California couple charged with torture of kids due in court

David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin (Riverside County Sheriff's Department via AP)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A California couple charged with torturing their children by starving, beating and shackling them is due in court on Friday.

David and Louse Turpin are scheduled to appear in a Riverside courtroom for a conference about their case.

They have pleaded not guilty to torture and other charges and each is held on $12 million bail.

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The couple was arrested last month after their 17-year-old daughter escaped from the family’s home in Perris, California, and called 911. Authorities said the home reeked of human waste and evidence of starvation was obvious, with the oldest sibling weighing only 82 pounds.

The case drew international media attention and shocked neighbors who said they rarely saw the couple’s 13 children outside the home. Those who saw the children recalled them as skinny, pale and reserved.

Authorities said the abuse was so long-running the children’s growth was stunted. They said the couple shackled the children to furniture as punishment and had them live a nocturnal lifestyle.

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The courtroom conference is expected to focus on date-setting and other procedural issues. The district attorney’s office has drafted an amended complaint but it has yet to be filed in court, officials said.

It is not immediately clear where the children, who range in age from 2 to 29, are now. They were hospitalized immediately after their rescue and since then county authorities have declined to discuss their whereabouts or condition.

Riverside County has obtained a temporary conservatorship for the seven adult siblings, who declined to speak with reporters through their attorneys.

Related content: Turpin case: Siblings allegedly starved, shackled and taunted with food

“Our clients need time, space, and privacy while they receive services and begin the difficult process of rebuilding their lives,” Caleb Mason, an attorney for the siblings, said in a recent statement.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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