Turpin sentencing: Abusive parents who shackled children to bed for 17 years are jailed

Victoria Gagliardo-Silver

David and Louise Turpin, the parents of the 13 children who were found starved, abused, and shackled to beds in California, will be sentenced today.

The couple were charged with 12 counts of torture, 7 counts of abuse of a dependent, 6 counts of child abuse, 12 counts of false imprisonment - and one count of a lewd act on a child against David Turpin.

The Turpin children were rescued after one of the siblings, aged 17, made a daring escape from the family home and called police using a deactivated cell phone. She was so malnourished that authorities believed she was around 10-years-old.

Although the couple had originally pleaded not guilty, they later took a plea deal that has them each face a sentence of 25 years to life in prison, agreeing to the maximum possible sentence.

The plea agreement assured that the parents pleaded guilty to one count per child, and spared the children from having to recount their abuse in court.

The children, whose ages ranged from 2 to 29, were forced to live in dangerous and dirty conditions.

12 of the 13 were malnourished, sexually abused, and physically abused. They were only permitted to shower once annually, and were often shackled to their beds as punishment for weeks, sometimes months, only occasionally being freed to use the bathroom.

The parents, while starving the children and feeding them one meal per day, would tempt the children with sweets and new toys that they would face punishment for touching.

The youngest Turpin child, aged two, did not seem to be mistreated.