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US Siblings Treated After 'Horrific' Crime Against Them

The 13 California siblings kept in "horrific" conditions by their parents are being treated after an ordeal in which some were shackled to furniture and others who were starved. and each charged with nine counts of torture and 10 counts of child endangerment, the local sheriff's office said.

They were each held on $9 million bail, with a court hearing scheduled for Thursday.

Authorities were alerted after one of the children, an emaciated 17-year-old girl, called police after escaping through a window of the house in Perris, about 70 miles east of Los Angeles.

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"I appreciate the courage this juvenile had to escape that house and get out there and report this to law enforcement," police Captain Greg Fellows said.

Police said they found three of the couple's 13 children, who range in age from 2 to 29, shackled with chains and padlocks inside the dark, foul-smelling residence, located in a suburban housing tract.

"(Police) noticed the children were malnourished," Fellows said at a briefing. "It was very dirty, and the conditions were horrific."

Authorities were seeking court authorisation to take custody of the children. Child Protective Services was assisting in an investigation.

Some of the children were being fed and in stable condition at a local hospital, officials said.

The family has lived at the house since 2014, where they home-schooled their children, Fellows said. Six of the couple's children are minors, while the other seven are over 18, according to neighbours.

The parents home-schooled the children strictly and required them to memorise long passages from the Bible, David Turpin's parents, James and Betty Turpin of West Virginia, told US TV.

The Turpin address was listed by the California Department of Education as the location of the Sandcastle Day School, with David Turpin as principal.

In 2010, David Turpin left his job at Lockheed Martin , a company spokeswoman said. He also worked as an engineer at Northrop Grumman, the aeronautics and defence company.

David and Louise Turpin appeared to have had marriage-renewal ceremonies at least three times, in 2011, 2013 and 2015, at an Elvis Presley-themed chapel in Las Vegas, according to the chapel's YouTube page.

One video shows the couple exchanging renewal vows in front of an Elvis impersonator.

Another video showed 10 female children in matching purple plaid dresses walking down the aisle ahead of Louise toward David, who waited anxiously at the altar with two male children in suits.

A third male child dressed in a suit appeared later in the video during various dance performances with the Elvis impersonator and the family.

An Elvis Chapel representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A joint Facebook page that appeared to have been created by the parents showed the couple at the same chapel dressed in wedding clothes, surrounded by the 13 children.

AAP

(Image: David-Louise Turpin // Facebook)

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