The parents accused of torturing and starving their 13 children inside their Perris home will not be able to contact them or other potential witnesses at all for three years — not even through emails or letters — after Riverside County prosecutors got a no-contact criminal protective order against them Wednesday afternoon.
The case has made headlines around the world as law enforcement officials have described a devastating image of the home life of the Turpin children, who have allegedly been starved and kept in a home filled with smell and filth, with some of them even chained to beds.
Their parents, David and Louise Turpin, now face dozens of criminal charges for their alleged treatment of the children — including 12 counts of torture and 12 counts of false imprisonment, among other charges of abuse. The father has also been charged with one count of a lewd act on a child under the age of 14 by force, fear or duress.
The no-contact criminal protective order granted during Wednesday's court appearance will ensure David and Louise Turpin have no direct or indirect contact with the children, said John Hall, spokesperson for the Riverside County District Attorney's Office.
They also cannot have any contact with other potential witnesses in the case for three years, the judge said Wednesday.
This includes a bar on all written or electronic communications, even if those communications are made through a third party, Hall said.
The judge told the Turpins they must stay at least 100 yards away from the children, who she said can legally record conservations they have with the parents if there is contact. She also said the couple cannot purchase, carry or attempt to buy any firearms.
After the court order was approved, an attorney for David Turpin, David Macher, told CNN that Mr. Turpin is also 'protected' by the order.
"The order protects everyone involved, including my client. I don't want my client accused of trying to tamper with any witness," he said.
The order only allows contact through the Turpins' attorneys, CNN reported.
"In more than 20 years as a prosecutor in Riverside County, this is one of the most disturbing cases I’ve seen," District Attorney Mike Hestrin said in a Jan. 18 statement from the DA's office announcing the criminal charges.
The Riverside County home where prosecutors allege the Turpins tortured their children, leaving them filthy, unfed and some even shackled to beds, was discovered after a 17-year-old girl escaped from the house. She called 911 through a deactivated cell phone she found in the home, officials said.
Once law enforcement arrived, they found 13 people between the ages of 2 to 29 "malnourished and living in deplorable conditions," prosecutors later said. The oldest sibling weighed just 80 pounds.
The adults actually appeared to be young children due to how frail and emaciated their bodies looked, according to accounts from multiple health and law enforcement officials.
"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 were being treated.
A fund by the Riverside University Health System has raised more than $100,000 for the Turpin children.