Five Siblings Freed from California House of Horrors Are in College After Years of Abuse by Their Parents

Turpin family, 2016. California.
Credit: Courtesy Billy Lambert

The Turpin siblings saved from their California House of Horrors last year are now enjoying their new life of freedom — and five of them are going to college.

“They are incredibly hopeful and optimistic about their futures and are relieved to be out from under that type of lifestyle, that burden,” Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin tells PEOPLE. “We can take some hope and solace about how resilient the human spirit is.”

The horrific case came to light in January 2018 when David, 57, and 50-year-old Louise Turpin were arrested after their 17-year-old daughter escaped the family’s Perris house and called 911. In February of this year, the couple pleaded guilty to 14 felony counts — including torture and false imprisonment — for routinely starving, shackling and abusing their 13 children, who at the time of the arrest ranged in ages from 2 to 29. Last week, they were sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

“There was a whole system in place where these parents sort of, bit by bit, took away the humanity of their children,” says Hestrin. “It was stunning in its effectiveness and its cruelty.”

Despite the horrible abuse they suffered, the Turpin siblings have started to thrive.

At a sentencing hearing Friday, the oldest daughter, now 30, told a Riverside County Superior Court judge that she was now attending college and living independently.

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SOURCE: PEOPLE, Christine Pelisek