Siblings allegedly starved, shackled and taunted with food

The reason California's 'house of horrors' alleged abuse was able to continue undetected

Flores' sister and her sister's husband, David Turpin, were busted this week on torture charges after their malnourished 17-year-old daughter escaped their Southern California home and alerted authorities to the nightmare going on inside the residence. After they are healthy and ready to be released, then Child Protective Services will ask the court for approval to care for them and find them guardians. The couple, arrested earlier this week on charges of torture and child endangerment, could face up to life in prison if found guilty.

"We have a big push and responsibility to our children to see if there are any kinship caregivers. that would be a viable option", she said.

Multiple neighbors said they only saw the children when they would pile in their family van late at night.

"I have four siblings now instead of five".

The police officials said that they learned of the abuse when a 17-year-old girl escaped from the house with a mobile phone that she used to contact the police. David and Louise Turpin are accused of starving and shackling their 13 adult and juvenile children to their beds, sometimes for months.

After that was uncovered, Turpin and his wife Louise were apprehended and taken to the police station where they were held on bail of $9m for endangering the lives of their children and torturing them. She added, "But mainly, I want to reach out to the kids, I want them to know that [for] years we begged to Skype them, we begged to see them".

On Friday, Louise Turpin stared from the front page of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph with her husband David, and another step had been taken in building the case against them.

The siblings were described as "malnourished" and underweight, and told authorities they were "starving" when they were found. The Turpins lived in Rio Vista from 1999 to 2010 and then relocated to California. David Turpin had worked as an engineer for both Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.

When police arrived, some of the children were still shackled to their beds, but the parents had unchained two, Hestrin said.

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"They would buy apple pies [and] pumpkin pies, put them on counter, let the children to look at it, but not allow the children to eat the food", Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said at a press conference.

Similarly, the children were not allowed to play with toys, though many were found throughout the house - in their original packaging.

"What we can say with some certainty is that this was a very controlling family", Reinecke told NBC News.

"This is depraved conduct", Hestrin said.

A lawyer for David Turpin told ABC News, "What we would like the public to know is that our clients are presumed to be innocent and that's a very important presumption". "It breaks our hearts".

In addition to raising them largely in isolation, the parents may have been able to hide the abuse by functioning while other families slept.

Investigators are poring over hundreds of journals kept by the children inside that house of horrors.

"They're relieved, I'll say that", Hestrin said. The books are expected to be powerful evidence against their parents.

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