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Prosecutor: Parents who tortured children were 'depraved'

Members of the media work outside a home Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, where police arrested a couple on Sunday accused of holding 13 children captive, in Perris, Calif. Authorities said an emaciated teenager led deputies to the California home where her 12 brothers and sisters were locked up in filthy conditions, with some of them malnourished and chained to beds. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Members of the media work outside a home Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, where police arrested a couple on Sunday accused of holding 13 children captive, in Perris, Calif. Authorities said an emaciated teenager led deputies to the California home where her 12 brothers and sisters were locked up in filthy conditions, with some of them malnourished and chained to beds. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – A California couple tortured a dozen of their children for years, starving them to the point that their growth was stunted, chaining them to their beds for months at a time and forbidding them from showering more than once a year or using the toilet, a prosecutor said Thursday.

“The victimization appeared to intensify over time,” Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said in announcing charges. “What started out as neglect became severe, pervasive, prolonged child abuse.”

David Turpin, 56, and Louise Turpin, 49, were charged with multiple counts of torture, child abuse, dependent adult abuse and false imprisonment. David Turpin also was charged with performing a lewd act on a child under age 14.

The parents were jailed on $12 million bail each after pleading not guilty Thursday at their first court appearance.

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