911 call that exposed parents’ torture of a dozen children released | World News
A recording of the 911 call that alerted police to a couple who starved and locked up some of their 13 children has been released.
The call came from a young girl, who risked severe punishment by her parents for jumping free from the filthy house through a window and finding a phone box.
Speaking down the line to a police dispatcher, she lifted the lid on years of horrific abuse suffered by her and her siblings.
The 17-year-old said: “I’ve never been out. I don’t go out much.”
Throughout the course of the conversation, she said two of her sisters and one brother were “chained to their bed”.
She explained: “Sometimes we live in filth, and sometimes I wake up and I can’t breathe because how dirty the house is.”
When the call handler asked when she last had a bath, she replied: “I don’t know. Almost a year ago.”
Despite her bravery, the girl did not know her address, what month it was, or what the word “medication” meant.
Police soon arrived at the house in Perris, some 60 miles outside Los Angeles, and found the shackled son, as well as the two daughters who had just been released.
He said he had been tied up with ropes at first but was restrained with increasingly larger chains over a period of six years because he’d learned to wriggle free.
Investigators reported the stench of human waste was overwhelming and the house was covered in filth.
The two parents were subsequently arrested: David Turpin, a 57-year-old engineer, and his wife Louise, who was listed as a housewife in a 2011 bankruptcy filing.
They claimed the children were homeschooled, but only the eldest completed third grade – equivalent to Year 4 in England.
“We don’t really do school. I haven’t finished first grade,” the 17-year-old who phoned police said.
Their children ranged from age two to 29 and were severely underweight – some suffering from stunted growth and wasted muscles.
In February, the couple pleaded guilty to 14 criminal charges including torture, abuse and neglect.
David Turpin’s parents, who lived in West Virginia, have previously said the couple were deeply religious and made the children memorise Bible verses.
All the children were taken to hospital when they were discovered, and Riverside County authorities have taken temporary care over the adults.
Those under 18 are in child protection agencies.