House of Horrors Siblings Were Comforted by Dog While Facing Down Parents in Court
The victims took turns petting the 3-year-old golden Labrador, who sat quietly by their side
Several children abused for years by their parents in a California home that became known as the “House of Horrors” confronted them at their sentencing last Friday — and they had some four-legged moral support as they addressed the court.
A yellow Labrador named Raider sat beside them as they told their harrowing stories. According to the city of Corona’s website, Raider “is highly trained and knows 40 commands. [He] uses those commands and his special skill set to comfortably and safely interact with all community members regardless of their ability levels or adaptive needs.”
CNN reports that Raider been meeting with the siblings ever since their parents were arrested early last year.
Sgt. Adam Roulston, one of Raider’s handlers, told CNN that one of the children had asked if Raider could be with them at the sentencing. They took turns petting him throughout the day.
The children needed the moral support on a rough day. Their parents, David and Louise Turpin, were sentenced to 25 years to life in prison after they each pleaded guilty to 14 felony counts including cruelty to an adult dependent, child cruelty, torture and false imprisonment in Riverside Superior Court.
The sentence came 15 months after the Turpins were arrested on Jan. 14, 2018 after their then 17-year-old daughter escaped their home and called 911 on an out-of-service cellphone.
Responding officers found a scene of malnutrition and squalor at the Turpin residence, with some of the children chained to the furniture. Prosecutors said the parents beat, strangled and starved the kids in an intensifying cycle of abuse dating back to at least 2010 when the family lived in Texas.
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Finally, late last week, it was time for the Turpins to face their children.
One of the couple’s daughters, who was called Jane Doe No. 4 in court, told the packed courtroom that her parents had taken “my whole life away from me, but now I am taking it back.”
She said she is now in college, lives independently and has friends.
“I believe everything happens for a reason,” she said. “I fought to become the person I am. I saw my dad change my mom. They almost changed me but I realized what was happening and I immediately did what I could to not become like them. I am a fighter. I am strong and I am shooting through life like a rocket.”
The couple’s son, Joshua, who said he is studying software engineering at a nearby college and recently learned how to ride a bike, told the court he still has nightmares, but added he has forgiven his parents for the years of abuse.
“I cannot describe in words what we went through growing up,” he said. “Sometimes I still have nightmares of things that had happened — such as my siblings being chained up or beaten — but that is the past and this is now. I love my parents and have forgiven them for a lot of the things they did to us.”