Neighbors Shocked After Learning Family Held Kids Captive

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Neighbors to a family in Perris, Calif., were shocked to learn the parents held their children captive.

Authorities discovered Sunday that David, 57, and Louise Turpin, 49, enslaved their 13 children, aged two to 29 years old, inside the California home.

Police found some of the children shackled to beds in a “foul-smelling room” after one of the daughters, aged 17, escaped and called authorities on a cell phone she found in the home. Some of the neighbors didn’t even know children lived in the home, according to a Tuesday Daily Mail report.

“It was about 9 p.m. at night and we came around right here and at the gate, we saw four children inside,” housewife Wendy Martinez, 41, who lives behind the property, told the Daily Mail of an incident less than two months ago. Martinez claims there were four “very thin and very albino” children rolling around in the grass at nighttime. She claims the mother, standing in the archway, did not respond when she said “hi.”

Neighbor Michelle Walls, 47, claims she did not even know there were children living there. “You would think you would have heard them,” she said. “In our neighborhood, kids are usually out playing, shooting hoops. Going to the park.”

David’s parents, James and Betty Turpin, who live in West Virginia, claim that they have not seen the family in four or five years.

“They all dressed alike when they went out,” Betty told CNN. Betty claims that, for protective reasons, the parents would line up their children according to age when they went out in public. Each parent would take a position at the front and back of the line.


The Turpins were arrested Sunday on nine counts of torture and 10 counts of child endangerment.

The children were found malnourished, dirty and are currently hospitalized. The victims were given food and drinks and they will be put into Child Protective Services and Adult Protective Services following their release from the hospital.

David is listed on the California Department of Education’s website as the principle for a private school called the Sandcastle Day School, operated out of his home. State records also indicate the family homeschooled their children.

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