Louise & David Turpin Plead Guilty, Face 25 Years To Life In Prison

Twelve of the couple's 13 children, who ranged in age from 2 to 29 years old, were found starved, beaten, and shackled to their beds in January 2018.

February 25, 2019

Photo by: Louise and David Turpin [Riverside County Sheriff's Department]

Louise and David Turpin [Riverside County Sheriff's Department]

By: Catherine Townsend

PERRIS, CA — The California couple who made national headlines after their 12 children were pulled starving from their home last year pleaded guilty to multiple charges on Friday.

Louise and David Turpin pleaded guilty to a total of 14 charges, according to the Riverside County District Attorney’s office. These include one count of torture for each parent, three counts of willful child cruelty, four counts of false imprisonment, and six counts of cruelty to an adult dependent.

District Attorney Mike Hestrin told reporters that the verdict means they should serve a period of 25 years to life in prison.

Twelve of the couple's 13 children, who ranged in age from 2 to 29 years old, were found starved, beaten, and shackled to their beds in January 2018. Investigators later learned that they were rarely allowed to leave their Riverside County home. Only the youngest child, who was two years old, appeared to be healthy.

Authorities have said that some of the children were severely emaciated when they were removed from the home. "One of the children, at age 12, is the weight of an average 7-year-old," Hestrin said, according to KTLA. "The 29-year-old female victim weighs 82 pounds."

The home was also filthy and reeked of human waste. In addition, the children were not allowed to bathe more than once per year and were punished if they washed their hands above the wrists.

In contrast, the family dogs appeared healthy and well cared for, according to prosecutors.

The plea deal allows the children to avoid further trauma by having to testify in a trial, Hestrin said.

The parents posted photos on social media of their seemingly perfect family — with the whole brood wearing matching outfits — and many who knew the couple expressed their shock following the arrest.

Medical experts have stated that the tortured children suffered cognitive impairment and other severe physical and psychological consequences, and will require extensive rehabilitation and therapy.

The children were rescued after a 17-year-old child crawled out a window and managed to call 911 on a deactivated cell phone. "I can't breathe because of how dirty the house is," the teen says in the 911 call, which was played in court. "We don't take baths. I don't know if we need to go to the doctor." The girl later told authorities she had been beaten, choked, and sexually abused by her father.

A lawyer representing seven of the children has stated that they are "not bitter" and are trying to heal.

Louise and David Turpin are due back in court on April 19 for sentencing.

Read more: KTLA

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