true crime

Now they're away from evil, this is what life for the Turpin children looks like.

They lived in squalor for years, malnourished and filthy, some chained to furniture, with food strictly rationed and toys left torturously out of reach.

Now six weeks since their rescue, the 13 Turpin children are adapting to a strange new life of liberty, as their parents continue to deny any wrongdoing.

David and Louise Turpin plead not guilty to a further three counts of child abuse in a Californian court on Friday – that’s on top of the 37 counts of torture, false imprisonment, abuse of a dependent adult and child abuse levelled against them after their January 14 arrest. David Turpin has also pleaded not guilty to one count of lewd conduct with a minor.

David and Louise Turpin in court. Images: Getty.

The children, aged between two and 29, were freed from their Perris home by authorities after one managed to escape and contact emergency services. According to police, the 17-year-old had been so severely malnourished that she looked closer to 10.


All 13 siblings were taken to hospital for treatment, and according to US news network CBS the youngest are split between two foster homes while the seven adults are recovering nearby at Corona Regional Medical Center.

There they are reportedly being exposed to simple things denied to them during their adolescence; iPads, Harry Potter, musical instruments.

The Turpin's home also served as their school and their prison. Image: Getty.

The centre's CEO, Mark Uffer, told CNN the five women and two men "continue to be stable", and are learning to play the guitar and enjoy singing, which they are doing as a form of musical therapy.


"They all have good voices, beautiful voices," Uffer said. "The tears started running down the nurses' faces."

Lawyers Jack Osborn and Caleb Mason, who are representing the adult children, told CBS the adult children are also learning to make decisions on their own.

“That in itself is a new experience for them, understanding that they do have rights and they do have a voice,” Osborn said.

“That’s a big deal. Deciding what they’re going to read, deciding what they’re going to wear; these are all things that are decisions they make every day that are new and empowering.”

The medical centre has also established an outdoor area where the siblings can play sports and exercise, and while they have not yet been reunited with their younger brothers and sisters they reportedly communicate via Skype.

Corona mayor, Karen Spiegel, told CBS that the nurses taking care of the seven talk about "how warm and loving" they are.

"And appreciative," she said. "Some of them have never really seen a toothbrush before... Things that we just take for granted mean so much to these kids."

After the siblings' plight became international news, people around the world donated roughly US$570,000 to support the their medical expenses and education, according to Erin Phillips, a spokeswoman for the Riverside University Health System.

"It's been amazing the outpouring of love and sentiments," Phillips said. "It reminds us there is so much light in this world in contrast to such a dark case."

David and Louise Turpin will next face court on March 23. They are both being held in custody on US$12 million bail.