Aunt: 13 children found shackled in Calif. home kept from extended family

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David and Lousie Turpin fronted court and each face 94 years to life in prison if convicted.

Neighbors described the children as being a bit odd, but said they saw no signs of what was allegedly going on inside the house. She says of the parents: "They deserve no mercy".

David Turpin, 57, and Louise Turpin, 49, appeared in court on Thursday and were formally charged with 12 counts of torture.

David and Louise Turpin were each ordered held on $12 million bail after entering their pleas Thursday and were scheduled to return to court on February 23.

David Turpin's mother, Betty Turpin, told Reuters on Wednesday that the family has retained an attorney and that they have been advised not to speak about the case. When one victim was hogtied and got free, the Turpins started chaining their children with padlocks, said Hestrin.

"Circumstantial evidence in the house suggests that the victims were often not released from their chains to go to the bathroom", Hestrin told a press conference.

The charges stem from 2010 to the present and all are alleged to have occurred in Murrieta and Perris in Riverside County. She was so emaciated that officers said they originally thought she was just 10 years old.

"We have filed 12 counts of violation of penal code section 206, against both David and Louise Turpin", Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said.

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Hestrin says all 13 victims were severely malnourished and as a result some have cognitive impairment and a lack of basic knowledge of life. A 29-year-old victim weighed only 82 pounds. None of the children had seen a doctor in four years; they had never seen a dentist.

Hestrin said the Turpins had been restraining their children for many years.

It is claimed she then informed police of her 12 siblings, some of whom were allegedly chained to furniture and malnourished.

"I want to reach out to the kids, I want them to know that for years we begged to Skype, we begged to see them, the whole family", Elizabeth Jane Flores said tearfully in an interview today on ABC News' "Good Morning America" with co-anchor Robin Roberts.

Their parents, David and Louise Turpin, were arrested on Monday after their 17-year-old daughter escaped the house and alerted police they were being held against their will.

She too had to follow strict "rules" and was "treated like one of the kids" when she lived with her sister, Flores added. Investigators said she was the only sibling who appeared to be well fed and cared for.

A public defender will represent David Turpin, and, due to a conflict of interest for the public defender's office, another lawyer has been appointed to represent Louise Turpin.

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