New details emerge in case of 13 siblings allegedly held captive by parents

The victims weren't released from their chains, even to go to the bathroom, and were only allowed to shower once a year, according to prosecutors at a press conference today.
8:33 | 01/19/18

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Transcript for New details emerge in case of 13 siblings allegedly held captive by parents
something off about that family. Today our first look at couple accused of imprisoning, torturing the children. The father David turpin shackled appearing dazed his wife Louise sighed heavily at times. The couple now facing 75 charges including torture, false imprisonment and child abuse and David turpin charged with an additional charge of unspeakable act. He touched one of the victims in a lewd way by using force or fear. These photos for days were the only glimpse of the peculiar but seemingly happy family but abuse was out at the press conference. Victims report starting many years ago they began to be tied up. Described decades of unimaginable punishment that intensified as the years went on. One victim was tied up and hog tied and when that victim was able to escape the ropes T they began chaining with padlocks and chains. The children shackled for weeks or months at a time and starved. The eldest daughter age 29 weighed just 82 pounds and officials say their parents would taunt them. They would buy food, apple pies, leave it on the counter let the children look at it but not eat the food. Instead the children were fed a steady diet of cruelty. Grime smeared on the stairwells. Human filth on the floors. The district attorney saying the children were allowed to bathe only once a year. I call it a compound they were so closed off from society. Louise's sister said for decades felt uncomfortable around her brother-in-law. If I were to get in the shower he would come in while I was in there and watch me like a joke. She says she hasn't seen the children in over a decade but remembers they were kept on a rigid schedule. I remember they were really strict. The oldest daughter would stay in her room, when she came down she'd have to give permission. And we learned vampire hours as neighbor Mike Clifford called it. Anywhere from 12:30 to 230 Thanksgiving in the morni in the morning the kids would March across the rooms up there for hours. This community in Perris, California, is known as the crown jewel but what's so shocking behind closed doors in one of these homestan horror was unfolding and neighbors had no idea what was happening. Anything to look for. You don't need a medical degree. You see a child that doesn't go to school. That is putting sod on the ground at midnight. Or looks pale and doesn't walk appropriately. That kid is probably has some issues that needs to be paid attention to. You certainly can report anything. I would suggest to people they don't know exactly what's happening, that it doesn't look right, I think all of us from a welfare standpoint should reach out and talk to the police. The lives of the turpin siblings have changir revokablely since sunland Oday. One of the can girls 17-year-old girl and siblings escaped through a window and used a cellphone. The 17-year-old who escaped had been working on a plan to escape this abuse for more than two years. The police unit swaed that tiny development an in that house police discovered the remaining children. 11 and 13-year-old were unchained while the police were at the door and 22-year-old chained to the bed when police entered the home. Several of the children were adults but looked much younger investigators say because they were so emaciated. They all ranged from 18 to 29 everyone thought they were children The 29-year-old siblings weighing only 82 pounds and several of the victims have cognitive impairment, the result they say of prolonged, physical, and mental abuse. We don't know emotionally they are mentally in adulthood because of the torture that's taken place. Their parents David and Louise turpin led out of the house by police in handcuffs now sit in jail. Their bail set at $12 million. A million per child alleged abused they face up to 94 years to life in prison convicted. We're not charging torture on the 2-year-old. The 2-year-old don't know why but apparently the 2-year-old was getting enough to eat. This story, this case seems surreal. It's hard to accept that this really happen in our own backyard in our own communities. You've probably done a lot of these cases before but what seems so unusual about this one is it was systematic and intentional. Not talking about a Normal action, reaction, and consequence type behavior that you would find in a family. This is off the charts sadistic. Police have removed evidence from the home recovering hundreds of journals written by the children. Journals will give you state of mind of people. The writing will give you an indicator as to where their mind set might be. It actually may help you to pull this together. The children were home schooled. David turpin former engineer was principal of the sand castle day school registered at the same address the entire school body his children the California department of education for children says in a statement we're sickened by this tragedy and relieved the children are now safe and authorities are now investigating. Under current California law the CDE doesitor or inspect private schools. Sti a fundraiser has been set up for the turpin children. How long can it take for people to become robust again. It's going to be taking some time with appropriate nourishment and a good environment. To Elizabeth smart parts of this trauma are all too familiar at 14 she was held in captivity for nine months after being abducted. Her story gripped the flags. For so long I couldn't decide whether to go to sleep or go to the bathroom or eat or drink. She cautions -- -- I will tell you every day of the week the chains of manipulation and threats are so much stronger than actual physical chains. While smart wasn't held captive for decades she is optimistic for the siblings having rebuilt her own life after captivity. I would want them to know that life is not as dark and terrible as it has been probably for their entire life that there is happiness in the future and that they can go on to have wonderful lives. Tonight members of the children's extended family are reaching outleting them know that they are there for them. I wanted the kids to know that there are people that love them. And there's family that love them. And I hope to be able to see the children. For "Nightline" I'm Matt Gutman in Riverside, California. Our thanks to Matt for that reporting. Tune in to "20/20" on Friday for a full investigation into that California house of horrors featuring brand new details and interview and tracking the family from coast-to-coast. Next on "Nightline" we're going

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