California court sentences parents who kept their children in captivity

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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Yesterday in California's Riverside County criminal court, Judge Bernard Schwartz sentenced David and Louise Turpin to life in prison for torturing all but the youngest of their thirteen children.

Louise Turpin
David Turpin

Image: State of California.

As revealed at trial, the Turpins had kept their children indoors for years and rarely allowed them outside the family home, located 70 miles (112 km) south of Los Angeles. The children were banned from washing more often than once a year and could not use the toilet. They were severely malnourished, to the point that some of those who are now adults were initially mistaken for children. The oldest of the Turpin's offspring, age 29, weighed 82 pounds (37 kg). Another brother, 22, was still chained to a bed when found. None of the twelve had ever received any sort of dental care.

The judge presiding over the case, Bernard Schwartz, said, "You have severed the ability to interact and raise your children that you have created and brought into this world." Schwartz went on to say he was not giving them the longest possible sentence because they had "accepted responsibility at an early stage in the proceeding" by pleading guilty to fourteen felony charges each and "spared your children having to relive the humiliation and the harm they endured in that house of horrors."

Specifically, both parents faced twelve counts of torture and false imprisonment, nine counts of child abuse, and seven counts of cruelty to a dependent adult. David Turpin, alone, was also charged with making false statements for the purpose of obtaining a home schooling license.

The father said "I love my children and I believe my children love me."

The mother said "I really look forward to the day I can see them, hug them and tell them I'm sorry."

One of the children said, "Sometimes I still have nightmares of things that had happened such as my siblings being chained up or getting beaten." However, this person also said that they still love their parents and had partially forgiven them.

One of them even went as far to say, "Although it may not have been the best way of raising us, I am glad that they did because it made me the person I am today."

The two parents were arrested in January of last year after one of their daughters, aged 17, escaped and phoned 911 (the emergency telephone number in the United States). She did not know what address her house was or know the date and said some of her siblings were chained into their beds.

The Turpins are scheduled to be eligible for parole in 25 years.

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