Members of the news media stand outside the home of David Allen Turpin and Louise Ann Turpin in Perris, California, U.S.  January 15, 2018.
Members of the news media stand outside the home of David Allen Turpin and Louise Ann Turpin in Perris, California, U.S. January 15, 2018. Reuters/Mike Blake

Cadaver dogs could be used to determine if there were dead children hidden by David and Louise Turpin in their houses. The American couple, who are accused of torturing and imprisoning their 13 children, may have other kids who did not survive their form of abuse, it has been suspected.

Sources familiar with the investigation told Crime Watch Daily that Riverside County Sheriff’s Homicide Detectives are considering sending cadaver dogs to the residences that the Turpins had occupied. Authorities reportedly wanted to know if there were other children that the couple had but did not survive the abuses. They might also perform DNA tests to determine if all of the children are related.

The report came after it has emerged reporters who entered the family’s Texas home discovered soiled carpets and scratch marks on doors, Metro reports. That looked like the children had tried to escape.

David, 57, and Louise, 49, are facing torture, child abuse and false imprisonment charges against their children, aged 2 to 29. They each face 12 counts of torture, seven counts of abuse of dependent adult, six counts of child abuse, and 12 counts of false imprisonment. David is also facing one count of lewd act on a child by force.

They both pleaded not guilty to the charges. Their bail was set at US$12 million (AU$15 million) each.

‘Kidnapped’ as a teen

Louise’s younger sister, Teresa Robinette, said the Turpin couple’s love story began in 1984 when Louise, who was just 16 then, was allowed by their mother to date David, who was eight years older than her. Their preacher father only found out that the two were dating when they went missing and authorities at Princeton Senior High School were forced to admit that they had let David sign her out of school, Robinette told the Daily Mail.

The police stopped the young couple in Texas. Louise’s parents then had switched roles, with her mother now forbidding the couple’s relationship and her father allowing them to marry. David and Louise’s relationship put a strain on her parents’ relationship, which did not survive after two years.

When their parents died in 2016 three months apart, they both requested Louise to come see them. She refused, claiming she couldn’t bring her 13 children with her.

“She didn’t show up to their funerals either. We told our mum she was coming and then we were at the hospital and me and my brother were getting ready to sign papers to take my mum off life support, and I called her back. And that’s when she told me she wasn’t going to be able to make it,” Robinette told the paper. “She said that they had prayed about it and she had a bad dream and she didn’t feel that she should make the trip.

“Then when my dad died, she said they couldn’t bring all the kids, and she didn’t want to make the trip because it was such a short notice. David’s parents were at both funerals. Louise wasn’t at either one.”

Robinette said when David picked the young Louise from school, he promised Louise to give her everything she’d ever wanted. She thought her big sister was living a “richy” life because she had a big house, cars and luxury items, and she didn’t have to work. Louise even boasted to Robinette one time that she could never understand Robinette’s financial problems because she never had any money problems.

The Turpins had lost one house to foreclosure and declared bankruptcy in 2011. Her family only found out about this when the children’s abuse came to light.

“I hope they suffer as much, if not more, than those kids suffered,” Robinette said. Her half-brother, Bill Lambert, agreed, saying, “I think they should get life. That’s not just spur-of-the-moment anger. I’m not changing that view.”