Parents of 13 malnourished children charged; bail set at $13 million

"I feel they were model Christians", she said Wednesday to Southern California Media Group, adding the couple had so many children as a testament to their faith.

"I always made comments to Louise, when I did talk to her about, 'Gosh they're so skinny, ' and she would laugh it off".

Betty Turpin says her son told her he had so many kids because God wanted him to.

David Turpin was also accused of sexually abusing one of his young daughters.

"They would buy food, including pies, apple, pumpkin pies, leave it on the counter, let the children look at it but not eat the food".

The six children - including the 17-year-old who escaped - are being treated at Riverside University Health System Medical Center in Moreno Valley.

Authorities claim they were alerted to the matter when a 17-year-old girl escaped the home through a window and called the emergency services.

Ripley reviewed three videos of the couple's renewal ceremonies and says they now seem "haunting and disturbing".

David's mother told CNN that the couple were very protective of their children and they were a highly respectable family.

A 12-year-old has the average weight of a 7-year-old, and the oldest sibling - a 29-year-old woman - weighs 82 pounds, Hestrin said.

Police arrested Turpin and her husband.

Prosecutors are calling it a case of human depravity that continued for years. They were also forbidden from showering a couple of times a year. He said none are adopted.

David, 57, and Louise Turpin, 49, were arrested this week and pleaded not guilty Thursday afternoon to 75 charges.

Mr Turpin, a former engineer, filed for bankruptcy in 2011.

This item has been corrected to show the TV station attribution should be WVNS-TV in Ghent, West Virginia, not WTRF-TV in Wheeling, West Virginia.

The aunt of 13 malnourished adult and juvenile children, some of whom were chained to furniture in a filthy Perris home, spoke to Good Morning America in an emotional interview, saying she was shocked to hear about the abuse because her sister and her family isolated themselves from the rest of the world for several years.

Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin provided the first chilling details of the abuse allegedly inflicted on the 13 Turpin children over the last seven years - regular beatings, strangulation and starvation.

The siblings range in age from 2 to 29.

The judge set the Turpin's bail at 12 million dollars each. They could face charges including torture and child endangerment.

Although the children were apparently home schooled, they knew little about life and could not even recognize that it was a policeman who came to their rescue, Hestrin said.

  • Joanne Flowers