A couple in Southern California was arrested after police discovered the two were holding their 13 children captive.

Riverside County Sheriff's Department

13 siblings found being held captive, emaciated in Southern California

Police found several of the siblings 'bound with chains and padlocks.'


Sarah Jasmine Montgomery


Published Jan 15, 2018   Updated May 22, 2021, 4:39 am CDT

Police arrested a couple in Southern California after they discovered the two were holding their 13 children captive. They were alarmed when a 17-year-old girl who had escaped from the home called 911 on Sunday, alerting the authorities that her 12 other siblings were still imprisoned by her parents.

According to BuzzFeed News, when police arrived at the home in Perris, California, the victims appeared emaciated and some were “bound with chains and padlocks.”

The victims, six children and 12 adults, ranged from 2 to 29-years-old. A statement from the Riverside Sheriff’s Department stated that the 17-year-old who alerted authorities “appeared to be only 10 years old and slightly emaciated.” Her 12 siblings were found “in dark and foul-smelling surroundings.”

David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, were arrested on torture and child endangerment charges. Their bail was set at $9 million each. The two were at home when the police found the 12 siblings.

It’s unclear how long the children were held captive. After being rescued, they were given food and water and later admitted to nearby hospitals.

CNN reported that David Turpin listed the location of their home as a day school in 2011. Turpin was listed as the principal of Sandcastle Day School and registered it as a private school for grades 1-12. This year the school enrolled six students, corresponding to the number of children discovered by the police.

According to a report by the New York Times, the couple filed bankruptcy in 2011. Their lawyer Ivan Trahan told the newspaper that the parents had 12 children at the time and spoke of them frequently. “We remember them as a very nice couple,” Trahan said. “This is shocking.”

H/T BuzzFeed News

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*First Published: Jan 15, 2018, 9:12 pm CST