California couple accused of torturing children face new charges

By Danielle Haynes  |  Feb. 23, 2018 at 8:17 PM
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Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Prosecutors in Riverside, Calif., filed new charges Friday against David Turpin and Louise Turpin, a couple accused of torturing and imprisoning all but one of their 13 children.

The couple each face three additional counts of abuse and Louise Turpin faces one new count of felony assault.

The original indictment charged each with 12 counts of torture, seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult, six counts of child abuse and 12 counts of false imprisonment. Prosecutors also charged David Turpin with one count of a lewd act on a child by force, fear or duress.

The Turpin re-entered a not-guilty plea Friday.

The 17-year-old daughter of the couple tipped off police about the alleged abuse in January when she escaped the house and called 911 on a deactivated cellphone. Law enforcement officials said they searched the Turpin home and found "several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings.

All 13 siblings "appeared to be malnourished and very dirty," and some had cognitive impairment and lacked basic knowledge, police said. Officers initially thought all of the siblings were minors because of their small size.

The 13 siblings include seven adults and six juveniles ranging in age from 2 to 29 years old. Police have not charged the Turpins with abusing the youngest child.

A Riverside County judge issued a protective order last month to prevent the Turpin from talking to or being within 100 yards of their children until 2021.

More than a month after their parents' arrest, the siblings were undergoing treatment at multiple hospitals, the adults separated from the children. Corona Mayor Karen Spiegel told ABC News the siblings are learning how to make decisions for themselves and are getting the medical care they need.

They're "starting to make plans for their future," she said. "Their minds are just being opened [to] having a choice and not being so controlled."

Spiegel said the siblings had not been to a doctor in more than four years and none had ever visited a dentist.

Some "didn't really know what a toothbrush was used for," she said.

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