Parenthood is one of life’s greatest gifts and privileges. The opportunity to welcome a new life into the world and the responsibilities that come along with it are immense. Though it brings its challenges along, parenthood can be one of the most rewarding ‘jobs’ you will ever have. Unfortunately, it isn’t handled the same or the right way in every case, as these parents from California demonstrated.
Within the depths of a quiet California neighbourhood, police have discovered children held in captivity, trapped “in dark and foul-smelling surroundings.” The Perris, California home was investigated, where 13 children were found chained and padlocked by their parents, David Allen and Louise Anna Turpin. The discovery of the victims was finally made after one of the children, aged 17, escaped with a cellular device and contacted Riverside County Sheriff officials.
Upon arriving at the scene, police stated that there were “several children shackled to their beds” and that “parents were unable to immediately provide a logical reason why their children were restrained in that manner.” The children, ranging between the ages of 2-29, appeared to be malnourished and unclean, seemingly deprived of all of life’s necessities for some time. Police say that although there was quite an age range among them, they all appeared like children, because of how small they were. The parents have been charged with torture and child endangerment, with a bail set at $9 million each.
The revelation comes as a shock to those who knew the family. The grandparents hadn’t visited the family for several years, however, they remained in contact over the phone, and had no idea what was going on. They explained that the couple had a large family because “God called on them”, as a practicing Christian family.
The grandparents described the couple as “very strict”, homeschooling the children and not allowing them to make much contact with the outer world. The suspect’s sister is “heartbroken” and angered by the news, saying she feels like “it’s a bad dream”. Their neighbours called their previous home a “religious compound”, broken and boarded up, and that the parents “kept them away from anybody.”
On social media, they appeared to be a perfect family. Posting a series of family vacations since 2011, the family made frequent visits to Disneyland and took family photos in matching clothing, sporting the biggest of smiles. In 2016, they even made a trip to Las Vegas to celebrate their parents renewing their vows in a ceremony, wearing matching suits and dresses for the boys and girls. “This is a highly respectable family”, the grandmother said.
According to court records, the couple had once filed for bankruptcy. The father had been making $140,000 a year as an engineer for Northrop Grumman, while the mother had been working as a homemaker. The debt didn’t seem to phase the Turpins, an attorney stated, however, it was quite apparent “there was no way they could make their payments.” The father is also listed as the principal of Sandcastle Day School, which he operated out of his California home. Unfortunately, the state education department doesn’t have the authority to inspect or monitor private schools, and what was happening at the home was unknown to them.
Luckily, the discovery has put an end to the sickening captivity that these children faced all this time. Investigations are still being made on the nature of this event, and what had gone on behind closed doors.
The captain of the Riverside County, Greg Fellows, told reporters: “I wish I could come to you with information that would explain why this happened.” As details are still emerging, the Turpin children have now been freed from their dire situation, and can now look ahead to living the normal life that they deserve.
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