For the first time in months, several investigators involved in the Perris, California, ‘House of Horrors’ case testified in court. sharing the horrific story of how they found the 13 children who were allegedly starved and tortured by their parents.
From People, Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputy Manuel Campos told a court Wednesday that the 17-year-old girl who contacted police planned her escape for two years. Fed up with seeing her two sisters “chained and crying,” Campos said the teen had asked her sisters to take pictures of her in chains so that they had proof of the abuse.
The 17-year-old had reportedly shared a room with her two sisters. Campos claimed the teen told him that they had to ask for permission to leave the room, which she noted “smelled so bad” that it was often hard to breathe. The girl estimated that she spent up to 20 hours a day in that room and spent 15 hours a day sleeping, the magazine reported.
Sheriff’s deputy Daniel Brown testified on Thursday that one of the girls said she knew the 17-year-old had gotten help when police knocked on their door that fateful day in January.
“She said she was finally going to become free,” Brown said, according to the Associated Press.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, David and Louise Turpin are accused of withholding food from their 13 children in addition to limiting their bathroom use and allowing them to only shower once a year. Authorities said the Turpin children, who range in age from 2 to 29, have suffered physical and cognitive impairments due to the years of neglect.
Investigator Patrick Morris revealed Thursday that an 11-year-old sibling who was chained to her bed was so malnourished that her arms were the size of an infant’s.
The 17-year-old said they were allowed to eat once a day, according to Campos. She stated that they ate peanut butter sandwiches everyday—to the point that she would gag at the site of them.
Sheriff’s investigator Thomas Salisbury testified that the oldest daughter prepared their meals and Louise would let them eat one by one before banishing them back to their bedrooms.
The investigator said the 22-year-old sibling recalled being shackled “off an on” for more than six years. He reportedly said he would be chained for being disrespectful or being suspected of stealing food.
People reported that the siblings have characterized Louise as the driving force of the abuse. While a 22-year-old sibling alleged that David had chained him up, Campos said the 17-year-old claimed Louise called her and one of her sisters “the devil.”
The California couple has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges, including torture, abuse of a dependent adult, child abuse, and false imprisonment. They’re each being held on $12 million bond.
[Featured image: Watchara Phomicinda/The Press-Enterprise via AP]