Couple plead not guilty to torture of children


During this time they were beaten, shackled to their beds, starved for days and even taunted with food that they were not allowed to eat, a prosecutor said according to Reuters.

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 February 23.

"They are the sweetest family", she said.

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.

Investigators are still examining the couple's finances, but David Turpin had worked as an engineer for both Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. Louise Turpin identified herself as a housewife in a 2011 bankruptcy filing. The couple has since renewed their vows multiple times, including recently by an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas. All of the children are reportedly being treated for severe malnutrition at local hospitals and doctors are anxious they could go into shock.

Authorities are preparing to charge David and Louise Turpin, 57 and 49 respectively, with a number of counts of torture and child endangerment, having arrested them in the raid on Sunday. Seven of them are adults. He described them as small and clearly malnourished. The oldest child, a 29-year-old woman, weighed 82 pounds.

But two 1-year-old puppies in the home were found in remarkably good condition.

Prosecutors revealed that the children - aged 2 to 29 - were held captive with ropes and chains and severely malnourished.

Similarly, the children were not allowed to play with toys, though many were found throughout the house - in their original packaging.

Louise Anne Turpin and David Allen Turpin were each being held on bail of $12 million
Louise Anne Turpin and David Allen Turpin were each being held on bail of $12 million

The Turpin family's dogs were found in good health, the abusive couple apparently looking after the pets while abusing their children. One of the older boys, however, attended classes at a nearby college, but according to local District Attorney Mike Hestrin, the boy's mother would drive him, stay in the hallway during class, and promptly take him home afterwards.

Some of the children would be chained for weeks or months at a time and wouldn't be freed to use the bathroom, he said.

- CBC News Alerts (@CBCAlerts) January 18, 2018Other punishments including beatings, strangulation. They were allowed one rationed meal a day and a shower just once a year, Hestrin said. Photos of chained siblings.

While the children were deprived of food, the Turpin parents ate well and even tormented the children by putting apple and pumpkin pies on the kitchen counter, but not letting them have any, Hestrin said.

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A neighbour named Jose Mercado was trying to reconcile the horror - the Perris chief of police called it an act of "torture" - with his experience of a quiet community where the surrounding blocks bustle with hundreds of young trick-or-treaters during Halloween and residents proudly compete over the best Christmas lights display. Neighbors said they were not close with the Turpins and rarely remembered seeing all the children at once. "We never had to make them go to church".

The Andersons thought the wear-and-tear inside the home came from animals, but suspect that after hearing about the allegations against the Turpins that the former homeowners allegedly abused their kids for years before their move to California. Some of the victims' growth was so stunted, they looked younger than their ages, according to officials.

David and Louise Turpin owned property or had lived in Rio Vista and Fort Worth, and left the area in 2010, records state. In the 2016-17 school year, it had an enrollment of six - all his children.

Dog bowls seen in exterior photographs taken of the Turpin family home in Perris, California.

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