(RIVERSIDE, Calif.) – The California children who authorities say were tortured by their parents and so malnourished that their growth was stunted are slowly providing valuable information to investigators, a prosecutor told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
“Victims in these types of cases, they tell their story, however they tell it slowly. They tell it at their own pace,” Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said. “It will come out when it comes out.”
David and Louise Turpin are accused of abusing their 13 children – which range from 2 to 29 – before these were rescued on Jan. 14 using their home in Perris. They have pleaded not guilty to torture along with other charges.
On Wednesday, a judge signed a protective order prohibiting the parents from contacting any one of their children, except through attorneys or investigators.
Before the brief hearing, Louise Turpin, who wore a white button down shirt and jacket, looked at her husband and smiled.
All of the children remained hospitalized and were relieved to be out of the home that authorities have referred to as a torture chamber, Hestrin said.
Deputies arrested the couple after their 17-year-old daughter climbed out a window and called 911. Authorities found the siblings within the family’s filthy home, with three of them shackled to beds.
Investigators have discovered that the children were isolated from one another and kept in different rooms in small groups, Hestrin said.
The children was without use of televisions or radios but were able to read and write and expressed themselves in countless journals that were seized from the home, the district attorney said.
“It appears to me that they lacked any type of understanding about how exactly the planet worked,” Hestrin said.
One of the older boys had taken a number of classes at Mt. San Jacinto College, a community college, but his mother took him towards the campus and waited outside class for him, Hestrin said. The college confirmed that one from the Turpins was really a student but refused to supply more information, including some that’s generally releasable under federal privacy laws.
Earlier now, Louise Turpin’s half-brother, Billy Lambert, told several news organizations that she had aspired to have a reality tv program concentrating on their large family. But Hestrin said investigators have uncovered no evidence indicating the couple was seeking media attention or a show.
Authorities are asking anyone with details about the situation to call 1-888-934-5437.