The 13 children who were found imprisoned in their California home didn’t even know what a toothbrush was, according to a new report.
The Turpin brood was allegedly imprisoned and tortured by their parents Louise and David Turpin, abuse that started in the 90s in Texas.
The family later moved to Perris, about 90 miles west of Los Angeles, where officers responded earlier this month after one of the kids called 911 after escaping from the house.
When officers went inside they found squalid conditions, and some of the children chained using heavy chains and padlocks.
The children were rarely allowed outside and appear to have little knowledge of things commonly known by most people, with the toothbrush being the latest example.
“I don’t think the kids even knew what a toothbrush was,” Bobby Spiegel, president of the Corona Chamber of Commerce, told People magazine. “My understanding is the nurses had to teach the kids how to brush their teeth.”
The children were rushed to area hospitals, where staff focused on improving their physical conditions before bringing in psychologists to assess their mental states.
All 13 kids were severely malnourished. The oldest one, a 29-year-old girl, weighed just 82 pounds when she was discovered and officers initially believed she was 16 years old.
“They lack a basic knowledge of life,” Riverside County District Attorney Michael Hestrin told reporters last week. “Many of the children didn’t know what a police officer was. The 17-year-old, when asked if there was medication or pills in the home, didn’t know what medication or pills were.”
David and Louise Turpin are in jail and have been charged with torture, child abuse, unlawful imprisonment, and other crimes.
Both have pled not guilty.
Both face life in prison if convicted of the crimes.
Meanwhile, the uncle of the children is one of dozens of adults who have come forward offering to adopt them, as authorities work to sever the connection between the children and their parents.
Last week, the siblings who are still legally children were sent to a foster home, while those who are legally adults were transferred to an assisted living facility as officials figure out their final destinations.