House of terror victims speak out as parents sentenced to life of prison

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David and Louise Turpin, the California parents who beat, starved and held 12 of their children captive inside their home, were sentenced Friday to life in prisonThe husband and wife pleaded guilty in February to 14 counts each of torture, dependent adult abuse, child endangerment and false imprisonment. During their sentencing, both cried and wiped away tears as some of their children addressed the courtroom. The judge ruled the couple will be eligible for parole after 25 years.

“I love both of my parents so much,” said one child in words read by her brother.

“Although it may not have been the best way of raising us, I am glad that they did because it made me the person I am today.”

“My parents took my whole life from me, now I’m taking my life back,” one of the couple’s daughters said. “Life may have been bad, but it made me strong. I saw my dad change my mom, they almost changed me. I’m a fighter, I’m strong.”

“I’m sorry for everything I’ve done to hurt my children,” Louise Turpin said, adding she believes God has a special plan for each of them. “I love them more than they could ever imagine. Jane Doe Number 4 sobbed softly, wiping her tears. At one point, she reached out to pet Raider, a police dog brought in to provide emotional support to traumatized victims and court witnesses. John Doe Number 2 looked slightly downward. David Turpin broke down in tears as he tried to address the court. His attorney read the beginning of his statement, in which the father expressed hope for his children’s success and said he hopes they remain close because their mother and father will not be with them.

Tied up and shackled to beds

When the Turpin children were found in their Perris home in January 2018, they ranged from ages 2 to 29. But some of the adults were so malnourished, they looked like young teenagers. None of them had seen a doctor in more than four years, and none of them had ever visited a dentist. The children were often tied up for “weeks or even months at a time,” Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said last year. The victims told investigators that being tied with ropes was initially a form of punishment. But when one victim escaped, the parents started using chains and padlocks to shackle some of the children to beds.

A daring escape

If not for the bravery of a 17-year-old girl, her imprisoned siblings might have never been found. The teen had planned her escape for more than two years. She grabbed a deactivated cellphone found in the house and fled through a window before she called police. The bold getaway led to the discovery of her siblings and uncovered one of the “worst, most aggravated child abuse cases I have ever seen,” Hestrin said.

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