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Parents of 13 children held captive in California plead 'not guilty'

20 January 2018

Of the 12 children discovered in the home, deputies were "shocked to discover" that seven were actually adults, ranging in age from 18 to 29, the department said.

WATCH: David and Louise Turpin were arrested after locking up their 13 children inside their home in Perris, California.

The older teen called 911 for help with a cellphone she had found inside the house, Hestrin said. They said the kids would emerge occasionally at the same time to work on the lawn and would head back in together.

Officials say at least seven of the victims went to the hospital, where they were fed.

He said they were also beaten and choked.

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The charges include torture, abuse of a dependent adult, child abuse or neglect and false imprisonment.

All 13 children were severely malnourished, with the oldest child, a 29-year-old woman, weighing just 37kg. "They're in good hands, they're being cared for, their wellbeing is being looked at, their health is being looked at".

"None could shower a few times a year". None of the 13 siblings had ever seen a dentist and none had seen a doctor in more than four years.

"One of the reasons you want to deprive a hostage of food, of nutrition, is because mind control becomes easier when somebody's physical state of being is weakened", he said. One victim at one point was tied up and hogtied, and when that victim was able to escape the ropes ...

David and Lousie Turpin fronted court and each face 94 years to life in prison if convicted. "We are fully prepared to seek justice in this case and to do so in a way that protects all of these victims from further harm".

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A neighbour told CNN that the children "were very, very pale-skinned, nearly like they've never seen the sun".

Captain Greg Fellows described conditions at the home as "horrific" but also said Louise Turpin did not seem to understand why police were visiting her home.

The group were found in a neighbourhood of closely spaced one and two-storey, single-family homes.

The raid on the house came after authorities received an emergency call from their 17-year-old sister who had managed to escape.

Another of Louise Turpin's sisters, Teresa Robinette, told NBC News: "We always thought she was living the flawless life".

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Parents of 13 children held captive in California plead 'not guilty'