Turpin family

Children rescued from the ‘House of Horrors’: ‘Things that we just take for granted mean so much to these kids.’

The 13 children rescued from their parents’ home in California in January are still on the road to recovery, but lawyers for the children say that the kids, for the first time in their lives, are beginning to make decisions for themselves.

CBS reports that attorney Jack Osborn, one of the lawyers who represent the children, said that they’re realizing they have rights of their own and allowed to make their own decisions.

“That in itself is a new experience for them, understanding that they do have rights and they do have a voice….That’s a big deal, deciding what they’re going to read, deciding what they’re going to wear, these are all things that are decisions they make every day that are new and empowering.”

Corona mayor Karen Spiegel has been working with the nurses who cared for the children, and indicated that the children are humble and appreciative of little things that many people take for granted.

“They [the nurses] talk about how warm and loving these kids are and so appreciative,” Spiegel said.  “Some of them have never really seen a toothbrush before. Things that we just take for granted mean so much to these kids.”

Currently, the younger children are in foster homes, while the adult children are Corona Regional Medical Center, where they continue to recover. A portion of the hospital has been converted to give the adult children room for outdoor exercise and sports.

“I just want you to understand just what special individuals they are,” Osborn continued. “They all have their own aspirations and their own interests and now they may have an opportunity to address those, which is really exciting.”

As CrimeOnline previously reported, officers with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department arrived to a house in Perris, California, after a 17-year-old girl told them she stole a cellphone from the home, escaped from its horrid conditions, and called for help. According to responding officers, an additional 12 people were found inside the “foul-smelling” home, shackled in chains to filthy beds.  All of the victims were the children of David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49.

“Deputies located what they believed to be 12 children inside the house, but were shocked to discover that 7 of them were actually adults, ranging in age from 18 to 29,” the police statement read. “The victims appeared to be malnourished and very dirty.”

The Press-Enterprise reports that victims, who “claimed to be starving,” were given water and food immediately. Authorities reported that they appeared malnourished and in need of medical assistance. They were taken to a local hospital for a medical checkup. The California Child Protective Services and Adult Protective Services will take care of the victims once they get a clean bill of health from the hospital.

Neighbors said that the Turpin children mostly kept to themselves and indoors. On the rare occasion they were outside, they reportedly did not look healthy. Some residents in the neighborhood said that the Turpin family typically kept a messy, unkempt yard, while neighbor Andria Valdez joked that they reminded her of the Cullen vampire family, from the fictional “Twilight” book and film series.

“They only came out at night,” Valdez explained. “They were really, really pale.”

Another neighbor, Robert Perkins, said he once complimented the family when he saw a few of them constructing a Nativity scene in their front yard a fews years ago.

“They didn’t say a word,” Perkins told the Press-Enterprise.

Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.

[Feature Photo: Turpin children/Handout]