US couple who allegedly starved and shackled their 13 children plead not guilty



Associated Press

A Southern California couple suspected of starving and shackling some of their 13 children pleaded not guilty today to new charges of child abuse.

The Californian couple were arrested last month when one of their children escaped and called 911.
Source: Associated Press

David and Louise Turpin previously entered not-guilty pleas to torture and a raft of other charges and are being held on a $16 million (NZD) bail.

Louise Turpin also pleaded not guilty to a new count of felony assault.

Louise Turpin, dressed in a blouse and blazer, looked intently at more than a dozen reporters in the courtroom.

David Turpin, wearing a blazer, tie and black-rimmed glasses, kept his eyes on the judge during the hearing.

Both said little except to agree to a May preliminary hearing.

The couple was arrested last month after their 17-year-old daughter escaped from the family's home in Perris, California, and called 911.

Authorities said the home reeked of human waste and evidence of starvation was obvious, with the oldest sibling weighing only 37 kilograms.

The case drew international media attention and shocked neighbours who said they rarely saw the children, who appeared to be skinny, pale and reserved.

Authorities said the abuse was so long-running the children's growth was stunted.

They said the couple shackled the children to furniture as punishment and had them live a nocturnal lifestyle.

The children, who range in age from 2 to 29, were hospitalised immediately after their rescue and since then Riverside County authorities, who obtained temporary conservatorship over the adults, have declined to discuss their whereabouts or condition.

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