The abused children of David and Louise Turpin have reportedly spent two years plotting their escape from their "house of horror" in Perris, California.
The siblings, who were beaten and choked in chains for months at a time, began to plan their escape two years ago and their chance came on Jan. 14 when their 17-year-old sister was able to sneak out through a window. The teenager then used an inactive cell phone to dial 911, leading the police into the home.
When the authorities arrived at the "foul-smelling" house, they reportedly found the victims, aged 2 to 29, shackled to beds with chains and padlocks, adding that all of them looked like children as they were malnourished and "very dirty."
Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin described their ordeal as an extreme case of "human depravity" as he laid out the charges against the parents at a press conference on Thursday.
"I will tell you as a prosecutor, there are cases that stick with you, they haunt you," Hestrin said, according to The Christian Post. "Sometimes in this business we are faced with human depravity. That is what we are looking at here," he added.
Hestrin noted that the siblings were not allowed to shower more than once a year, and they were punished if they were found to "wash their hands above the wrist area."
Their parents would allegedly buy food like apple pies and leave them uneaten on a counter to taunt the siblings, who are frequently tied up with rope.
None of the children have reportedly seen a doctor in more than four years and they have never been to the dentist. Only one of the older siblings was able to attend classes at a local college and he was strictly supervised by his mother.
Their only form of entertainment was writing in journals, which the authorities are now checking for evidence of how the siblings lived.
"I think those journals are going to be strong evidence of what occurred in that home," Hestrin said.
Among the charges laid out against David and Louse Turpin are 12 criminal counts of torture, seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult, and 12 counts of false imprisonment. The couple, who faces "about 94 years to life" if convicted, have both pleaded not guilty and are now being held on bail of $13 million each.
Reports have indicated that the detectives investigating the case are planning to send cadaver dogs to find out if there was anyone else in the house who may have died.
The Riverside University Health System (RUHS) Foundation had set up a support fund for the siblings and is calling on individuals and organizations to donate for their long-term needs.
"We recognise financial gifts will not eliminate their trauma, but additional resources will be extremely important in helping these victims adjust over time," said Erin Phillips, executive director of RUHS Foundation, assuring that 100 percent of the funds will go to the siblings.