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California mother of 13 children held captive had no idea why police were at her home

California mother of 13 children held captive had no idea why police were at her home
From CBC - January 16, 2018

The mother of 13 malnourished children and young adults who were held in filthy conditions, some chained to furniture, was "perplexed" when deputies arrived at the family's Southern California home, a sheriff's official said Tuesday.

The deputies had been summoned by a 17-year-old daughter who jumped out a window and called 911.

Riverside County sheriff's Capt. Greg Fellows described the reaction of the mother, Louise Anna Turpin, 49, without elaborating. He said he did not know how the father, 57-year-old David Allen Turpin, reacted.

The situation at the home in Perris, about 130 kilometressoutheast of Los Angeles, was discovered when the daughter escaped early Sunday, Fellows said.

The teen, who was so small that deputies initially thought she was 10 years old, showed them photographs that led them to believe her story and go to the home to check on the family, Fellows said.

"The conditions were horrific," he said.

The children, ages two to 29, are all believed to be the biological offspring of the Turpins, authorities said.

Fellows said the investigation has so far found no indication of sexual abuse but that the conditions amounted to torture.

"If you can imagine being a 10-year-old and being chained to a bed ... I would call that torture," he said.

First interaction with authorities

The family had lived in Perris since 2014, and deputies had never been to the residence previously for any reason, Fellows said.

Social workers had never visited either, said Susan von Zabern, director of the county Department of Public Social Services.

The seven adult children were being cared for at Corona Regional Medical Center, said CEO Mark Uffer. He described them as small and clearly malnourished. "It's hard to think of them as adults when you first see them because they are small."

He said the siblings were being fed and were listed in stable condition.

"They are very friendly," he said. "They are very co-operative, and I believe they are hopeful that life will get better for them."

The parents were each held on $9-million bail and could face charges including torture and child endangerment.

It was not immediately known if they had attorneys. They were scheduled to appear in court later Thursday.

Neighbours shocked

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