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Body of missing Florida girl, 4, found in retention pond

Published: Monday, December 04, 2017 @ 6:54 AM

Missing Girl’s Body Found In Retention Pond

4-year-old Florida girl’s body was found in a retention pond early Monday about one-half mile from where her family said she’d walked away more than 24 hours earlier, Port St. Lucie police said.

Chelsea Noel’s family told police that shortly before 10 p.m. Saturday the girl walked out of a home in the 4600 block of Southwest Keats Street, east of Interstate 95 off of Becker Road. They noticed she was gone “only a few minutes” after they last saw her, according to a statement from police.

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A U.S. marshal in a kayak looking for the girl in the retention pond at SW Halmark Street and SW Abacus Avenue saw what he thought as a body at about 11 p.m. Sunday, police said.

St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Dive Team removed the lifeless 4-year-old from the water at about 1 a.m. Monday.

Patrol officers, St. Lucie County’s helicopter and Martin Correctional bloodhounds helped in the search for Chelsea.

The girl is at least the sixth child to have drowned in St. Lucie County this year, according to Florida Department of Children and Families data.

Dogs found in perfect condition in home where 13 siblings held captive

Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 1:52 AM

13 Siblings Held Captive In California "House of Horrors"

A pair of well-kept dogs were taken from the Perris, California, house where 13 children were found shackled and severely malnourished last week.

>> Watch the news report here

David Turpin, 57, and Louise Turpin, 49, are facing a minimum of 94 years for charges including child neglect and torture after police said their children, ranging from ages 2 to 29, were discovered in their home severely malnourished.

>> Neighbors of parents accused of holding 13 kids captive describe family as odd, reclusive

In a statement on Wednesday, city spokesman Joe Vargo said authorities recovered two Maltese terrier dogs in far better condition than the Turpins’ children. The 1-year-old female puppies were reportedly healthy and were taught skills, People reported.

“The animals, one white and one black, appear healthy and friendly and are leash-trained, according to Christina Avila, a senior animal control officer,” a press release from the city of Perris said.

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The dogs — one was named Fluffy — were featured in photos from the city appearing well-groomed and in sweaters. An adoption raffle for the pups is being held through Jan. 26 to find them new homes.

Investigators said the children were only allowed showers a few times per year and were fed only once per day. In a press conference with reporters Thursday, District Attorney Mike Hestrin alleged that the last time any of the children had seen a doctor was four years ago and they had never been to a dentist. Police said the parents allegedly kept themselves well-fed and regularly ate pies in front of their children to taunt them, ABC News reported.

>> Police: 13 siblings held captive in California residence

The 17-year-old who reportedly escaped the home through a bedroom window to alert authorities was initially believed to be just 10 years old due to the severity of her malnourishment, while the oldest victim, a 29-year-old woman, weighed only 82 pounds when the children were found. According to Hestrin, the children “lack a basic knowledge of life,” although they were allegedly homeschooled, KTLA reported.

According to the Daily Mail, the parents face a combined total of 75 charges, and each was being held on $12 million bond.

Parents accused of holding their 13 children captive appear in court

Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 7:48 AM

13 Siblings Held Captive In California "House of Horrors"

David and Louise Turpin are facing a string of charges, including torture, after police say the couple kept their 13 children locked away in subhuman conditions in their Perris, California, home. On Thursday, the Turpins made their first court appearance.

>> Watch the video here

>> On Rare.us: Here’s what the children in the California torture house did to cope with the alleged abuse

David Turpin appeared in chains, wearing a lavender shirt and black jacket while his wife sat nearby, also in chains and a black jacket. The Turpins entered not guilty pleas to all of the charges, some of which date back to 2010. The district attorney says the couple is facing 94 years to life in prison if convicted on all counts.

>> Dogs found in perfect condition in home where 13 siblings held captive

During the arraignment, the Turpins were quiet and spoke only to say they acknowledged their right to a speedy preliminary hearing, CBS reports. They will appear in court again on Feb. 23, and their bail was set at $13 million.

District Attorney Mike Hestrin said in a press conference, “As a prosecutor, there are cases that stick with you, that will haunt you. Sometimes, in this business, we’re faced with looking at human depravity, and that’s what we’re looking at here.”

Authorities said the parents were able to keep their children hidden away by listing their home as a private school. Some of the kids, who ranged in ages from 2 to 29, reportedly didn’t know what a police officer was.

