According to reports, the horrific discovery was made on Monday after one of the children escaped from the house and called emergency services.
Officers from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department responded to the call, and inside the house, found “several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings,” a statement released by the police said.
When officers found the girl, 17, who made the call, she was emaciated and appeared to be about 10 years old.
In total, the police found 13 siblings in total living in the house, who at first all appeared to be minors and malnourished. They later discovered that seven were in fact adults, aged between 18 and 29. The youngest was 2.
The parents, David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, were arrested on suspicion of torture and child abuse.
Neighbours were shocked and struggled to grasp how such alleged cruelty could have occurred without anyone noticing.
“I thought the kids were home-schooled,” Kimberly Milligan, 50, who lives across the street from the family, said.
She said that there was much about the family that struck her as strange, and she often wondered why with so many children in the house, none played outside.
“You know something is off, but you don’t want to think bad of people,” she said.
Another neighbour also explained seeing something strange but did not want to get involved.
Gary Stein, 32, shared an incident that occurred several months ago.
According to Stein, code enforcement had visited the neighbourhood and cited homes with unkempt yards. One evening, neighbours saw a number of children out in front of the house, late at night working under floodlights putting sod in the yard.
He said that there were two adults and about four or five children who looked relatively young, around 10 years old.
“I thought it was weird, but I’m the kind of guy that doesn’t want to get in anybody’s business,” he said.
The parents are being held in jail in lieu of $9-million bail.