A California father accused of shackling and starving his 13 children for years alongside his wife says he hopes the kids will forgive him.
David and Louise Turpin last week pleaded guilty to 14 criminal charges in a deal that prosecutors say will likely keep them in prison for the rest of their lives.
The children, ages 2 to 29 at the time, were severely underweight and had not bathed for months.
They described being beaten, starved and put in cages.
Despite this, David’s sister, Elzabeth Flores, has revealed he still hoped his children would forgive him.
“He kept hoping the kids would come visit him in jail,” she told Radar Online.
“He was telling me that no matter what happened with him, he hoped that he still had a relationship with his kids.”
The couple was arrested in January 2018 after their 17-year-old daughter jumped out a window of their home and called 911.
She pleaded with a dispatcher for help, saying two of her younger sisters and a brother were chained to a bed.
Police who arrived at the address in a middle-class section of the city of Perris, about 96 kilometres southeast of Los Angeles, found what quickly became known as “the House of Horrors”.
Prosecutors said the victims had been denied proper nutrition, basic hygiene and medical care, and were harshly punished for perceived infractions such as wasting water by washing their hands above the wrist.
The couple was also accused of taunting their children with pies and other food that they were forbidden to eat.
David’s parents James and Betty Turpin, from West Virginia, have said in media interviews their son and daughter-in-law were a deeply religious couple who home-schooled their children and required them to memorise Bible scripture.
The children, whose ages now range from 3 to 30, are in the care of child and adult protection agencies.
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