The children were only allowed to eat once a day and shower twice a year, authorities said. However, the parents reportedly did allow them to keep journals, and authorities said the kids filled hundreds of notebooks. Those have not been released and are still being reviewed by law enforcement.

The children are currently being cared for in the hospital, authorities said. The Riverside University Health System has set up a fund for the children that will go to their long-term needs, according to a press release. The hospital said the children have already seen a tremendous outpouring of support.

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Brian Rokos of the Press-Enterprise was present at the hearing and reported that David Turpin is being represented by a public defender, while Louise Turpin has outside counsel. During Thursday’s arraignment, the public defender requested that media be banned from the trial, but the judge shot that down. Rokos said reporters from around the world were in the courtroom. The Turpins' lawyers have not announced whether they will try to have the case moved out of Riverside County.

Arizona mother who gave toddler fatal meth dose receives 20-year prison sentence

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 2:44 PM

Mother Gave Toddler Fatal Meth Dose, Receives 20-Year Prison Sentence

An Arizona woman who gave her toddler a fatal dose of methamphetamine in 2016 was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison.

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Natalie Russell, 30, pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder and child abuse, azcentral.com reported. Russell claimed she gave her 22-month-old daughter meth to counteract the effects of methadone. The child had accidentally ingested methadone that was left in an open container, Russell allegedly told police. Officials said Russell failed to get her daughter medical assistance.

Several friends and family members attended Russell's sentencing at the Maricopa County Superior Court, azcenteral.com reported. Russell's supporters said they forgave her for her actions. Russell maintains that she never meant to harm her daughter, and her actions were driven by her drug addiction.

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Neighbors of parents accused of holding 13 kids captive describe family as odd, reclusive

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 6:12 AM

13 Siblings Held Captive In California "House of Horrors"

Neighbors described the reportedly nightmarish situation at the Turpin home, where parents David and Louise allegedly kept their 13 children shackled to their beds and malnourished, as seeming like a “cult.”

Former neighbors said the children were made to march around for hours in the middle of the night, they told the New York Post.

A man named Mike, who did not want to give his full name and was a neighbor of the Turpins when they lived in Murrieta, California, told the Post, “I thought they were like a cult. They would march back and forth on the second story at night. The light would be on the whole time, and they would be marching the kids back and forth.”

>> Police: 13 siblings held captive in California residence

Mike said he would arrive home late from his job at a hospital and see the children marching through the upstairs rooms of the Turpin home between midnight and 3 a.m.

David and Louis Turpin were arrested Sunday in their Perris, California, home after one of their daughters called police for help, saying she had managed to escape the house with a cellphone. When police arrived, they reportedly found the siblings, ages 2 to 29, living in squalor and looking very thin, with several of the kids shackled to furniture.

Mike said his wife, Myrna, called the family “clones,” saying the Turpins all spoke “robotically, in a monotone and at the same” time during the few occasions on which Myrna interacted with them at a local grocer.

However, Mike told the Post that he and Myrna never called the police because they didn’t see anything that suggested they needed to. They just thought the parents were a bit odd.

Mike, as well former neighbors from when the Turpins owned a farm in Rio Vista, Texas — which the family left due to foreclosure — remarked on the amount of trash that the family accumulated.

“I ended up calling the police because of the trash and everything that was left there,” said former Texas neighbor Randy McClain. “There was a brand new pickup truck covered in [trash] — a whole truck bed full and overflowing to the ground with trash: diapers, Spam cans, potted meat cans, just overflowing.”

The Daily Mail got access to the Turpin’s Perris backyard and found a Disney-themed fountain situated in a messy yard in which “piles of metal pipes could be seen strewn around, along with a rusty set of metal garden furniture and some diaper boxes.”

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Through the screen door, the Daily Mail spied piles of clutter, including what appear to be stacked books, within the house.

Neighbor Leticia Gomez, 45, who lives directly behind the Turpin home, told the Daily Mail that she wasn’t aware there were any kids in the house. She described the Turpins’ garden as unkempt and “scruffy.”

Another neighbor, Andria Valdez, said she did know there were children living in the home and that she had seen them before. She joked that the Turpins reminded her of the vampire family in the “Twilight” books and movies, because they were “really, really pale” and “only came out at night.”