A couple from California who shackled and tortured their 12 children for nearly a decade have been sentenced to life in prison.
David and Louise Turpin, who pleaded guilty to holding captive and torturing their children for years in their California home, were each sentenced to 25 years to life in prison during an emotional hearing that included testimony from some of the victims.
Their daughter, speaking publicly for the first time, continued through tears: "Now, I'm taking my life back".
"I want the court to know that our parents love each other and love each of their children", the girl said via a statement read to the court.
"Life may have been bad but it made me strong". They nearly changed me, but I realized what was happening.
Life got more hard after her mother's parents died in 2016. "I can not describe in words what we went through".
"Sometimes I still have nightmares of things that happened such as my siblings being chained up or getting beaten", he said as his voice cracked.
"But that is the past and this is now", he said. "In June of past year, I learned how to ride a bike and ever since then I have been hooked and ride it everywhere", he said, adding that has learned how to swim, eat healthy, and prepare a balanced meal. "I love my parents and have forgiven them for a lot of the things that they did to us".
Both siblings sat in the courtroom accompanied by a support and comfort dog named Raider, from the Corona Police Department.
The charged stemmed from a case of horrific abuse that was only discovered when the couple's 17-year-old daughter made a daring escape from the family's home in the 100 block of Muir Woods Road in January 2018, using a deactivated cellphone to dial 911 for help, authorities said. It was the culmination of a two-year plan.
The children ranged from 2 to 29 years old when they were found. The children appeared emaciated and filthy; their surroundings were described as "dark and foul-smelling". Police were also shocked to discover seven adults among the group, ranging in age from 18 to 29 - the eldest weighed 82 pounds when found. Officials also concluded several of the victims suffered cognitive impairment and neuropathy as result of the extreme and prolonged physical abuse.
According to excerpts of the initial emergency call released during court proceedings, the escaped girl told the dispatcher two of her siblings were chained to beds so tightly that their skin was bruised.
The court previously heard that the children were often tied up for "weeks or even months at a time".
As part of the plea deal, which called for additional charges against both spouses to be dropped, the Turpins will spend the rest of their lives in prison unless granted parole after a mininum of 25 years behind bars, the Riverside County District Attorney said on Twitter. Authorities said the youngest child was the only one who didn't appear to be abused.
"I'm sorry for everything I've done to hurt my children", Louise said.
"I don't go out much so I don't know anything about the streets or anything", she said. "I love them more than they could ever imagine". ".I hope the very best for my children in the future". They are very smart, incredible individuals.
Their father, David, spoke briefly before breaking down.
I never intended for any harm to come to my children.
"I miss all my children and will be praying for them... Maybe they'll enter the military and protect our country", Schwartz said.
David Turpin's lawyer read part of a statement because he was too upset.