RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The minor children of David and Louise Turpin, the California couple accused of holding their 13 children captive and torturing 12 of them, are now in two foster homes, a source close to the investigation said Monday.
Word of the six children’s new homes follows word from Corona Regional Medical Center CEO Mark Uffer announcing that the Turpin siblings had been released from the hospital. He did not provide further details, citing privacy laws.
“On behalf of all of us at CRMC, we wish these brave siblings continued strength as they take the next steps in their journey,” he said.
The two youngest are now in one foster home in Riverside County, while the other four are at another home in the county. No home was able to accommodate all six children, the source said. The two youngest, in particular, will require a great deal of attention, according to the source.
“Their education was nonexistent,” the source said. “The 17-year-old, who escaped, has a first-grade level education.”
The Turpins said they home-schooled their children, who ranged in age from 2 to 29 at the time of the parents’ arrest, but the source characterized their private Sandcastle Day School as “a sham, a way for them to get money from the county and the state.”
Previously, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin has said the home school was used to conceal a life of horror and abuse, where the children were beaten and starved, chained to their beds for weeks at a time and allowed to shower only once a year. Authorities have not alleged that the 2-year-old was tortured.
The horrid living conditions led one sibling, a 17-year-old girl, to escape through a window of the family home. She called 911 from a deactivated cellphone she found in the house. She had planned her escape for more than 2 years.
When his parents were arrested, the 29-year-old weighted just 82 pounds, and the other children were so thin they look younger than their ages, authorities said.
The children were also subject to mind games and emotional abuse during their confinement, the source said, adding that they are in regular contact with each other.
“The children all talk regularly via Skype. They are all happy to be in another place,” the source said.
David and Louise Turpin, who lived in Perris, have pleaded not guilty to more than 40 charges, including torture, false imprisonment, abuse of a dependent adult and child abuse. David Turpin also pleaded not guilty to one count of lewd conduct with a minor.
They were arrested in January. A judge set bail at $12 million for each defendant.
The only thing the homeschooled children were allowed to do while in their rooms was write in journals, so hundreds of notebooks could make their way into evidence in the case against the parents.