Turpin case: Siblings allegedly starved, shackled and taunted with food

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David and Louise Turpin, accused of abusing their children for years, were arrested after the victims were found Sunday at their home in Perris.

Despite allegations of subjecting thier family to horrific abuse, The Turpin parents appear to be obsessed with all-things Disney. The parents at a time lived apart from the children and dropped off food from time to time.

How unusual is it to lock up your own children?

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Investigators are poring over hundreds of journals kept by the children inside that house of horrors.

"You're exhausted, your ability to stand up for yourself is at its limits", said Dr Roy Lubit, a New York-based child psychiatrist with expertise in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. And she said, 'I feel so very fortunate with the experiences I've had in life as I see this unfolding before me'.

Chillingly, Ashley says they heard other "whimpering sounds" coming from the home but could not track down their source. "We tend to think of this as women being coerced into action by a man, as it is more common, but that is not always true".

"As a prosecutor, there are cases that stick with you, that will haunt you", District Attorney Mike Hestrin said. "What started out as neglect became severe, pervasive, prolonged child abuse".

The Turpin siblings, seven adults and six children, likely need years of therapy, psychological experts said, adding that if possible it would be best to keep them together.

Prof Browne says a situation can suddenly get worse because the perpetrators want to hide a family secret, perhaps relating to the abuse. "So what they pick up from us as a group of providers in this hospital is going to be the stepping stone for the future, adjustment to life".

Prosecutors said circumstantial evidence showed the children were not released from their chains to go to the toilet. I don't agree with what she did and her actions [have] made the whole family suffer.

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Jennifer Green, a former neighbor who visited the home on Thursday with her three children, told the Press-Enterprise that she would have done something "if we had known". At the time, those owners thought the marks might have been from pets, but now aren't sure. The parents would then accuse the siblings of "playing in the water" and then punish them.

"There is no indication of mental illness affecting either parent", he said.

Questions were raised regarding religious zealotry, or even cult-like behavior by the parents, but Fellows said the investigation was still in the early stages, and he had no information about the suspects' affiliations. "Child victims may, in turn, feel that it is "all their fault".

But Peris City spokesman Joseph Vargo said the dogs "are in good condition, very active and friendly".

How can such levels of abuse be unknown?

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The health of the pets is a stark contrast to that of the Turpin children, who police said were so malnourished that their growth had been stunted, leading to muscle wasting and cognitive impairment. "You could tell they were terrified".

In the Turpin case, the children appear not to have had access to help.

David Turpin apparently ran a small school out of his home.

Dr Danya Glaser, a London-based child and adult psychiatrist, said home-schooling can allow children to go completely off the social radar.

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