society — and especially both of you — of those gifts,” he said.
“Their lives have been permanently altered, and their ability to learn, grow and thrive. To the extent that they do thrive… it will be not because of you both, but in spite of you both,” he added.
Schwartz ruled the couple would be eligible for parole after spending 25 years in prison.
The Turpins reportedly cried during their sentencing and said they loved their children and never meant to hurt them.
Some of the children told the court Friday they loved their parents and forgave them.