California Sibling Held In Captivity Went To College, Didn’t Seek Help

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (CBS News)  — The community college student with a page-boy haircut was quiet, never drew attention to himself and earned A’s semester after semester. Despite ample opportunities, he apparently never divulged the sickening truth that his home was a veritable torture chamber.

Authorities say the student, now about 26, was the eldest male among 13 siblings who were held captive in their California home by their parents, David and Louise Turpin.

The couple starved all but their 2-year-old daughter for years and sometimes chained their children to beds for months at a time without letting them use the toilet, prosecutors said.

However, Louise Turpin regularly drove her oldest son to classes at the nearby Menifee campus of Mt. San Jacinto College and waited outside the classroom for him.

He was on the president’s honor roll in fall 2015 and spring 2016, college spokeswoman Karin Marriott said.

A transcript obtained by ABC News showed he attended classes from 2014 until at least 2016 and took up to 15 credits a semester. He earned A’s in many classes, including algebra, guitar, public speaking, English fundamentals and freshman composition.

A classmate, Marci Duncker, said he was “always quiet and alone” when they attended classes. She tried to say hello to him a few times but he just looked at her and never responded. “It was one of the most sad faces I’d seen in years,” Duncker said.

The boy was usually one of the last people to leave class, she said.

None of the names of the abused siblings have been released by authorities and all were taken to hospitals when they were freed two weeks ago from the home in Perris, about 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles. Authorities said the abuse was so long-running their growth was stunted.

Despite near-daily interactions with others outside the home, there’s no indication the oldest son ever sought to draw attention to what was happening at home. Gale Kelley, a trainer for the International Association of Trauma Professionals, said that reluctance is understandable.

“They were born into this. This was normal for them. Some of them may not even realize they’ve been abused,” she said. “These children have been living in isolation so they only know what they know.”

Abusers often tell children they shouldn’t talk about what happens at home or that they deserve to be treated that way, and that may have made it difficult for them to escape, she said.

“We don’t know what kind of duress they were under as far as threats,” Kelley said. “They’re still seeing the world through the eyes of a scared little kid who is in constant danger.”