PEOPLE Explains: 6 Notable Recent Developments in the House of Horrors Case
It was a case that made international headlines — and it's not over
It’s a case that made international headlines — and it’s not over.
In January, David and Louise Turpin were arrested in Perris, California, after authorities said almost all of their children had been held captive in the family home and tortured.
The kids, who ranged in age from 2 to 29 at the time their parents were taken into custody, were found in squalid conditions after one of the siblings escaped and called 911. Of the 13 Turpin children, only the youngest — a toddler — was somewhat spared from the abuse and captivity, prosecutors have said.
David and Louise, 56 and 49 respectively, were quickly taken into custody in mid-January, where they remain in lieu of bond as their prosecution proceeds. They have pleaded not guilty to the numerous charges against them, including torture, abuse and false imprisonment.
Meanwhile their children have been healing and adjusting to new lives.
Information continues to come to light about the Turpins’ lives before January as David and Louise have faced an increasing number of criminal charges.
Here are six recent notable developments in the case.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
1. Adult Turpin Siblings Living in Rural Calif. Home
The seven adult Turpin children moved together to a home in rural California after being released from the Corona Regional Medical Center in mid-March, their lawyer said.
Attorney Jack Osborn told ABC News that the siblings were released on March 15 and quietly transported to their new residence, where they were reunited with their family dogs and able to make decisions for themselves. They each have their own rooms with their own closets, Osborn said at the time.
The adult siblings, ABC News reported, were taken by Osborn to their new home. The location is not being made public.
“The adult siblings want to be known as survivors, not victims,” Osborn said. Many locals who have been following the case have taken to affectionately calling the Turpin children “The Magnificent 13.”
2. Inside ‘Emotional’ Goodbye Party Hospital Staff Threw for Adult Siblings
For more than two months, the staff at the Corona Regional Medical Center came to know and love the adult Turpin children as the siblings were nursed back to health.
While their eventual discharge from the hospital was a joyous occasion in many ways, according to CRMC’s chief executive officer, saying goodbye was not easy.
“It was emotional for the staff and emotional for them,” Mark Uffer told PEOPLE. “This has been their home away from wherever they were at before, so it was a little bit tough for them and the staff.”
According to Uffer, the staff at the hospital in Corona, California, knew of the siblings’ impending departure, giving them ample time to plan a going-away party.
“We served them lunch and had cake for them,” Uffer said. “The nurses that provided the care for them and the physicians that provided care for them actually got to spend time with them before they left.”
The adult Turpin children had pizza and sandwiches during the farewell party.
“They got to sing on a karaoke machine — they love to sing and love to interact with people,” Uffer said. “They can sense people that actually care for them so they were very attached.”
The status of the six minor Turpin children is less clear. Authorities said in January that they were being treated at a different facility from their older siblings, though the two groups have reportedly kept in touch via Skype.
3. Uncle ‘Can’t Wait to Talk’ to Siblings as They Leave Hospital
“I am happy and I hope they are happy and I can’t wait to talk to them and hopefully see them,” Lambert, Louise Turpin’s half-brother, told PEOPLE.
“I think them getting out will be good for their healing process,” Lambert said. “I think it is definitely a positive thing. I love the kids and can’t wait to talk to them and see how they are doing.”
He said then he was hoping to talk to his nieces and nephews in the next few weeks after he underwent a background check.
“I feel like they are in a good spot,” he added. “I feel like they have a lot more freedom now. It is a step in the right direction.”
4. Siblings Hope to Attend College
“They are all bright and articulate and incredibly eager to study,” Caleb Mason, an attorney for the seven adult Turpin siblings, told PEOPLE in late March. “The thing they want more than anything else is an education.”
The first step, Mason said then, would be obtaining their GEDs or high-school diplomas. He was working with local university officials to “put together an educational plan for all of them” and said the siblings “for the most part have not had any kind of formal schooling.”
The siblings don’t plan to take classes via the internet, however. Kept for so long in apparent seclusion in their family’s home, their goal is to be “fully engaged students” not unlike anyone else in the classroom, Mason said.
5. House of Horrors Mom Seems ‘Almost in a Daze’ in Jail: Sister
Louise’s sister Elizabeth Flores claimed in a TV interview on March 12 that she appeared “almost at peace” and “in a daze” during an earlier jail visit.
What’s more, Flores said on The Dr. Oz Show: “[Louise is] not who I grew up with. Something’s not clicking right in the head, something’s not right. It’s all ‘woe is me.’ ”
Flores and cousin Tricia Andreassen met with David and Louise in separate conversations from behind bars in California. Andreassen and Flores described those interactions on Dr. Oz.
“I was kind of shocked,” Flores said. “I figured that her [Louise’s] main concern would be the children.” Asked if she believed Louise was sick, Flores said she did.
“She was almost in a daze, like everything’s going to be alright, like she was just — I didn’t see evilness at all, almost at peace,” Flores said.
She explained: “My sister, she’s living a fantasy and she wants to keep it all hidden. She’s playing a game.”
Flores and Andreassen also met with David, who they said acted in a strikingly different manner than his wife.
“I am so glad that Louise asked me to see him,” Flores said. “I needed that, for me. When I went in there, I immediately saw that he knew he had done wrong, he was remorseful, he cried the whole entire time. It wasn’t fake.”
David was like “a little boy that was ready to confess everything he had done,” Flores said.
“He kept saying, ‘I wish I could tell you about what we’ve done, what happened.’ … He had been advised not to,” she claimed.
6. What’s Ahead in Court for the Parents: ‘a Mini-Trial’
David and Louise are scheduled to return to court for a hearing on May 4, when they and prosecutors could possibly agree on a date for the preliminary hearing for the impending trial.
At the preliminary hearing, prosecutors say, is when they will be required to present enough evidence to substantiate the charges against the Turpins.
“It is a mini-trial of sorts, but no jury and the evidence only needs to be sufficient for a judge to decide to hold a defendant over for trial,” John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s office, told PEOPLE.
Hestrin has reportedly said that, should the case go to trial, some of the Turpin children will be called to testify against their parents.
“The allegations carry life in state prison,” Louise’s attorney, Jeff Moore, told PEOPLE in January. “In terms of possible sentences, this is about as serious as it gets.”
“What we would like the public to know is that our clients are presumed to be innocent,” an attorney for David has said, according to ABC News, “and that’s a very important presumption.”