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.”

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Nearly 30 cars broken into at Atlanta apartment complex in one night

Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 3:20 AM

Atlanta police say 28 cars were broken into at an apartment complex. Most had nothing of value in plain view.
WSBTV.com
Atlanta police say 28 cars were broken into at an apartment complex. Most had nothing of value in plain view.(WSBTV.com)

Residents at Aspire Lenox Park Apartments in Atlanta are wondering what it will take to stop the recent spike in car break-ins at their complex.

Nearly 30 cars were broken into overnight Saturday. In many cases, the doors were locked and nothing of value was visible. Victims still ended up with shattered windows. 

“It’s not like they’re breaking into unlocked cars. They’re all locked cars, and it’s just -- there’s no rhyme or reason,” resident Bailey Beckham said.

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Atlanta police told WSB 28 cars were targeted, mostly in the parking deck.

“I hadn’t heard that number. I know there were eight the other weekend, but 28 is a lot,” resident Alex King said.

"It's kind of scary because we don’t know why or what's going on or how we're going to stop it. It’s just nerve-racking,” Beckham said.

The break-ins have been especially frustrating for victims like Ryan Colley, who had nothing visible in his car and nothing taken.

“It’s devastating and it hurts because we had to pay out of pocket. Our deductible, of course, and the insurance is $500, and anything below that you have to pay out of pocket,” Colley said. 

Residents said they received emails about increased patrols and security, but there are mixed opinions on the results so far.

“They say they’re going to hire some security. I haven’t seen anything yet,” Colley said.

“I guess that's helpful, but I just don’t know how we’re going to stop it if we don't know how many people or where or when,” Beckham said.

“Maybe setting up cameras in the area, so if they don’t catch the people and this continues to happen, at least they have cameras and can find them a little easier,” King said. 

Residents told WSB they are clearing out their cars but are still on edge because it has not stopped the break-ins.

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Rottweiler dies in hot car at county jail, woman visitor arrested on the spot 

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 10:45 PM

Connie Wright Gomez, 46, was charged with aggravated animal cruelty. Her dog, Rambo, was found dead in her car Wednesday afternoon. The dog had allegedly been left in the car for five hours. (Photo by Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office)
Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office
Connie Wright Gomez, 46, was charged with aggravated animal cruelty. Her dog, Rambo, was found dead in her car Wednesday afternoon. The dog had allegedly been left in the car for five hours. (Photo by Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office)(Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office)

A Georgia woman left her Rottweiler in her car for five hours while she was in court at the Gwinnett County Jail, causing the dog’s death, sheriff officials said.

>> Read more trending news 

Connie Wright Gomez, 46, has been charged with aggravated animal cruelty.

Gomez went to the jail as a “court visitor” around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, leaving her dog, Rambo, in her car, she told deputies. She left the windows open about an inch.

Around 6:30 p.m., deputies heard Gomez mention she had left her dog in the car. One of the deputies went with Gomez to the car to check on the dog because the weather had been warm all day, with a high temperature of 82 degrees. When they arrived at the car, Rambo was dead.

Related: Dog dies after being left in Animal Control officer’s truck

When temperatures outside range from 80 degrees to 100 degrees, the temperature inside a car parked in direct sunlight can quickly climb to between 130 to 172 degrees, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gomez was arrested and booked into jail. She is being held on a $16,700 bond.

Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway expressed dismay at the case.

Conway started the Operation Second Chance “jail dogs” program, which matches jail inmates with adoptable dogs and cats. The inmates train and socialize the animals. 

“I hope this poor dog’s horrific death reminds pet owners to make responsible choices for their pets,” Conway said. 

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Police: Suspected ice cream eating burglar causes Kettering school lockdown

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 2:52 PM

Suspected ice cream eating burglar causes Kettering school lockdown

A man who was suspected of breaking into a Kettering home early Thursday morning and eating the victims’ ice cream was later arrested after causing a school lockdown, according to police.

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Around 1 a.m. Thursday, Kettering police responded to a home in the first block of Abbott Drive after the occupants found a man inside their home, according to a police incident report. 

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“(The occupants) woke up to find (the) suspect in their residence eating ice cream, going through their personal items, and fled the scene, leaving his clothing behind,” the report said. 

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The man was able to flee on foot, taking a victim’s wallet, but left behind his shoes, jeans, and hat, police said. 

Around 9 a.m., administrators at Greenmont Elementary School in Kettering initiated a lockdown after receiving a report of a suspicious person on school property, a Kettering police spokesman said. 

“Officers responded and after a search of the area, located the subject near Smithville and Watervliet (roads),” the spokesman said. 

The man, later identified as Jonathan Jacob Hazelbaker, 23, was arrested for an outstanding warrant for his arrest and booked into the Kettering City Jail. 

The school returned to normal activities after Hazelbaker was taken into custody, police said. 

Hazelbaker, who hasn’t been charged in connection to the break-in, was later booked into the Greene County Jail, where he’s being held on $20,000 bond, online records show.

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Registered sex offenders get surprise visit from deputies

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 11:02 PM
Updated: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 11:02 PM


            Butler County sheriff’s deputies spent Thursday verifying the addresses of registered sex offenders in the county.
Butler County sheriff’s deputies spent Thursday verifying the addresses of registered sex offenders in the county.

Butler County sheriff’s deputies spent Thursday verifying the addresses of registered sex offenders in the county.

Beginning at 9 a.m., 15 teams of deputies began the annual verification operation of nearly 500 registered sex offenders.

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Periodic spot checks of offenders are conducted throughout the year, but mass verification is conducted annually.

“This operation is vital to keep the people in this community safe by keeping track of where these sex offenders are. If they are not following the orders of the court, they go to jail. It’s that simple,” said Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones.

For more information about Butler County registered sex offenders, log into www.butlersheriff.org and click “SORN” at the top of the page. You can check to see if any offenders are living near your residence as well as register to be notified if anyone moves near you.

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