Grandparents of 13 Shackled Siblings Said Kids 'Looked Thin' But Seemed 'Happy'

Grandparents of the 13 California siblings found shackled to their beds and allegedly abused and malnourished say they are "surprised and shocked" to hear of the charges brought against the kids' parents.

David Allen Turpin, 57, and his 49-year-old wife Louise Anna Turpin were arrested Monday on suspicion of torture and child endangerment after their 17-year-old daughter "escaped" their house and called 911 on Sunday. The daughter reported that her 12 siblings were being held captive by their parents — and that some of them were bound with chains and padlocks — according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

Reacting to the news, James and Betty Turpin, David's parents, told ABC News on Tuesday of their disbelieve. They said they spoke to David once or twice a month, though had not visited their son or their grandchildren in four or five years.

On their last visit to Perris, California, about 27 miles south of San Bernardino, the grandparents said the children — ages 2 to 29 — "looked thin," but seemed like a "happy family."

David and Louise Turpin were booked on suspicion of nine counts of torture and 10 counts of child endangerment. Both are being held at the Robert Presley Detention Center on $9 million bail. They have yet to enter a plea, and a hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 18.

Deputies interviewed the parents at their Muir Woods Road home and found "several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings," Monday's release stated.

The parents were "unable to immediately provide a logical reason why their children were restrained in that manner," according to the release.

Deputies were "shocked to discover that seven of them were actually adults, ranging in age from 18 to 29," as the victims appeared to be malnourished and dirty, a press release stated.

The siblings were taken to the Sheriff's office and questioned, and were also given food and drink after they told investigators they were "starving."

The six juveniles were later taken to the Riverside University Hospital System. The seven adult children were transported to Corona Regional Medical Center and admitted for medical treatment. Their conditions aren't immediately known.

Some neighbors said they were shocked to learn the family had as many children in the house as they did, and adding it was almost as if "they'd never seen the sun."

"Everybody was super skinny, not athletic skinny but malnourished skinny," neighbor Josh Tiedeman told ABC News.

Neighbor Wendy Martinez said the allegedly neglected Turpin family members appeared to be younger than their actual ages.


"They were saying they're older," she said, "but they look very young."