Two parents have been arrested and charged with torture and child endangerment after police made a harrowing discovery at their home in California.
On Sunday, police found 12 siblings between the ages of two and 29 allegedly being held captive in the house of Allen Turpin, 57, and his wife, Louise Anna Turpin, 49.
As The New York Times reports, police were alerted to the Perris home after one of the children, a 17-year-old girl, allegedly escaped on Sunday morning and used a mobile phone she had found in the house to call authorities.
“Deputies located what they believed to be 12 children inside the house but were shocked to discover that seven of them were actually adults,” a police statement reads.
“The victims appeared to be malnourished and very dirty.”
According to The Guardian, some of the children were allegedly chained to beds. Police said some of the siblings told officers they were starving.
Images obtained from a Facebook page that appears to have been set up by the parents show the siblings dressed in matching outfits at a wedding and in Dr Seuss-style shirts.
Police are yet to provide a reason why the children were held captive or reveal how long they had been held. Neighbours have told local media that the Turpins rarely came outside.
David and Louise Turpin’s bail has been set at $13.1 million each; the couple is due in court on Thursday.