Prosecutors say the children range in age from 2 to 29.
As David and Louise Turpin's criminal case proceeds, the questions of their parental rights and their children's long-term future will likely be decided in another courtroom.
On Thursday, David and Louise Turpin were charged with 12 criminal counts of torture, seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult, and 12 counts of false imprisonment that could keep them behind bars for life if they are convicted.
While the children were deprived of food, the Turpin parents ate well and even tormented the children by putting apple and pumpkin pies on the kitchen counter, but not letting them have any, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said.
A lawyer for David Turpin told ABC News, "What we would like the public to know is that our clients are presumed to be innocent and that's a very important presumption".
Multiple photographs on social media reveal that the family was often dressed up in identical outfits.
The California couple tried to present a happy family image, speaking warmly of their kids and posting photos of girls in pink and boys in blue smiling with Mickey Mouse at Disneyland. One member of the Princeton High School Class of 1979 remembered how David Turpin, who he called a quiet and nearly "nerdy" boy, was generally a "homebody" who was not known for partying with the other students or getting into trouble.
"We're going to do everything we can to assist them through our victims' services division, and hopefully they'll be cared for throughout this process", he said. That's not just spur-of-the-moment anger, I'm not changing that view'.
GETTYDavid Turpin and Louise Turpin were both arrested last weekend
"We have been so anxious about them because it's been so unusual, but there was nothing we could do". "We help each other whenever we can - I think if someone had know anything they would have spoken out".
She sneaked out of a window of the unassuming family home at around 6am on Sunday, fleeing to safety before using the deactivated phone she took from the house to call 911.
"If I went to get in the shower, [David Allen Turpin] would come in there while I was in there and watch me", Flores, 41, said.
"I have four siblings now instead of five".
David Turpin apparently ran a small school out of his home.
The California Department of Education lists Mr Turpin as the school's "principal" on its website. But authorities believe the children's abuse began in Texas. He further reported that the children were in safe hands and that the police were further investigating the matter. Bankruptcy documents listed Louise as a homemaker and put the couple's debt over $240,000 with the family falling more than $1,000 short each month on expenses.
Parents David and Louise Turpin's one-year-old Maltese mixes were recovered at the family home in "good condition", according to Perris city spokesmam Joe Vargo.
An Elvis Presley impersonator holds a microphone and poses with the couple and children in a scene reminiscent of a Las Vegas wedding. The children would reportedly march in single-file for hours, according to ABC News.
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