‘We Would Have to Slowly Start to Feed Them’: Doctor Describes Possible Recovery Process for Perris Victims

The 13 siblings law enforcement officials say were found tortured, starved and some even chained inside a Perris home will have an extensive recovery process — one centered around gradually returning to normal eating and healing from periods of malnourishment that made the adult victims look like young children.

That was the message from Riverside County health and law enforcement officials at a news conference on Tuesday morning, when one doctor described the recovery process starvation victims must undergo. The parents of the children, 56-year-old David Allen Turpin and 49-year-old Louise Anna Turpin, were arrested after a 17-year-old girl escaped and managed to call law enforcement to the home Sunday morning, authorities said.

This photo was posted to a Facebook page for "David-Louise Turpin" on July 24, 2016.

This photo was posted to a Facebook page for "David-Louise Turpin" on July 24, 2016.

The couple's children are now recovering at a number of hospitals, officials said.

While the investigation is ongoing and a doctor at the news conference didn't confirm the 13 siblings were victims of starvation, she described the healing process for such malnourishment.

"They would require stabilization, and in cases of starvation, we would have to slowly start to feed them to avoid any problems that (feeding) them may cause," said Dr. Sophia Grant of the Riverside University Health System.

Several law enforcement and health officials have described the frail, emaciated bodies of the 13 people found inside the home, where some of the adults actually looked like children. The 13 siblings ranged in age from 2 to 29.

"It’s hard to think of them as adults when you first see them because they’re small and it’s very clear that they (are) malnourished," said Mark Uffer, chief executive officer of Corona Regional Medical Center, where the seven adult Turpin children are now being treated.

The adult children at the Corona hospital are stable and safe, Uffer said.

"They're very friendly, they're very cooperative and ... they're hopeful that life will get better for them after this event," Uffer said.

Grant said the children will have to undergo CT scans, X-rays and other tests to look for other injuries and possible signs of abuse. She also said that "long-term needs" may include "psychological and psychiatric" treatment that's necessary after "prolonged periods of starvation and maltreatment."

Meanwhile, another public official said the adult children are going to be cared for as long as they need it.

"We will be seeking court authorization to provide oversight and care for the children, including the adult children to the extent that that’s necessary," said Susan von Zabern of the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services.