The Beacon


  • MAY 19: GRADUATION 10:00 A.M.


13 children found held captive by parents

Back to Article
Back to Article

13 children found held captive by parents

Emily S. '19, Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

On Jan. 14, police discovered and saved 13 children who were being held captive by their parents in their own home. The children ranged in ages between two and 29. According to police, all were severely malnourished other than the youngest child. Their situation started as neglect, but quickly morphed into child abuse.

The 13 children of David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin were found after one of their daughters, who is 17-years-old, escaped and used a phone to contact police. The family moved to Murrieta, Calif. in 2010, then moved to their current house in Perris, Calif. in 2015. Before moving to California, the family lived in Texas. 

Riverside County, California, where Perris is located.

According to Riverside County District Attorney Michael Hestrin, 12 counts of torture, 12 counts of false imprisonment, seven counts of abuse to a dependent adult and six counts of child abuse or neglect have been charged against both parents. Also, one count of a lude act on a child by force, fear or distress has been filed against the father. Each parent is being held at a $13 million bail, or $1 million for each child.

The dates of the accusations rage from 2010 to the present and have been said to have occured in Riverside County, Calif. If the parents are found guilty, they will face 94 years to life in prison.

“We are fully prepared to seek justice in this case, and do so in a way that will protect these victims from further harm,” Hestrin said in a press conference on Jan. 18.

In the home, the children were punished by being tied up. They were first tied with ropes, and sometimes were hogtied. Once they were able to escape the ropes, the parents used chains and padlocks to keep their children in their beds. These punishments would last for weeks or months at a time. Evidence found in the house suggests the children were not released from the chains to use the bathroom. Three children were chained when the police came to the house. Other punishments included frequent beatings and strangulation.

The 17-year-old who escaped had been working on a plan to run away for over two years. She and one of her siblings escaped through a window. The other sibling eventually turned back out of fear.

The abuse began when the family lived in Texas. The parents lived apart from the children and would bring them food periodically.

After being examined by doctors, it was determined the children were severely malnourished. The parents would buy food for themselves and leave food out on the counter for the children to look at, but would not allow them to eat any of it.

“To give you an example, one of the children at age 12 is the weight of an average 7-year-old. The 29-year-old female victim weighs 82 pounds,” Hestrin said.

Several of the victims suffer from cognitive impairment and neuropathy, which is a type of nerve damage which results from extreme and prolonged physical abuse.

The children were not allowed to shower more than once a year. If they washed their hands above the wrist, they were accused of playing in the water and were punished.

The children were also not allowed to have toys, however many toys were found in the house in their original packaging.

They were said to be homeschooled, but lacked basic knowledge of society. Hestrin said they did not know what a police officer was. When the 17-year-old who escaped was asked if there were pills or medication in the house, she did not know how to answer.

“I can’t imagine being so sheltered from the world my whole life, then just being thrust into it like these kids are. It really makes you think about what’s going on behind closed doors,” sophomore Aneesha R. said.

One of the only things the children were allowed to do in their rooms was write in journals. Thousands of journals were found in the house and they are being searched through for evidence.

“It’s a very complex case. It’s important that we gather and analyze this evidence. Based on the information I’ve shared with you today, it’s my hope that the members of the public will come forward with any information about this family or these crimes that could aid us in this ongoing investigation and case,” Hestrin said to close the press conference.



10 Responses to “13 children found held captive by parents”

  1. Nathan Hughes on March 14th, 2018 7:39 am

    It’s so scary to hear about this happening to these 13 people. Them being held hostage for so many years. To be abused beaten up for so many years. Its a very scary thought. As sad as this story is it’s good to hear that they got out and are now free and are now gonna be able to live there own lives and start fresh.

