CA couple charged with chaining up kids lived in North Texas

Children held captive: Family once lived in North Texas

FORT WORTH -- A couple arrested for endangering and torturing their 13 children in California lived in North Texas just a few years ago.

According to online records, David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, have ties to Fort Worth, Burleson, and Rio Vista. 

David Allen Turpin has a 401(k) from Lockheed Martin, records show, and the family has unpaid medical bills out of Johnson and Tarrant Counties. They filed for bankruptcy in 2011. At that time, David Turpin worked as an engineer at Northrop Grumman.

Authorities in Perris, California, near Riverside, arrested the Turpins this week after they allegedly chained their children to beds in filthy conditions. One of their children, a 17-year-old girl, escaped from the home with a cell phone and called 911.

Officers say many of the victims, who range in age from 2 to 29, do not look their age because of their levels of emaciation. They were found "shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings," a police statement said.

“Everyone was super skinny, not athletic skinny but malnourished skinny,” said one of their California neighbors.

The Turpins have been charged with torture and child endangerment. Their bonds have been set at $9 million each.

All of the victims are being treated at area hospitals.

Rio Vista, Texas, is a town where almost everyone knows one another, so there were stories of the bizarre couple that lived in a home just outside of town.
 
"They were hoarders, and they moved themselves out of the house and moved into a mobile home they had here,” said one neighbor who asked not to be identified.

A woman who now lives in the house once owned by Louise and David Turpin told WFAA the family lived in the house with more than a dozen children.
 
"She never allowed her children to go outside and play. They homeschooled every one of them and one day they just up and left,” she told WFAA. 
 
Inside the home, the new owner said she found something unusual. “There are two vents in the closet, and they are covered up now," she said. 
 
Inside the master bedroom closet, there were vents. She wonders if the couple's children were locked in the closet.
  
And she said when the Turpin's left the home, it was filled with junk. There was so much stuff it was hard to walk inside. "When they left they up and left everything," she said. 
 
WFAA talked to residents who knew the Turpin's. They declined to talk but said the couple kept to themselves and they rarely saw the children.
 
Texas Child Protective Services told WFAA that they had no complaints about the family. Residents in Rio Vista said for years they wondered what was happening inside their home.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

© 2018 WFAA-TV


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