Newly released footage shows the moment the 13 siblings imprisoned by their parents in California were rescued by police officers.
The CCTV footage emerged on Jan. 23, nine days after the scene unfolded in Perris, about 70 miles east of Los Angeles.
Officers rushed to the house after receiving a call from one of the siblings, who had escaped and made use of an old phone she had squirreled away in the home. Another sibling had also escaped, but returned to the home out of fear.
When officers found the home and went inside, they found some of the children chained to beds and other large objects and all of the children—ranging in age from 2 to 29—malnourished and confused.
The footage is grainy but shows for the first time the immediate aftermath of the shocking discovery, and appears to show an officer carrying a younger child while older children are able to walk without help.
As the brood flees the home that they rarely were able to leave, an officer standing in the driveway ushers them to safety.
Prosecutors said that David and Louise Turpin began abusing their children in the early 90s and ramped up their twisted methods until the rescue.
Both have been charged with torture, unlawful imprisonment, abuse on a dependent, and child abuse. Each face up to life in prison, although both have denied all the charges against them.
“What we would like the public to know is that our clients are presumed to be innocent and that’s a very important presumption,” David Macher, one of the lawyers for David Turpin, told ABC. “We’re going to provide a vigorous defense.”
Allegations that have emerged since that fateful day of rescue include the parents making the children stay up most of the night and sleep from 5 a.m. through most of the day, the parents only allowing the children to do little but write in journals, and the parents only feeding them once a day.
As an example of the extreme neglect and abuse foisted upon the children, officials said that the oldest of the 13, aged 29, weighed only 82 pounds when rescued.
Officers who rescued the family mistakenly thought that the oldest sibling was 10 years old, and were “shocked” when they discovered the real ages of the older siblings, according to a news release from the local sheriff.
All of the children have undergone intense revitalization treatments at local hospitals as workers seek to restore at least part of their health. Once their physical health has been somewhat restored, visits with psychologists are scheduled.