  2. Abby Hassinger on March 14th, 2018 7:51 am

    This is such an amazing article to be published. It is truly heartbreaking to see how kids around my age are being treated around the world. I can’t even imagine living the way that they lived. The details that were put into the article including the way they had to sleep, the lack of knowledge, and the lack of food that they were given was shocking. In what mind were those parents in to treat innocent kids, teen,and adults that way. They don’t know what they are missing in their life and because they were locked up for so long, they can’t get back that life that they lost. The punishment is definitely reasonable for the parents because of how powerless they made the kids feel and essentially leaving the kids in pain, and watching them die.

  3. Addison Prindle on March 14th, 2018 9:31 am

    I have heard about this story before but I hadn’t known much information on it. It was interesting to hear a different take on the story and learn more about the 13 captives. I liked this story because it really interested me and I am still curious to find out more about what these children endured in their own home.

  4. Hannah Wilt on March 14th, 2018 9:37 am

    This was such an interesting article! It was very well written and was a great news article. Very well use of objectivity and stating the facts. Great work! I really enjoyed this. The situation was absolutely horrible and it was a very sad but moving issue.

  5. Hannah Wilt on March 14th, 2018 9:37 am

    This was such an interesting article! It was very well written and was a great news article. Very well use of objectivity and stating the facts. Great work! I really enjoyed this. The situation was absolutely horrible and it was a very sad but moving issue.

  6. Molly Sawyer on March 14th, 2018 9:42 am

    This article interested me because I had no idea of the horrors these kids were going through. I can’t imagine living that way for that long. I feel way more grateful and blessed to have grown up the way I have with great parents now that I have read this article.

  7. Gavin on March 14th, 2018 1:34 pm

    This was a very interesting article I would really like to know more.
    The questions I am left with are:
    What are the parents background? Did they have jobs?
    Did the children have any other family outside the house?
    Where will the children live and will they be split up?
    Have the parents given any reasoning for their actions?

  8. Marc Gil on March 14th, 2018 1:36 pm

    This was a very creepy and disturbing article to read, though I thought it was very good. Students our age don’t hear about incidents like this very often, and it’s interesting to read about. It’s crazy to think about how a parent could do such a thing to their children. I wonder if the 29-year-old had been held captive since he was born and how they kept all their children from the outside world without anyone finding out.

  9. Sophia Martel on March 14th, 2018 1:43 pm

    This article brings to light problems that no one hears about. With this article it shows something so devastating that wouldn’t normally happen. Hearing about this situation of children/ adults being held hostage by the people who they should trust the most is devastating. Thinking about being withheld from the basic necessities of life gives me chills down my spine. Even being withheld from education, even though I don’t love it, is something that all children should have. Having knowledge is the most powerful thing in life and the fact that the 17 year old had barely enough knowledge to know to escape is saddening. With the amount of timeout parents were sentenced makes me happy because the children will feel safe from the people who made their life a living hell.

  10. ellie on November 7th, 2018 10:14 pm

    1. I chose this article because it is a scary topic and I wanted to know what these children did and what the parents were thinking when they held these kids hostage.
    2. I learned that there are cruel enough parents out there in the world to abuse their kids so aggressively. It had a shock factor on me because of how extreme the scenario was.
    3. this article had to do with human interest, conflict and consequence.

All comments must be approved by website staff before being posted

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

Navigate Left
  • 13 children found held captive by parents


    Student voice sparks change

  • 13 children found held captive by parents


    Assassination of Kim Jong-nam charges dropped

  • 13 children found held captive by parents


    Fire sparks at Notre Dame Cathedral

  • 13 children found held captive by parents


    Boeing jet plane crashes affect thousands across globe

  • 13 children found held captive by parents


    Robert Mueller’s investigation imprisons Paul Manafort, comes to an end

  • 13 children found held captive by parents


    College cheating scandal sparks debate

  • 13 children found held captive by parents


    Climate change hurts everyone worldwide

  • 13 children found held captive by parents


    President Trump’s address includes no shutdown

  • 13 children found held captive by parents


    Students must prepare early for ACT

  • 13 children found held captive by parents


    Houston shooting creates sorrow around U.S.

Navigate Right
"We have issues"
13 children found held captive by parents