Oldest son of 13 captive children was star college student

Associated Press/January 25, 2018

By Michael Balsamo and Amy Taxin

The oldest son of the California siblings who authorities say were tortured by their parents, chained to their beds and so malnourished their growth was stunted had excelled at his community college and had been named to the honor roll for two semesters, school officials said Thursday.

The son, who is in his 20s, attended Mt. San Jacinto College for several years. His mother would bring him to school and wait outside his classes for him, prosecutors said.

He did not earn a degree but was on the president's honor roll in fall 2015 and spring 2016, college spokeswoman Karin Marriott told The Associated Press.

A transcript obtained by ABC News showed he attended classes from 2014 until at least 2016 and sometimes earned 15 credits per semester. He earned A's in many classes, including algebra, guitar, public speaking, English fundamentals and freshman composition, according to the transcript.

He and his 12 siblings were rescued on Jan. 14 when their 17-year-old sister climbed out a window of their home about 60 miles (97 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles and called 911. Authorities said they found the siblings in the family's filthy home in the city of Perris, three of them were shackled to beds.

Their parents, David and Louise Turpin, were arrested and accused of abusing the siblings — ranging in age from 2 to 29. They have pleaded not guilty to torture and other charges.

The AP is not naming the siblings because of the severity of abuse allegations, which are still under investigation. The AP also has not been able to talk to the children or anyone who can speak on their behalf.

Joe Chermak, who attended a musical performance at the school in May 2016, said he remembered seeing the Turpin family in the audience. The small group of family members took up almost half a row of seats and they were all wearing matching outfits — blue shirts and tan pants, he said.

At first, Chermak said he thought it was a group of kids from another school who came to watch the guitar ensemble with a mix of classical, jazz and musical theater, but then he looked more closely and realized they all seemed very skinny.

"I noticed that one girl was skinny from her arm and pale," he told The Associated Press.

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