‘They just looked straight ahead …like zombies almost’: ‘House of Horrors’ parents made their children march back and forth at night, neighbor says

In addition to being starved and shackled inside a foul-smelling filthy home, 13 California siblings were apparently made to march up stairs, back and forth, night after night, according to a neighbor who lived across the street from the family.

New York Post reports that a neighbor named Mark said he could see through a window of the home of David and Louise Turpin, who lived in a middle class neighborhood in Perris with their 13 children. Mark said that between midnight and 3 a.m., he witnessed the kids marching back and forth on the second floor of their home.

“They would march back and forth on the second story at night. The light would be on the whole the time, and they would be marching the kids back and forth,” Mike said, according to the Post.

“We could see them through the windows,” he added, The Sun reports. “I’d never see them during the day except I saw two of the sisters go check the mail once. I tried to say hello but they just looked straight ahead went to the mail box and went back, like zombies almost. Completely monotone, no personality or social skills or anything.”

Mike also indicated that he witnessed the family leaving the home late at night only, when the parents would load all of the children into a minivan. He said they would return a few hours later or sometimes stay gone overnight.

“I don’t know where they went at that time… Who knows. I always thought they were some kind of cult or that the parents were psychotic. What kind of parents don’t let their kids play outside?” –Mark, neighbor

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department arrived to the Turpin’s home on Monday after a 17-year-old daughter 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 and Louise Turpin.

“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 victims, who “claimed to be starving,” were given water and food. 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.

The Press-Enterprise reports that 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.

The suspects, who allegedly couldn’t explain why they had their children locked in the home, were charged with torture and child endangerment. Investigators indicated that they are seeking any witnesses with information about the reported abuse. Anyone with any information is urged to contact Master Investigator Tom Salisbury at the Perris station at 951-210-1000 or PerrisStation@RiversideSheriff.org.

Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.

[Feature Photo: David and Louise Turpins/Riverside County Sheriff’s Department]