California, USA (BBN)-The siblings found chained to their beds in their family home begged police for food after they were rescued following a daring escape by their brave sister, it has been revealed.
The thirteen brothers and sisters – including the 17-year-old girl who fled the home and alerted cops – were all desperately malnourished and pleaded with officers for food and water after they were freed, police say, reported daily mail.
The family, from Perris, California, was found by police from Riverside County Sheriff’s Department on Sunday morning. It is not known how long they were chained, padlocked and shackled before they were discovered.
They were only freed after their sister broke out of the home, grabbed a cell phone and called 911, leading police to arrest their parents David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise
Anna Turpin, 49, before charging them with torture and child endangerment.
It has now been revealed that their parents filed for bankruptcy back in 2011 and were up to $500,000 in debt, despite David Turpin earning $140,000 a year as an engineer for a top defense contractor.
The siblings, aged from two to 29 years old, were immediately taken to hospital after they were saved from the ‘foul-smelling’ room on Sunday morning.
‘The victims appeared to be malnourished and very dirty. Perris Station Detectives were dispatched to the residence for further investigation,’ police said.
‘Child Protective Services (CPS) and Adult Protective Services (APS) arrived to assist in the investigation. The victims were provided with food and beverages after they claimed to be starving.’
The Turpin, who recently renewed their wedding vows in an Elvis wedding in Las Vegas and loved taking their family to Disneyland, were between $100,000 and $500,000 in debt when they filed for bankruptcy in 2011, the New York Times reported.
David Turpin was earning a $140,000 salary at the time at defense firm Northrop Grumman while his wife was stay-at-home mom. He previously worked for Lockheed Martin but left the job in 2011, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Their bankruptcy lawyer, Ivan Trahan, told the New York Times that the couple often spoke fondly of their children but he never saw them.
‘They spoke about them highly,’ Trahan said. ‘We remember them as very nice couple. This is shocking.’
Neighbors said they family were unusual and reclusive, with some saying they did not even know children lived in the home.
Neighbors told the Press-Enterprise they were horrified to learn of the allegations.
Andrew Santillan, who lives nearby said: ‘I didn’t know there were kids in the house. I had no idea this was going on.’
Zinzi and Ricardo Ross live on the same road as the Turpins.
‘It’s very shocking. Very devastating,’ Ross said.
‘It’s crazy, I can’t believe this is going on,’ Ross added.
But Andria Valdez said she had seen the children before, joking that they were like the vampire family in the Twilight books and films because they were ‘really, really pale’ and ‘only came out at night’.
Another local said the children were seen building a Nativity scene in the front yard of their home a few years ago, but were ‘weird about it’ when complimented on their work.
Kimberly Milligan, 50, told the Los Angeles Times that the young children she saw leaving the house looked pale and were very quiet.
‘They looked at us like a child who wants to make they invisible,’ she said.
‘We’re not acres apart. How did no one see anything?’
State records appear to suggest David Turpin home-schooled his six children at their address, calling it Sandcastle Day School.
David Turpin’s parents, James and Betty Turpin, told ABC News they were ‘surprised and shocked’ at the news.
The couple, who live in West Virginia, said they had not visited the family for four or five years but had spoken to them on the phone, although not with their grandchildren.