California 'house of horrors' shines spotlight on home schooling

22 January, 2018, 01:37 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • David and Louise Turpin with an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas in 2011

"She used to say how the would be ideal for TV and would often mention they would be bigger than reality show Kate Plus 8".

Coleman said her group, which advocates for responsible home schooling, wants a requirement that home-schooled children in California have some sort of annual assessment by a mandated reporter so that abuse or neglect can more easily be identified.

Authorities don't know where the children may end up at this point, said Hestrin, the district attorney.

They were allegedly punished when they washed their hands above their wrists, and beaten regularly, according to the prosecutor. Their parents would also buy them new toys but never let them take the toys out of the box. Authorities said they started chaining the kids to furniture after one had previously tried to escape.

"Circumstantial evidence in the house suggests that the victims were often not released from their chains to go to the bathroom", he said.

The dogs were seized by authorities who raided the home after a 17-year-old girl escaped and alerted police to the situation inside.

Austria has seen two high profile kidnaps - Elisabeth Fritzl was imprisoned and raped over a period of 24 years by her father Josef while Natascha Kampusch was held for eight years by Wolfgang Priklopil before her 2006 escape. David and Louise Turpin are accused of starving and shackling their 13 adult and juvenile children to their beds, sometimes for months. When officials rescued the kids, all but the baby showed severe signs of malnutrition, including stunted growth. "The victims appeared to be malnourished and very dirty".

As a result of malnourishment, the 12-year-old child was the weight of an average 7-year-old while the oldest, a 29-year-old woman, weighed just 82 pounds, he said. "Pretty normal house, they have nice cars".

According to NBC News, Louise Anna Turpin fled home at 16 to marry David.

Senior animal control officer, Christina Avila, said the one-year-old females - one white and one black - appear to be leash-trained.

Captain Fellows said the investigation had so far found no indication of sexual abuse, but that the conditions amounted to torture.

These include 12 counts of torture, 12 counts of false imprisonment, seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult and six counts of child abuse. David Turpin is also being charged with one count of lewd act on a child. He and his wife have both pleaded not guilty and are now being held on bail of $13 million each.

They are scheduled to return to court in late February.

If convicted of all charges, they face a maximum sentence of between 94 years and life in prison. "Our clients are presumed to be innocent, and that is a very important presumption".

As the criminal case proceeds, the future of the children will likely be decided in another courtroom. Meantime, Child Protective Services has been receiving calls from people around the world who want to help the victims financially.

Mark Reinecke, who is chief of psychology at Northwestern Medicine and specializes in treating children, said "there are individual differences in how people respond to unsafe situations". Foster care parents could end up being the adoptive parents. While describing the case Thursday, prosecutors revealed the Turpin children's only freedom was writing in journals. They were later transported to hospitals for treatment. "We were all like a part of their nightmare", he said, fighting back tears.



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