13 siblings rescued from US home, some shackled to beds, parents arrested

A California couple have been arrested on charges of torture after authorities said their 13 malnourished children were held captive in their home, with some shackled to beds in the dark.

Authorities said they were alerted after a 17-year-old girl managed to escape the house on Sunday and call police using a mobile phone she had found.

She was so emaciated that officers said they originally thought she was just 10 years old.

The 13 siblings discovered at the house in Perris ranged in age from two to 29, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

Their parents - 57-year-old David Allen Turpin and 49-year-old Louise Anna Turpin, were arrested on torture and child endangerment charges, with bail set at $9 million.

The police statement said: "Further investigation revealed several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings, but the parents were unable to immediately provide a logical reason why their children were restrained in that manner.

Deputies located what they believed to be 12 children inside the house, but were shocked to discover that seven of them were actually adults, ranging in age from 18 to 29.

The victims appeared to be malnourished and very dirty.

The sheriff's office said "the victims were provided with food and beverages after they claimed to be starving".

The Spanish-style stucco house where the siblings were allegedly held is in a middle-class neighborhood of Perris, a small city some 70 miles south east of Los Angeles.

The home has three cars outside as well as a van with tinted windows. One of the cars had a child's seat in the back.

There are indications that the children were allowed outside the house in recent years, neighbours said.

A Facebook page under the name of David-Louise Turpin includes pictures of the couple attending various marriage or exchange of vows ceremonies from 2011 to 2016 with their children present.

In the latest set, uploaded in April-July 2016, Louise Turpin wears a long white wedding gown while her husband is dressed in a suit.

An Elvis Presley impersonator holds a microphone and poses with the couple and children in a scene reminiscent of a Las Vegas wedding.

Nine girls, all with long dark hair, wear matching fuchsia dresses with white tights, while a baby girl is dressed in a bright pink dress.

Three boys, their dark hair in bowl cuts like David Turpin, are dressed in suits with red ties.

An April 2016 photograph shows the same smiling children and the couple wearing jeans and red t-shirts that read "Thing 1," "Thing 2," "Thing 3" and so on - a take on the mischievous siblings in the popular Dr Seuss book "The Cat in the Hat.

In another September 2015 photograph, Louise Turpin holds a baby wearing a t-shirt reading "Mommy loves me.

Neighbour Jamelia Adams, 39, was among those to express shock at the claims by authorities.

It's just really, really sad," she said. There's places that kids can go if you don't want your kids, if you can't take care of them, and here's a beautiful neighbourhood, brand new housing track, newer cars in the yard, and here's some kids from 29 to two that was just held captive and malnourished and filthy. It's just heartbreaking.

Another neighbor, 38-year-old Julio Reyes said: "We've seen a couple of teenagers maybe last year mowing the lawn, and you know they put some Christmas decorations. Never really thought anything of any sort would happen like that.

US media reported that the parents had previously filed for bankruptcy.

David Turpin is registered in state records as head of a private school, but its address matches that of the Turpins' home.

The school opened in March 2011 and only has six students, according to the latest state education department data.

The Los Angeles Times said the couple had lived at the Perris house since 2010, after a move from Texas, adding they went bankrupt twice.

According to court papers when they filed for bankruptcy in 2011, the couple said they accrued between $100,000 and $500,000 in debt opening the school, The New York Times said.

The paper said the same year David Turpin was working as an engineer for defence contractor Northrop Grumman, earning $140,000 a year, while his wife was listed as a homemaker.


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Movie review: 'The Great Wall'

Authors: Ecroaker. com Boosters.


While The Great Wall is an infinitely better film, the fact that it reminds you - even briefly - of the rotting pile of used kimonos that was Keanu Reeves’ 47 Ronin, is almost enough to send you into a tizzy. Three blissful years had gone by, and not once had the image of a sedated-looking Keanu slashing one-eyed giants and lethal cloth serpents crossed my mind. Until now.

The similarities, heavy as they may be – they’re both historical fantasies set in a far-eastern land, they’re both distributed by the same studio, and both films star a famous Hollywood actor as a (and this is problematic) white saviour character – are rather harmless, and thankfully very superficial.

There is, however, one key difference. It is the only thing that elevates The Great Wall from an ambitious, yet clichéd action film into what turned out to be a surprisingly intricate, visually breathtaking monster movie: Director Zhang Yimou.

Also, yes; it’s a monster movie. But we’ll get to that later.

Matt Damon and Pedro Pascal (you remember him, and the unfortunate fate of his eyes, from Game of Thrones) play a couple of mercenaries of hazy nationality who find themselves in medieval China. Their quest for a mysterious item known as ‘black powder’ lands them at the foot of The Great Wall, where they are immediately arrested for trespassing.

At the centre of this movie, Zhang’s first in the English language, is a knockout of a concept. The whole thing revolves around the fantastic idea that every 60 years, a horde of mythical beasts known as the Tao Tei attack China. To keep them out, and to protect the mainland from their onslaught, that, the movie says, was the real reason behind the Wall’s erection. And in addition to the Wall – probably because a lot of the monsters slip through anyway – the Chinese have bred warriors, whom they’ve been training all their lives, just for this.

Aside from the parallels to how modern China ‘breeds’ sports stars, you’d be lying to yourself if you said you weren’t interested in watching this movie – especially since it opens with a stunning 20-minute action set-piece, which is followed by two more, equally breathtaking sequences, in the film’s second and third acts.

These battle sequences are a gloriously choreographed burst of technicolour thrills, and they’ll erase every lingering memory of Keanu’s bewildered face that you might have had, and replace it instead, with images from Lord of the Rings’ classic Battle of Helm’s Deep.

There are however in this film, a few muddy missteps and the occasional attempt at forced drama, which can mostly be blamed on the cultural tightrope that Zhang is walking. While the film is entirely set in China, and is very respectful of its rich imagery and cinematic history, there is the issue of it having to cater to a Western audience as well. It’s an issue that the film’s six(! creenwriters very dubiously address with a rather unfortunate movie trope: The White Saviour.

It isn’t as iffy as Django Unchaned’s Dr King Schultz, or Keanu in (sigh) 47 Ronin, but it certainly is right there for everyone to see. d it doesn’t help that Matt Damon is confusingly mellow, and not his usual charismatic self this time.

To bridge this gap however, Zhang blends his distinct wuxia style (please go watch his back-to-back classics Hero, and House of Flying Daggers), with elements from Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings – to inconsistent success.

Perhaps it was their decision to be obnoxiously bullish with their monsters, which robs them, and the film, of all suspense; or perhaps it is their overreliance on action over character, but The Great Wall could have been something special. You can really sense it. It’s very irritating that it made the wrong choices when it mattered the most.

But right now, as it stands, it’s a fairly run-of-the-mill fantasy epic with 3 spectacular action scenes that more than make up for one very muted Matt Damon.

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