U.S. couple plead guilty to torturing 12 children

U.S. couple plead guilty to torturing 12 children

U.S. couple plead guilty to torturing 12 children

David Turpin (second from right) and wife, Louise, (far left) joined by their attorneys, pleaded guilty in a Riverside, Calif., courtroom, Friday to several charges, including torture, after some of their 13 children were found shackled to beds.

Despite the conditions faced by most of the Turpin children, the family dogs were kept clean and well-fed, according to prosecutors.

Investigators, however, thought the girl looked like she was 10-years-old because she was "emaciated", NBC News reported.

Although the parents filed reports with the state that they home-schooled their children, the oldest child only completed the third grade.

"We needed to determine whether proceeding to trial was worth having the victims testify in this case that has received worldwide media attention", DA Mike Hestrin said in a statement.

David and Louise Turpin pleaded guilty Friday in Riverside County Superior Court in the case dubbed a "house of horrors".

When rescued, all the children except for the youngest, a toddler, were severely malnourished, prosecutors said. The adult children were in rehabilitative care that included musical therapy, where some learned to play guitar, officials at their hospital told CNN.

But inside, the children were deprived of food, allowed to shower no more than once a year, beaten, strangled or tied up "for weeks or even months at a time", Hestrin said last year.

An investigator testified that some suffered from severe malnutrition and muscle wasting, including an 11-year-old girl who had arms the size of an infant. They were rarely allowed to bathe.

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Uffer said he hasn't seen the children since they left the center past year, but an attorney for the adult Turpin children, Jack Osborn, told CNN, "Our clients are relieved that there will not be a trial and they are happy the district attorney was able to achieve this result". Riverside County authorities then obtained temporary conservatorship over the adults.

Neighbour Marcela Torres leaves a message for the children on the front door of the Turpin home.

He said while their living conditions were utterly shocking, to them it was normal, so adjusting to their new life has been somewhat of a hard transition. He said they value their privacy.

The social services agency tasked with overseeing the younger children declined to comment on their cases, citing confidentiality laws.

She told responding officers that the house was so dirty she couldn't breathe and that she and her siblings never took baths. She had planned her escape for more than two years.

"They chain us up if we do things we're not supposed to", she said. "If there is any part of them that needs validation that how they were treated was wrong and was abuse, this is it".

They will not go to trial and will serve life sentences, unless granted parole after 25 years imprisonment, for crimes that convulsed their suburban, palm-tree-lined community of Perris. "I was very taken by them, by their optimism, by their hope for their future".

"They have a zest for life and huge smiles and I'm optimistic for them".

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