Allegedly held captive, Turpin children now ‘happy’ and Skyping
The 13 children of David and Louise Turpin, the California couple accused of holding their children captive and torturing 12 of them, are now enjoying freedom in three separate homes in Riverside County, authorities said on Monday.
Word of their new homes follows a statement from Corona Regional Medical Center CEO Mark Uffer announcing that the Turpin siblings had been released from the hospital.
Six of the children are minors and seven are adults.
The adult children had been recovering at Corona Regional for the past two months, and it was hard to see them go, Uffer said. “There were some tears flowing, both for the staff and the Turpin children,” he said. “They said they loved us, they were going to miss us, they hoped to see us soon.”
“We’re hopeful they can now learn a lot of life skills, from shopping for groceries to cooking,” he said. “For all the things that have allegedly been done to them, they still have the capacity to love and trust people who have been good to them. Their spirit has not been crushed.”
“On behalf of all of us at CRMC, we wish these brave siblings continued strength as they take the next steps in their journey,” Uffer said.
The two youngest are now in one foster home in Riverside County, while the other four are at another home in the county. No home was able to accommodate all six children, a source close to the investigation said. The two youngest, in particular, will require a great deal of attention, the source added.
“Their education was nonexistent,” the source said. “The 17-year-old, who escaped, has a first-grade level education.”
A second source said the seven adult children are in another home.
The Turpins said they home-schooled their children, who ranged in age from 2 to 29 at the time of the parents’ arrest, but the source close to the investigation characterized their private Sandcastle Day School as “a sham, a way for them to get money from the county and the state.”
Previously, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin has said the home school was used to conceal a life of horror and abuse, where the children were beaten and starved, chained to their beds for weeks at a time and allowed to shower only once a year. Authorities have not alleged that the 2-year-old was tortured.
The horrid living conditions led one sibling, a 17-year-old girl, to escape through a window of the family home. She called 911 from a deactivated cellphone she found in the house. She had planned her escape for more than two years.
When his parents were arrested, the 29-year-old weighed just 82 pounds, and the other children were so thin they look younger than their ages, authorities said.
The children were also subject to mind games and emotional abuse during their confinement, the source close to the investigation said, adding that they are in regular contact with each other.
“The children all talk regularly via Skype. They are all happy to be in another place,” the source said.
David and Louise Turpin, who lived in Perris, have pleaded not guilty to more than 40 charges, including torture, false imprisonment, abuse of a dependent adult and child abuse. David Turpin also pleaded not guilty to one count of lewd conduct with a minor.
They were arrested in January. A judge set bail at $12 million for each defendant.
The only thing the home-schooled children were allowed to do while in their rooms was write in journals, so hundreds of notebooks could make their way into evidence in the case against the parents.