As more details surface from the California "House of Horrors" of David and Louise Turpin and the 13 children they allegedly kept in captivity, former neighbors of the family continue to speak out. According to the Los Angeles Times, neighbors like Mike Clifford notes he saw the children exhibiting strange behavior, like walking in circles at night.
Clifford says the siblings would walk in front of the windows at night. At the time, he thought the children (ages 2-29 when discovered this month) might have special needs and that the walking was part of some therapy. Or, perhaps it was just their routine.
In light of the discovery of their captivity, he now wonders if that was a red flag he should not have ignored. Still, he says that some normalcy was displayed and that his wife often spoke in passing to two Turpin daughters when checking the mail.
Others described the family as friendly, even purchasing multiple boxes of Girl Scout cookies, but just "private." Like Clifford, those neighbors wonder if they should have seen that the Turpin children were in trouble. "It's a very sad situation and we all feel it, we all feel grief over the whole thing," said Sherri Kreissig, the president of the Monument Park neighborhood watch. "We hope that we could have helped in some way."
Earlier this month, a 17-year-old Turpin daughter fled the home and authorities rescued the siblings. She had been planning her escape for two years. Upon further investigation, allegations surfaced that the parents starved and abused their children, including keeping food and basic hygiene away from them. “They would buy apple pies [and] pumpkin pies, put them on counter, let the children to look at it, but not allow the children to eat the food," says a District Attorney.
The Turpins have pled not guilty to multiple felony charges, including torture, child abuse, abuse of dependent adults and false imprisonment. The father, David Turpin, has also pled not guilty to an additional charge of committing a lewd act on one of the female children by force, according to The Washington Post.
The community is now helping the children to acclimate to life outside the home. In addition to financial donations, local services are helping the children learn things like how to brush their teeth.
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