The Story Of 13 Siblings Found Chained Up In Their House Is Almost Too Hard To Read

Lauren Freeman

Journalist

Last week, the police freed 13 children from captivity in Perris, California. The emaciated kids where found chained to their beds, thirsty and malnourished. Their ages ranged from 2 to 29, with 7 of them being over 18 years old and six of them being just children. It's unknown for how long had the children been padlocked and chain before the police was alerted by the 17-year-old girl who escaped the home.

The police arrested their parents David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49. They are charged with torture and child endangerment, held on a $9 million bail. The couple had filed for bankruptcy back in 2011 and were up to $500,000. However, David Turpin was earning $140,000 a year as an engineer Northrop Grumman at the time - he had previously left work at Lockheed Martin.

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The family likely moved to California from Texas in 2010. Their home is also the address of the Sandcastle Day School: - a private school David Turpin registered in 2014-15 to home-school six of his children. It had enrolled six students for the 2016-17 school: one each in the fifth, sixth, eighth, ninth, 10th and 12th grades.

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David Turpin's parents, James and Betty Turpin, spoke to the press and said that they were shocked. They hadn't visited the family for five years, though they had spoken on the phone. The family was described as very religious; they had so many children because "God called on them" to do so. The homeschooling involved memorizing long passages of the Bible and even attempts to memorize the entire book.

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The couple did live a vibrant life as shown on Facebook. They had at least three marriage-renewal ceremonies in Las Vegas, officiated by an Elvis impersonator. The kids were present to pose for photos in 2015, dressed in matching outfits. The last public images that appeared on the Facebook page were posted in July 2016.

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"They were on their knees, four little kids, and they were just rolling on the grass. It was odd at that time of night," neighbor Wendy Martinez, 41, told the press of the time she saw the children in October. "Their mother was in the archway, I just remember the mother in the archway, and I said, hi. There was like no movement, not even to look over to see who's saying hi, like if they were told not to speak to anybody."

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