A teen in Perris, California, alerted police to the abuse she and her 12 siblings suffered at their parents' hands after escaping through a window.
David and Louise Turpin are accused of torturing their 13 minor and adult children in what the Daily Mail called a "house of horrors."
The Turpins were seen as an odd and even cultish couple but were never suspected of criminal wrongdoing. No calls to Child Protective Services were ever made, though one neighbor told the New York Post that he would sometimes see David "marching the children around in circles" on the second floor of their Southern California home.
The family's relatives similarly said that they did not suspect anything. NBC News reports that David's mother saw the family as "model Christians." Meanwhile, Louise's aunt said she believed the nice photos she saw on the family's Facebook, according to the Daily Mail.
It wasn't until the couple's 17-year-old daughter successfully escaped that police became aware of the torture going on at the Turpin house.
The girl climbed out the window with another sibling, who quickly became scared and turned back, NBC News reports. The teen pressed on until she was far enough away she felt safe, then used a cell phone she'd found inside the house to call 911.
Police soon discovered that the siblings lived a bleak and tortured life. They found one of the children, a 22-year-old woman, shackled to a piece of furniture. Others had managed to free themselves.
"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," the Riverside County Sheriff's Department announced in a statement.
The Turpin parents reportedly fed their children one rationed meal a day and only allowed them to shower twice per year. They were supposed to be homeschooled, but investigators discovered that some of the children didn't even know what a police officer was.
The siblings were so malnourished that police didn't initially realize that a significant portion of them were adults. They range in age from 2 to 29 and are now all reportedly receiving medical treatment.
The Turpin parents have been charged with 12 counts of torture, 12 counts of false imprisonment, 7 counts of abusing a dependent adult and 6 counts of abusing a child, NBC reports. David was given an additional charge of a committing a lewd act on a child under 14 years of age. They are facing sentences of 94 years to life in prison.