Heartbreaking new details have emerged in the case of the Tupin family's "House of Horrors," including how one child was emotionally tortured via the death of her beloved cat. David and Louise Turpin pleaded guilty to multiple felony counts, including the torture and false imprisonment of their 13 children. Now, one of the prosecutors in the case has shared details in an in an interview with PEOPLE.
Kevin Beecham, a Riverside County Deputy District Attorney, worked on the case against David and Louise Turpin. He and other prosecutors gathered evidence that they had imprisoned, abused and starved their children for a period of about ten years. One of the most harrowing stories he shared was about the oldest Turpin sibling, who had a pet cat back when the family lived in the Fort Worth, Texas area. Beecham explained how the girl's cat was thrown to a pack of wild dogs outside their rural home.
"She was caught stealing or taking some food from the fridge or pantry, and her mom told her to bring her cat and so Mom put the cat outside, and made her daughter watch as these dogs literally ate the cat in front of her, tore apart the cat and killed it," Beecham revealed. He added that the girl was around 9 years old at the time.
This was just one instance of the "psychological torment" that prosecutors say was inflicted on the Turpin children — in addition to physical abuse. They believe that the Turpins began turning violent towards their kids around 2010, and continued until 2018, when one girl escaped and alerted the authorities. Some of their abuse included beating, strangling and starving their offspring, as well as keeping them tied or chained up for long periods of time.
Beecham said that the Turpin children were forbidden to socialize even with each other while inside their home in Perris, California. "They were supposed to sit down or lay down in their room," he said, "they weren't even supposed to stand." He also revealed a more subtle form of abuse — the constant beeping of smoke detectors with low batteries.
"There's that annoying beep, that loud beep," Beecham explained. "That's what you heard all throughout the house. The psychiatrist explained that's one mechanism that torturers would institute to try to keep control by using sounds."
One of the Turpins' teenage daughters escaped from their house in California in 2018 and contacted police. Authorities discovered all 12 of her siblings inside, malnourished and chained to beds or other furniture. They ranged in age from 2 to 29 years old. Last year, David and Louise Turpin pleaded guilty to the charges laid against them. Both are now serving a 25 years-to-life sentence in prison.