Couple accused of torturing children faces up to 94 years to life in prison

PERRIS, Calif. -- A Perris couple accused of torturing their 13 malnourished adult and juvenile children face up to 94 years to life in prison if convicted of a number of charges, authorities announced Thursday.

Among the charges filed against the Perris, California, couple are 12 counts of torture, seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult, six counts of child abuse and 12 counts of false imprisonment. A charge was also filed against father David Allen Turpin of one count of a lewd act on a child by force, fear or duress, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin announced at a morning press conference.

Hestrin said the charges range from the year 2010 to the present, all alleged to have occurred in Murrieta and Perris in Riverside County. If convicted of all charges, the defendants are facing up to 94 years to life in prison.

The torture and false imprisonment charges do not include the 2-year-old, Hestrin said.

Watch the full press conference below:

Hestrin revealed a number of alarming details about the siblings' abuse at the Perris home, now dubbed the "house of horrors."

A 17-year-old daughter who climbed out a window of the home and called 911 on a cell phone on Sunday had plotted her escape for two years, he said. A sister escaped with her but turned back over fear she would get caught.

Hestrin said all 13 victims were severely malnourished and as a result, some have cognitive impairment and a lack of basic knowledge. He said a 29-year-old daughter weighed 82 pounds.

The victims were not allowed to shower more than once a year, he said.

All victims, ranging in age from 2 to 29, were found shackled to their beds amid foul conditions in the house in the 100 block of Muir Woods Road after the unidentified 17-year-old got a hold of law enforcement.

She told authorities she and her other siblings were held captive by their parents. When authorities arrived to help her, they thought the girl was only 10 years old because of how emaciated she looked.

At first, Riverside County sheriff's deputies thought they found 12 children inside the home but discovered that seven of them were adults ranging in age from 18 to 29.

The family at one point also lived in Fort Worth, Texas, and when the Turpins were foreclosed on, the new owners said they found the carpets soiled, windows broken and boarded up, and scratches on the inside of the doors.
At the time, those owners thought the marks might have been from pets, but now aren't sure.

Elizabeth Flores, sister of Louise Turpin, spoke to "Good Morning America" in an emotional interview and said she was shocked to hear about the abuse.

She said the Turpins were always private. She said once her father wanted to fly out to see them, but Louise Turpin turned him away.

The Riverside University Health Center Foundation set up a fund to accept donations and the chamber of commerce created a page listing clothing sizes and items needed for the victims. You can access the page by clicking here.
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