February 21, 2018 / 9:25 PM / a month ago

More than $500,000 raised for 13 siblings held captive in California

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Thirteen siblings in Southern California who authorities say were beaten, shackled and abused by their parents can count on more than $500,000 in donations that local groups have raised for their care.

The parents of the siblings, David Turpin, 57, and his wife Louise, 49, were charged with multiple counts of torture, child abuse and false imprisonment last month. They are scheduled to appear at a court hearing on Friday in Riverside, about 60 miles (97 km) east of Los Angeles.

The fundraising drive for the 13 siblings began with an outpouring of donations from local residents, organizers say, after police raided the family’s home on Jan. 14 and disclosed that some of the adult children were so malnourished they appeared to be minors.

The family lived in the suburban Riverside County community of Perris, where some neighbors reported they had seen only a few of the 13 siblings, who police say ranged in age from 2 to 29.

Soon after the police raid, the Riverside University Health System Foundation, which is leading the fundraising campaign, was receiving donations sent by express mail for the children, such as clothing and books, said Nicole Orr, a senior director at the foundation.

“It is all about this community wanting to show these kids love,” Orr said.

Donations have come from as far away as Germany and Australia and continue to arrive, she said.

The foundation has raised nearly $370,000, Orr said. The Corona Chamber of Commerce, which is also located in Riverside County, has collected another $180,000 for the foundation, said Linda Richards, who handles member services for the chamber.

The funds will be used to provide medical and dental care, educational assistance and other services for the siblings, Orr said. The foundation will continue to accept donations indefinitely, she said.

David and Louise Turpin are accused of keeping their 13 children in filthy and fetid conditions, chaining some to their beds and using starvation as a weapon to control them.

Each parent faces 94 years to life in prison if convicted on more than two dozen charges.

David and Louise Turpin each pleaded not guilty to the charges last month.

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Leslie Adler

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