City officials could not find records that the fire department performed the required annual inspections at a California home that functioned as a private school where authorities say that 13 malnourished siblings were allegedly held captive in filthy conditions by their parents.
In response to a request for public records from The Associated Press, Perris City Clerk Assistant Judy Haughney said Wednesday there were no records of fire inspections conducted at home. The city's fire chief, Dave Martinez, did not return repeated telephone messages asking for comments.
David Allen Turpin and his wife, Louise Anna Turpin, were arrested on Sunday after authorities found malnourished children in their home in the Los Angeles suburb. The couple was incarcerated with bail of $ 9 million each. The charges that may include torture and danger for children could come on Wednesday and the hearing in court is scheduled for Thursday, authorities said.
Deputies said that some brothers were handcuffed to the furniture in the smelly house in suburban Riverside County. They were so malnourished that the elders still looked like children.
The arrests came after a 17-year-old daughter who looked closer to 10 jumped out a window and called 911. Her parents had turned the home into a private school, a prison and a real torture chamber for the brothers between the ages of 2 and 29, authorities said Tuesday.
Until the girl fled with photographic evidence, it seems that no one-neighbors or public officials-knew anything about what was going on inside.
The house doubled as the Sandcastle Day School, where David Turpin was listed as principal and his six enrollment included only the minor children of the couple. But no state agency regulates or supervises private schools in California. However, they are subject to an annual inspection by the state or local fire chief.
"They were not allowed to watch television, they were not allowed to have friends, the normal things that children do," he said. The children's aunt, Teresa Robinette, said on NBC's "Today" show.
Robinette said she expressed concerns to her sister about the health of the children.
"He always made comments to Louise when he talked to her, about, well, they're so skinny," Robinette said. "He would laugh at her and say that David is so tall and thin, that he will be like him."
Few details have been published on how the parents kept them captive despite what seemed to be opportunities for them to leave. 19659002] Another aunt, Elizabeth Jane Flores, told ABC News "Good Morning America" that she tried for years to get in touch with her sister, Louise Turpin, but Turpin excluded her.
"I want to reach the children, I want them to know that for years we've begged to Skype, we beg to see them, the whole family," he said.
The captain of Riverside County Sheriff Greg Fellows said there was no indication that any of the children were sexually abused, although that was still being investigated.
The couple, married 32 years old, sometimes dressed their children equally in pink dresses or Dr. Seuss shirts, kept them away from strangers and cut children's hair in Prince Brave Style that resembles that of his gray-haired father. The photos show almost all the girls with long brown hair up to the shoulders divided in the middle.
Myers reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo, John Rogers, John Antczak, Christopher Weber, Andrew Dalton and Bob Lentz contributed to this report.