LOS ANGELES, Calif. (FOX 11) - David and Louise Turpin, the California couple convicted of torturing and abusing 12 of their 13 children inside their home in Perris, were sentenced to life in prison on Friday with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
The couple pleaded guilty in February to torture and other abuse and neglect so severe it stunted their children’s growth, led to muscle wasting and left two girls unable to bear children.
Two of their children spoke during the sentencing Friday, with powerful messages to both of their parents.
“My parents took my whole life from me, but now I’m taking my whole life back. I’m in college now and living independently,” the couple's daughter said. “Life may have been bad, but it made me strong.”
The couple's son who spoke thanked his parents for teaching him about God and faith, adding, "I hope they never lose their faith. God looks at the heart and I know that he sees theirs.”
He went on to describe the turmoil that he faced, but concluded by telling his parents that he forgave them.
“I cannot describe in words what we went through growing up. Sometimes I still have nightmares of things that had happened, such as my siblings being chained up or getting beaten," their son said. "But that is the past and this is now. I love my parents and have forgiven them for a lot of the things they did to us.”
The couple had imprisoned their 13 children for years but on January 14, 2018, one of their children escaped, and contacted law enforcement who, upon entering the home, discovered a "house of horrors." Inside the home, deputies discovered one of the couple's children chained to a bed and two others had just been set free from their shackles. The house was covered in filth and the stench of human waste was overwhelming, deputies said.
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- Judge orders no contact with children in Perris torture case
- Cops may bring in cadaver dogs to search for possible remains of other kids at 'house of horrors'
- David and Louise Turpin plead guilty to 14 charges in child-torture, abuse case
- Turpin's sentencing: California couple who shackled children face up to life in prison
Before their 17-year-old daughter escaped from the home in a middle-class section of the city of Perris, about 60 miles southeast of Los Angeles, the Turpins had lived largely out of view.
David Turpin, 57, had been an engineer for Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. Louise Turpin, 50, was listed as a housewife in a 2011 bankruptcy filing.
The couple's children told authorities that they were only allowed to eat once a day and shower once a year. The evidence of starvation was obvious, deputies said the oldest of 13 siblings, a 29-year-old woman, weighed just 82 pounds. Some of the siblings appeared to lack basic knowledge of the world, being unfamiliar with what medicine and police were.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.