Officials in San Bernardino County, California, will reportedly bring in cadaver dogs to determine if any children had died inside a home where 13 brothers and sisters were being kept under allegedly horrific conditions.
David and Louise Turpin have been accused neglecting and torturing their 13 children. It’s been alleged that they starved their children, chained them to furniture, beat them, and wouldn’t allow them to use the bathroom. Some of the children didn’t understand the concept of medicine or a police officer.
Crime Watch Daily reported, citing sources familiar with the investigation, that Riverside County Sheriff’s Homicide Detectives are looking to send in cadaver dogs to the Turpins’ home.
“Authorities want to know if it’s possible that there may have been other children. Those discussions also include performing DNA tests to determine if all of the children are related,” the report stated.
David Turpin, 56, and Louise Turpin, 49 were both charged with 12 counts of torture. They could face decades in prison if they’re convicted. Last week, they pleaded not guilty to the charges. Their next court date is Feb. 23.
Riverside County District Attorney Michael Hestrin said that some of the children had psychological and nerve damage from being tied up for prolonged periods of time, while he said that frequent beatings and strangulation took place in the home.
He said that the kids have never seen a dentist.
Hestrin also said that the children were allowed to keep journals, and those will likely be instrumental in a case against their parents, according to USA Today. The journals, he said, will give “strong evidence of what occurred in that home.”
“I will tell you as a prosecutor, there are cases that stick with you. They haunt you,” Hestrin said. “Sometimes in this business we are faced with human depravity. That is what we are looking at here.”
Neighbors of the Turpins, when they lived in Texas, suspected the parents were up to no good.
“When they moved in, they were really mysterious people. They didn’t talk to us or socialize,” said Ricky Vinyard. They lived in a remote town 50 miles south of Fort Worth.
He said one of the older girls attempted to run away but was returned by a local resident. He The family stacked a dumpster in their yard, and trash piled up everywhere, he said. Meanwhile, David Turpin was seen shooting at cans with his pistol, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“As time went on, it got worse and worse,” Vinyard said.
Vinyard said that he didn’t call the local authorities because “we didn’t want to have the repercussions with them,” adding that Turpin was armed.
Daughter Barbara Vinyard, 19, and their sister played with the children several times, but they wouldn’t tell them their names.
“We had to guess them basically, and the kids didn’t like that either,” she said. “The next time we saw them walking down the street, one sibling said to the other, ‘We can’t talk to them anymore, remember?’”
When they moved out, Ricky Vinyard said that he walked inside a double-wide trailer on the property. “It was waist-deep in filth. There were dead dogs and cats in there,” he said.
Vinyard said he wishes that he reported their neighbors to the authorities.
“I feel really guilty we didn’t,” he said.