RIVERSIDE, Calif. (FOX 11) - A California couple who shackled some of their 13 children to beds and starved them pleaded guilty Friday to torture and other abuse in a case dubbed a “house of horrors.”
David and Louise Turpin pleaded guilty Friday in Riverside County Superior Court to 14 counts that included abusing minor and adult children and imprisoning them in their house that appeared to be neatly kept from the outside in a modest subdivision.
The Turpins had previously pleaded not guilty to dozens of felony counts - including torture, willful child cruelty and false imprisonment — they were scheduled to go to trial in September, prior to the plea agreement.
Sentencing was scheduled for April 19.
The Turpins were arrested in January when a daughter escaped from the family's Perris home and called 911.
"My two little sisters right now are chained up," she said in a recording played during a June 2018 hearing to determine if her mother and father stand trial for a raft of abuse charges.
"They will wake up at night and they will start crying and they wanted me to call somebody," she said of her siblings. "I wanted to call y'all so y'all can help my sisters."
Investigators said some of the children had stunted growth and wasted muscles and described being beaten, starved and put in cages.
The house reeked of human waste, and the evidence of starvation was obvious, with the oldest of 13 siblings weighing just 82 pounds. The children were locked up as punishment, denied food and toys and allowed to do little except write in journals, prosecutors said.
Children were isolated from each other and locked in different rooms in small groups. They did not have access to televisions or radios but expressed themselves in the hundreds of journals that investigators seized from the home where they were schooled.
After they were freed, the children, who ranged in age from 2 to 29, were immediately hospitalized and eventually released.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.