Authorities in California are praising the bravery of a seventeen-year-old girl who used a deactivated cell phone to call for help to rescue her twelve brothers and sisters.
The 13 siblings, aged two to twenty-nine, were kept in “horrific” conditions by their parents, including some who were shackled to furniture, others who were starved.
Police are investigating the circumstances under which the parents, David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, had subjected their children to the abuse
Neighbours say there were hints the family was odd, but not to the point of concern:
"They were never mean, but the vibe I got was stay in your zone, and we'll stay in our zone" said neighbour Kimberly Milligan.
The couple's 17-year old daughter escaped through a window early on Sunday, and called for help.
She was so malnourished responding officers thought she was ten years old.
All of the children are being cared for now by medical personnel.
"They're very friendly, very cooperative, and I believe they're hopeful life will get better for them from this event," said Mark Uffer, CEO of Corona regional medical centre.
Louise Turpin's sister, Teresa Robinette said "we have really no connection with Louise for a long, long time, since we were young."
The parents are being held on 7-million-euro bail each and could face charges including torture and child endangerment.