Four new felony charges have been filed against David Allen and Louise Anna Turpin, the parents whose 13 children were found shackled and malnourished in their “House of Horrors” California home last month.
The new charges include three new child abuse charges against the couple and one felony assault charge against Louise, according to the amended criminal complaint.
“Further investigation has led us to amend the complaint,” says Riverside County District Attorney PIO John Hall. “It could add more time to the exposure they are facing.”
The couple appeared Friday in Riverside Superior Court, where the new allegations were handed out and the original criminal complaint was amended. Like the previous numerous criminal charges in the alleged abuse of their 13 children (who range in age from 2 to 29), the parents maintain their innocence and the couple pleaded not guilty in response to the new charges.
Another court hearing is scheduled for March 23.
David Allen Turpin, 56, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, were arrested on Jan. 14 after their malnourished 17-year-old daughter climbed through one of the windows of their Perris, California, home, and called 911 using a disconnected cell phone she had found. The California couple have since pleaded not guilty to torture, abuse, and false imprisonment charges.
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They remain in police custody on $9 million bond. The prosecution has said the children will testify against their parents at trial.
Jack Osborn, a lawyer appointed to represent the interests of the seven eldest Turpin children, told PEOPLE on Friday that some of them are making decisions for themselves for the first time in their lives, representing a momentous achievement in their recovery from being allegedly imprisoned, tortured and starved for years.
“That in itself is a new experience for them, understanding that they do have rights and they do have a voice,” he said.
David and Louise’s children have also been exposed to entertainment and technology they’d been deprived of, reading Harry Potter books and using iPads. “That’s a big deal, deciding what they’re going to read, deciding what they’re going to wear, these are all things that are decisions they make every day that are new and empowering,” Osborn said.
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Corona Mayor Karen Spiegel, who is working closely with the siblings’ nurses, told PEOPLE, “They are warm and loving kids, even though they’re adults, we keep calling kids; they just have some growing up to do. They’re just behind but they’ll get through.”
“They are progressing well, and looking into the future, seeing where their lives could go and they have the support system,” Spiegel added. “They have the whole community behind them.”
Spiegel said that supporters of the siblings don’t refer to them as the Turpins because they don’t want to associate them with their parents. Instead, they are called “The Magnificent 13.”