PERRIS (CBSLA) — A Perris couple was arrested and booked on torture and child endangerment charges after their 17-year-old daughter escaped from their home early Sunday morning and informed deputies that 12 of her siblings were being held captive by her parents, according to authorities.
After meeting with the daughter, deputies arrived at the family’s residence in the 100 block of Muir Woods Road in Perris.
Investigators found 57-year-old David Allen Turpin and 49-year-old Louise Anna Turpin were, in fact, keeping 13 children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks, authorities said.
The children, ranging between the ages of 2 to 29, were so malnourished that upon their initial arrival, deputies believed the adults to be children.
According to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, all 13 victims were transported to the Perris Station and interviewed by detectives. After claiming to be starving, the victims were provided with food and drinks.
Neighbors were shocked at the horrific revelation Monday, saying the children rarely were seen outside their home.
They’re trying to figure out how they missed signs this was happening right in their neighborhood.
Some nearby residents told CBS2 News they saw some of the children picking up trash around their home, and at one point even digging for food in the garbage bins.
“Nonchalant, looked like they were having fun like a regular family,” neighbor Nicole Gooding told CBS2.
Others said the children were shy and pale, but that they did not seem to be in poor health.
According to the California Department of Education, the home was registered as a private school called Sandcastle Day School. David Turpin was listed as the principal.
The six children were then transported to the Riverside University Hospital System and admitted for treatment, whereas the seven adult children were taken to Corona Regional Medical Center.
Following the investigation, the parents were detained and transported to the station for further investigation, after which they were taken to Robert Presley Detention Center.
David and Louise Turpin were then booked for torture and child endangerment with a bail set at $9 million each.
The couple seemed to enjoy renewing their wedding vows, eventually doing so with a Las Vegas Elvis impersonator who said he did not see anything out of the ordinary when the family came through the chapel.
“The family kept growing, so I figured in a couple more years I’d see them again, and then I hear the news today,” said Kent Ripley. “It’s hard to believe that.”
According to legal documents obtained by CBS2, the couple lived in Murrieta just a few years ago and declared bankruptcy.
The bankruptcy filing indicates David Turpin worked as an engineer for Northrop Grumman in San Diego.
The couple’s Facebook page was linked to several others with the surname “Turpin,” including Randy Turpin. He is listed as the principal of Valor College, a Pentecostal school in Cleveland, Ohio. Turpin’s page was taken down shortly after CBS2 attempted to obtain more information, and a request for comment received no reply.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department has scheduled a press conference for Tuesday.