PERRIS (CBSLA) — The horrifying news that 13 children were being starved and tortured in their own Perris home has unleashed an outpouring of support from the surrounding community.
The home where the Turpin children endured abuse and torture allegedly at the hands of their own parents has become a memorial of sorts, where members of the community have been leaving candles, stuffed animals, and notes of love and support.
At a news conference Thursday, the Riverside County district attorney recounted the sickening details – the children were beaten and strangled, not allowed to shower more than once a year, punished by being hog-tied with rope, and later with chains and padlocks, and were taunted with the sight of apple and pumpkin pies, but never allowed to eat them.
The children’s parents, David and Louise Turpin, faces several charges of torture and child abuse, imprisonment and neglect. David Turpin also faces one count of a lewd act on a child under the age of 14. Both are being held on $12 million bail each.
A 17-year-old girl – who authorities later believed was 10 — managed to escape the home Sunday with a cell phone and call 911. Her pictures and information led to the rescue of her 12 siblings, who ranged in age from 2 to 29.
All the siblings were severely malnourished, with the 29-year-old weighing in at just 82 pounds.
Neighbors were shocked to even find out anyone lived at the nondescript home, then horrified to hear the details of the children’s ordeal.
But now many of them understand why they rarely saw or heard the children.
“To hear that they slept all day and they was up all night, I get it now why we did not see them. I get it,” neighbor Bonnie Briscoe said.
When the Corona Chamber of Commerce announced they were accepting donations for the 13 siblings, people immediately dropped off bags of clothes, shoes, and toiletries, along with games and books. The clothes and supplies have since been delivered to the children in the hospital Thursday night.
A fund has also been set up by the Riverside University Health System to collect monetary donations for the children’s long-term care. RUHS Foundation says 100 percent of the funds raised will be put in a trust to pay for the siblings’ long-term needs.
“We recognize financial gifts will not eliminate their trauma, but additional resources will be extremely important in helping these victims adjust over time,” Erin Phillips, executive director of the RUHS Foundation, said in a statement.