Parents of 13 siblings found beaten and shackled plead not guilty

Police find 12 people held captive in California home after teen escapes

"A case like that sticks with you and haunts you", Hestrin told reporters.

The Turpin siblings, seven adults and six children, likely need years of therapy, psychological experts said, adding that if possible it would be best to keep them together. According to the Riverside County Sheriff's department, the individuals were "shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings".

The "depraved" details were shared in a press conference led by Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin today.

The abuse began in Texas with the children being tied to beds with ropes and then hog-tied, Hestrin said. They were also forbidden from showering a few times a year.

The children were tethered to beds with chains and padlocks as punishment and allowed to do little but write in journals, authorities said.

The victims weren't released from their chains even to go to the bathroom, Hestrin said.

And though the parents had reportedly registered their home as a private school with the state's Department of Education, the children "lack a basic knowledge of life", Hestrin said. "One of the reasons for the punishment were if the children were found to wash their hands above the wrist area, they would be accused of playing in the water and they would be chained up".

Reached by telephone Wednesday at the West Virginia home of David Turpin's parents, his mother, Betty Turpin, said she was busy preparing paperwork and entering information into a computer to help her son.

While the children were deprived of food, the Turpin parents ate well and even tormented the children by putting apple and pumpkin pies on the kitchen counter, but not letting them have any, Hestrin said. Police officers were notified on Sunday, January 14, when one of the children jumped out of a window and called 911 from a deactivated cell phone [VIDEO] she had found inside the house. They lived mostly at night, out of sight of neighbors, and knew virtually nothing of the outside world.

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When the 17-year-old was asked if there was medication or pills in the home, she did not know what medication or pills were.

Prosecutors hope to learn more about the lives of these children from one of the few privileges Hestrin said they were allowed: their journals. "We begged to see them". But that sibling grew frightened and returned home, Hestrin said.

At least one of the older male victims attended classes, and Louise Turpin waited outside class for him, Hestrin said.

David Allen Turpin, accused of holding their 13 children captive, appears in court for arraignment on January 18, 2018 in Riverside, California.

The abuse began when the family resided in Fort Worth, Texas - where the children lived apart from their parents, who dropped off food for them.

Police were first alerted to the crimes at the Turpin residence when one of the siblings managed to escape from the house. Responding officers said the teen was slightly emaciated and "appeared to be only 10 years old".

The Turpins have 13 children between two and 29 years old. She took another sibling with her, who eventually got scared and turned back.

Mr Hestrin said several of the children had cognitive impairment and "neuropathy" - nerve damage as a result of extreme and prolonged physical abuse.

The victims, ages 2 to 29, were severely malnourished, suffering from muscle wasting and stunted growth. A 12-year-old was the weight of a typical 7-year-old. The adults were taken to the Corona Regional Medical Center for medical treatment as well.

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