Thirteen siblings who were chained and held captive at a home southeast of Los Angeles have been rescued after one of them managed to escape, officials said on Monday. Their parents have been taken into custody.
The investigation began on early Sunday morning when a 17-year-old girl called 911, claiming that she and her 12 brothers and sisters were being held captive at a residence in Perris, a city in Riverside County, about 61 miles (98 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles.
Deputies responded to the home and found the girl, who officials say has the appearance of a 10-year-old. The officers were able to briefly talk with the girl before they were contacted by her parents, who were later identified as 57-year old David Allen Turpin and 49-year old Louise Anna Turpin.
"Further investigation revealed several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings," the sheriff's department said. "Deputies located what they believed to be 12 children inside the house, but were shocked to discover that 7 of them were actually adults."
The 13 victims, who range in age from 2 to 29 years, were freed by the officers and taken to a local police station, where they were provided with food after they said they were starving. "The victims appeared to be malnourished and very dirty," the sheriff's department said in a statement.
The victims were taken to area hospitals for further treatment.
Investigators said the girl who called police is believed to have escaped from the house and called 911 with a cell phone which she found inside the home. There was no immediate word on why the siblings were being held captive or for how long.
The parents ran a private school from their home, according to an online database of the California Department of Education, which lists David Turpin as the school's principal. The Sandcastle Day School was last reported to have six students.
Both parents were taken into custody on multiple counts of torture and child endangerment.
Published on January 15, 2018 - 5:55pm EST