(RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif.) — Prosecutors are looking to prevent the California parents accused of torturing and holding their 13 children captive from having contact with their alleged victims.
David Turpin, 57, and Louise Turpin, 49, accused of abusing their children for years, were arrested after the victims were found Jan. 14 at their home in Perris. One of their children — a 17-year-old girl — had clambered out of a window and used a deactivated cellphone to dial 911 for help, according to police.
The Turpins allegedly forced the children to shower only once a year, shackled them and beat them routinely, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said at a press conference last week. The victims weren’t released from their chains even to go to the bathroom, according to Hestrin. When found, they hadn’t been to a doctor in over four years and had never been to a dentist, he added.
Prosecutors are set to appear in court this afternoon to request a “no-contact criminal protective order,” John Hall, public information officer for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, said in an email to ABC News.
The district attorney’s office is asking for “no direct or indirect contact with the victims” and “no written or electronic contact either directly or through a third party,” Hall said.
The 13 siblings — ages 2 to 29 — have since been hospitalized.
All the victims except for the toddler were severely malnourished, Hestrin said, adding that the eldest victim — a 29-year-old woman — weighed only 82 pounds when rescued. He said another child, a 12-year-old, was the weight of an average 7-year-old.
Hestrin said the parents would buy food including pies and “leave it on the counter, let the children look at it, but not eat the food.”
David and Louise Turpin have each been charged with 12 counts of torture, 12 counts of false imprisonment, seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult and six counts of child abuse. David Turpin was also charged with one count of a lewd act on a child under the age of 14 by force, fear or duress. They have pleaded not guilty.
David Macher, 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.” He added, “We’re going to provide a vigorous defense.”
Hestrin said, “We’re asking the public to reach out if they have any information about the case.”
Anyone with information can call the tip line at the Riverside District Attorney’s Office at 888-934-KIDS.
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