The California home where a couple are accused of torturing their 13 children — keeping some of them shackled to their beds in America’s “House of Horrors” — has been quietly put up for sale.
The home in the Perris, about 115km east of Los Angeles, went under the hammer on Saturday, although the listing made no mention of the evil alleged to have occurred inside the single-storey four bedroom home at 160 Muir Woods Road.
David and Louise Turpin were arrested in January and accused of starving, shackling, beating and sexually abusing their children, who ranged in age from two to 29 at the time police found them.
Medical staff described the children as so emaciated they could have been mistaken for teenagers. Many of the siblings — particularly the seven eldest — were starved and neglected to the point of having suffered cognitive damage.
Only the toddler and the family dogs appeared to have been fed on a regular basis, authorities said.
According to the Press-Enterprise, the auction, on hudsonandmarshall.com, is being conducted on behalf of an unnamed lender after the home. It was foreclosed in November.
A minimum bid of $US177,255 was requested. By 6:30pm the bidding was up to $US196,255, although an undisclosed reserve price had not been met.
The most recent appraisal of the property, according to the publication, was for $US353,138.
The auction ends on January 2.
Although the alleged crimes were not included in the property’s description, a customer service representative for Hudson and Marshall told the Press-Enterprise that the home’s past had been brought to their attention, and the company asked the property owner to provide that information.
However, according to a local real estate agent, state law only requires owners selling a property to disclose any deaths within the past three years or if there had been an exposure to a controlled substance, such as from a methamphetamine or fentanyl lab.
There is no legal requirement to reveal any other criminal actions related to a property, perhaps just an ethical one.
“We’ve always been, if you have to ask the question, should I disclose, you should err on the side of probably so,” Scott Beloian, owner of Westcoe Realtors in Riverside told the Press-Enterprise.
He added that an agent could face civil liability should a buyer later learn of unsettling news about a property.
David, 57, and Louise, 50, Turpin collectively face 88 felony charges including torture, child cruelty and false imprisonment.
David Turpin has also been charged with eight counts of perjury for the state Department of Education affidavits he filed that asserted the children were home-schooled full time.
The couple were arrested in January when their 17-year-old daughter escaped from the family’s home and called the police.
Pictures taken by the girl of her and her siblings, which she bravely took to gather evidence before escaping and calling the authorities, were shown at California’s Riverside County Superior Court during the preliminary hearing against her parents in June.
Journalists covering the hearing reported that many attendees, among them staff members who would have seen no shortage of horror in that courtroom, “gasped” when the photos were produced.
The Turpins are due to face trial on September 3, 2019.