The California couple accused of keeping their 13 children captive in the family’s squalid home were charged on Thursday with torture, child abuse and false imprisonment, as prosecutors said the victims were beaten, starved and chained.
David Turpin, 57, and his wife Louise Turpin, 49, each face 94 years to life in prison if convicted on the more than two dozen charges against them, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin told reporters at a press conference.
“We’re fully prepared to seek justice in this case and do so in a way that protects these victims from further harm,” Hestrin said.
David Turpin was also charged with one count of committing a lewd act on a child by force or duress, Hestrin said.
Both parents, who were arrested after their emaciated 17-year-old daughter climbed out of a window of the family home in Perris, California and called police, were scheduled to make an initial court appearance in the case later on Thursday.
The California Department of Education lists the Perris address, where the family has lived since 2014, as the location of the Sandcastle Day School, with David Turpin as principal.
Experts say it may have been easier for the parents to shield their children from scrutiny because they were home-schooled.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Cynthia Osterman)