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  1. ITV Report

California police find 13 siblings held captive 'with chains and padlocks' by parents

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Juliet Bremner

The parents of a California family were arrested on Sunday after police discovered 13 siblings held prisoner, some tied to their beds “with chains and padlocks."

Police held Louise Anna Turpin, 49, and her husband David Allen Turpin, 57, on charges of child endangerment and torture.

The victims, aged between 2 and 29, were found in a house in Perris, an hour’s drive south-east of Los Angeles.

Officers are now holding the parents on charges of torture and child endangerment.

The Turpins held a wedding ceremony in 2016. Credit: Facebook/CBS

Police discovered the captives when an emaciated 17-year-old girl managed to escape her bondage and raise the alarm using a mobile phone in the house.

She told police her 12 brothers and sisters were being held captive inside by her parents.

"Shocked" authorities said they found "several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings" without food or water.

Seven of the prisoners were adults aged between 18 and 29.

The couple have been held on charges of child endangerment and torture. Credit: Facebook/CBS

All of the captives were "malnourished and very dirty", Riverside County Sheriff's Department said.

Officers gave the victims food and water before all 13 were taken to a local hospital.

Captain Greg Fellows, of Perris Police Department, said investigators could no explanation at this stage why the children had been held against their will.

He said the 17-year-old girl had showed "courage" to escape and alert authorities.

The family house in Perris, an hour’s drive south-east of Los Angeles. Credit: CBS

A neighbour told ABC news: "They were very very pale-skinned, like they had never seen the sun. It was mostly girls, they were tiny."

Neighbours told CBS News said they had only seen the children a couple of times, once looking for food in dustbins and another time landscaping the yard at night.

"The kids were not sociable at all," one neighbour said. "They didn't want to look at people, they were just doing what they're doing and no contact with society."

Another neighbour said: "One day, when I driving in about 10.30, 11 o'clock at night, they were out in the front yard and you could tell that they were cautious, they didn't want to look at people."

Police said neither parent was able to give an explanation as to why their children were locked up.

Bail was set at £6.5m each.