In 2019, David and Louise Turpin pleaded guilty to multiple felony counts including torture and false imprisonment and are now serving prison sentences of 25 years to life.

By Christine Pelisek
April 10, 2020 01:50 PM

Before moving to a home in California, that became known as the “House of Horrors,” the children of Louise and David Turpin siblings lived in a filthy, rundown home in Texas filled with rats and snakes.

Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Kevin Beecham, who worked the case that led to the parents’ being imprisoned, spoke about the unsanitary conditions of one of the Turpins’ previous homes.

“These rats would get into the house, and so the snakes would get into the house to eat the rats,” Beecham tells PEOPLE.

Beecham adds the siblings had a hose, and that whenever “they needed to get from the room to the bathroom, they put the hose down to try to scare these snakes and the rats away so they wouldn’t step on them in the middle of the night. It was crazy.”

Beecham says the Turpin siblings eventually moved out of the house to a trailer on the property after the home became “uninhabitable.”

One of the Turpin kids, he says, tried to clean the house but was beat “senselessly at that point just for cleaning up.”

Credit: Courtesy Billy Lambert

The years of torture, abuse and malnutrition the Turpin kids endured at the hands of their parents came to light in January of 2018 when two of their daughters decided to escape their Perris, California, house. One went first, and two minutes later, the other followed. One got lost and returned to the house, but the other called 911 — bringing the police.

David Turpin
| Credit: IRFAN KHAN/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Inside, officers found a scene of malnutrition and squalor, with one of the Turpin boys chained to his bed.

Prosecutors said the parents beat, strangled and starved their kids — who ranged in age from 2 to 29 at the time of their rescue — in an intensifying cycle of abuse dating back to at least 2010, when the family lived in the Fort Worth area of Texas.

Louise Turpin
| Credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

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Beecham, who worked closely with the siblings and saw them twice a month when he was preparing a case against their parents, says investigators found a “mountain of evidence” inside the Turpin’s Perris home, which included chains, video footage and filth.

According to Beecham, the children endured daily “psychological torment” from their parents.

The kids were forbidden to socialize with each other, and when they were caught trying to take food, they were chained to their filthy beds. They were also banned from exercising.

“They were supposed to sit down or lay down in their room,” says Beecham. “They weren’t even supposed to stand.”

David and Louise Turpin

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Beecham also says that all smoke detector batteries in the Perris home were either low or out. “There’s that annoying beep, that loud beep,” he says. “That’s what you heard all throughout the house. The psychiatrist explained that’s one mechanism that torturers would institute to try to keep control by using sounds.”

Investigators also found thousands of clothing items Louise bought for herself with the tags still on — yet “the teenage girls had one item of clothing apiece, and then their pajamas. And of course, underwear that they’ve been wearing for like six months at a time,” Beecham.

In 2019, David and Louise Turpin pleaded guilty to multiple felony counts including torture and false imprisonment and are now serving prison sentences of 25 years to life.