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Calif. county received "not one" call about couple accused of torturing children

California abuse case

PERRIS, Calif. -- As David and Louise Turpin face 75 counts of child abuse, torture and neglect of their 13 children, more information is coming out about what happened once the siblings were rescued. Mary Parks, spokesperson for the Riverside County Department of Social Services said that of the 60,000 calls they received last year, "not one" was about the Turpins.

"We did not get one phone call nor did the police department," Parks said. "And we have staffs, teams of professionals, that man our hotlines 24/7, trained to take those calls."      

A source close to the investigation tells CBS News:

  • All of the 13 siblings had diminished mental capacity
  • The 17-year-old girl has a first-grade-level education
  • They are all extremely pale, scared and skittish
  • After being freed, they specifically asked social workers if they could stay together.
  • They didn't ask anything about their parents.
  • They were, according to our source, astounded that people wanted to help them.
  • After receiving clothing, some described being "honored" to finally have shoes of their own.
  • Eventually, investigators could get a window into their world -- every child kept a journal.  Several boxes of journals were recovered inside the home.  

One thing county officials have been weighing is what happens next for the six children who are over 18 -- no longer minors.      

Susan von Zabern, the director of the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services, said they "will be seeking authorization for the adult children as well as the minor children, and if conservatorship is necessary, that is what we will be seeking."

CBS News has just learned that someone in Southern California has volunteered to take in and adopt all 13 of the kids and adults and their release to that family could happen as early as Monday. The seven adult siblings are currently being cared for at a local hospital.  

The six minor siblings are also together at another hospital. CBS News has been told that physically, they're doing well, despite their horrifying ordeal.  

Bail for the parents has been set at $12 million each. Prosecutors said the abuse started when the family was living in Texas, but the plan to escape was hatched about two years ago.

Prosecutors said the 17-year-old escaped out of a window on Sunday morning, taking a sibling with her. That sibling got scared and went back inside -- but that didn't derail the plan.

Prosecutors said that in addition to the beatings, the siblings were also restrained with ropes. 

"These defendants eventually began using chains and padlocks to chain up the victims to their bed," said Riverside District Attorney Mike Hestrin. "These punishments would last months at a time."

They allege the siblings were not allowed to use the bathroom, they were allowed to take only one shower a year and were only allowed to wash their hands above the wrist. They were fed very little and were on a strict schedule.

"The 29-year-old female victim weighs 82 pounds," Hestrin said. 

The parents were also accused of taunting them, such as putting pies on the counter and not letting them eat it. The siblings had not seen a doctor in years, and they had never seen a dentist. Workers say their adjustment to society will be challenging.

"They lack a basic knowledge of life -- many of the children didn't a know what a police officer was," Hestrin said. 

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