California ‘House of Horrors’: 13 Siblings Were Beaten, Tortured, Allowed Only One Shower a Year

Taylor Swaak

The 13 siblings who were held captive by their parents and routinely beaten and strangled in a Perris, California, home were allowed to shower only once a year.

Their parents, David Turpin, 56, and his wife Louise Turpin, 49, who were arrested Sunday, would bring foods such as pies home, only to ban the children from consuming them. They never saw a dentist and hadn't been to the doctor in four years.

The children had even plotted to escape their horrific conditions—two years before one of them, a 17-year-old, snuck out of a window and called 911 to finally bring an end to their nightmare.

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Those revelations came from prosecutors on Thursday as the parents received a slew of charges, including 12 counts of torture, six counts of child abuse and 12 counts false imprisonment. They stand to receive up to 94 years to life in prison if convicted.

“What started out as neglect became severe, pervasive, prolonged child abuse,” Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said at a Thursday news conference, noting that the abuse lasted at least seven years.


A police car parks in front of the house on Muir Woods Road where authorities rescued 13 malnourished children who'd been held captive by their parents in Perris, California on January 16, 2018. FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

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The couple were initially charged with torture and child endangerment—with bail set at $9 million each—after being interviewed by police. Officials responding to the scene on Sunday had found the siblings malnourished and dirty, with some shackled to beds with chains and padlocks. 

Six of the 13 children, who are aged 2 to 29-years-old, were enrolled in the home's "Sandcastle Day School."

Officials maintained that law enforcement and Child Protective Services had not visited the home in the past. Assemblyman Jose Medina, a local Democrat, said Wednesday that he's considering introducing legislation that would mandate state officials to conduct at least an annual walkthrough of home schools.

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"I am extremely concerned about the lack of oversight the state of California currently has in monitoring private and home schools," he told the Associated Press.

There were more than 3,000 private schools registered with the California education department in September 2017. California is one of 15 states that requires parents involved in home-schooling to register with the state. 

The seven Turpin adults are receiving treatment at Corona Regional Medical Center in Corona, and the six children are at Riverside University Health System Medical Center in Moreno Valley. Afterward, Child Protective Services will ask the court for approval to care for them and intends to find guardians, according to ABC News.

This article was first written by Newsweek

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