Turpin Family Case: Teen Escapes From Perris Home Where She and 12 Siblings Were Shackled: Cops

Playing 13 Children Discovered Shackled to Beds at Home: Cops

A 17-year-old girl escaped her California home and phoned 911 to report she and her 12 brothers and sisters were being held captive by their parents, authorities said.

The teen fled her Perris house early Sunday and called from a cellular device she took from her suburban tract house, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

She told the operator that she and her siblings were prisoners in their own home and some were wrapped in chains secured with padlocks, authorities said.

Officers from the Perris Police Department and sheriff's deputies met with the girl, who they initially thought was about 10 years old because of her emaciated body, authorities said. 

Police and deputies then went to the family home and questioned parents David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49. 

A search of the home revealed several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling conditions,  the sheriff's department said.

A family photo from the parents' Facebook page.
A family photo from the parents' Facebook page. David-Louise Turpin/Facebook

"The parents were unable to immediately provide a logical reason why their children were restrained in that manner," the department said in a statement.

Of the 12 children discovered in the home, deputies were "shocked to discover" that seven were actually adults, ranging in age from 18 to 29, the department said.

"The victims appeared to be malnourished and very dirty," the statement said.

Each of the victims was interviewed by authorities. They were given food and drinks after telling authorities they were "starving," the sheriff's department said.

The six children were admitted for treatment at Riverside University Hospital, authorities said. The adults were transported to Corona Regional Medical Center for examinations.

The parents were arrested and booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center on multiple counts of torture and child endangerment. Bail was set at $9 million each. 

James and Betty Turpin of West Virginia, the parents of David Turpin, told ABC News they were "surprised and shocked" by the couple's arrest.

The victims' grandparents said they haven't seen the family for four or five years, but spoke regularly by phone with their son and daughter-in-law. They said they didn't speak with their grandchildren, who are home-schooled. 

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