California torture house where 13 starving ‘kids’ found had not been inspected, officials say

There is no record that the horror house in California where 13 starving siblings were found was ever inspected by the fire department as required by law, a city official confirmed Thursday.

That could explain why Perris city officials had no idea that David Allen Turpin and his wife, Louisa Anna Turpin, were allegedly torturing their children until Sunday, when their 17-year-old daughter escaped and used a cellphone she found in the house to call 911.

The revelation came a day before the couple were expected to make their first court appearance to face possible torture and child endangerment charges.

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David and Louise Turpin charged with holding 13 children captive
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David and Louise Turpin charged with holding 13 children captive
A combination photo of David Allen Turpin (L) and Louise Ann Turpin as they appear in booking photos provided by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department in Riverside County, California, U.S., January 15, 2018. Riverside County Sheriff's Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS PICTURE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY. AN UNPROCESSED VERSION HAS BEEN PROVIDED SEPARATELY
Prosecutors are moving to legally separate David and Louise Turpin from the 13 children they allegedly held captive… https://t.co/Ri047Hiv0m
Vehicles remain in the driveway of 160 Muir Woods Road from where authorities rescued 13 malnourished children held captive by their parents in Perris, California. on January 16, 2018. David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin have been arrested for torture after authorities said on January 15, 2018, their 13 children were held captive in their home, with some shackled to beds in the dark. Authorities set bail at $9 million for the parents after a 17-year-old girl escaped the house on Sunday and called 911 using a cellphone found inside. / AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
David and Louise Turpin with attorneys David Macher (R) and Jeff Moore (2nd L) are seen during their court arraignment in Riverside, California on January 18, 2018. The California couple who held their 13 malnourished children captive in a suburban home were charged Thursday with multiple counts of torture and child abuse as prosecutors said the youngsters had been shackled even to go to the bathroom. Turpin, 57, and his wife, 49, were hit with 12 counts of torture, 12 of false imprisonment, six of child abuse and six of abuse of a dependent adult at a court hearing in the city of Riverside. / AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
PERRIS, CA - JANUARY 15: Neighbors stand outside a home (not pictured) where a couple was arrested after police discovered that 13 people had been held captive in filthy conditions with some shackled to beds with chains and padlocks, January 15, 2018 in Perris California. David Allen Turpin and his wife Louise Anna Turpin were charged with torture and child endangerment after a 17 year old escaped the residence and contacted the police. 12 others, ages ranging from 2 to 29, were discovered emaciated and malnourished in the home. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
New media gather outside the home of David Allen and Louise Anna Turpin in Perris, California, U.S., January 16, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A decoration hangs in the window of the home of David Allen and Louise Anna Turpin in Perris, California, U.S., January 16, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Louise Turpin is seen with attorney Jeff Moore during her court arraignment in Riverside, California on January 18, 2018. The California couple who held their 13 malnourished children captive in a suburban home were charged Thursday with multiple counts of torture and child abuse as prosecutors said the youngsters had been shackled even to go to the bathroom. David Turpin, 57, and his wife, 49, were hit with 12 counts of torture, 12 of false imprisonment, six of child abuse and six of abuse of a dependent adult at a court hearing in the city of Riverside. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Terry PIERSON (Photo credit should read TERRY PIERSON/AFP/Getty Images)
David Turpin appears in court for his arraignment in Riverside, California, U.S. January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Terry Pierson/Pool
Neighborhood resident Rosenberg Salgado steps out of his vehicle with a photo of his neice Elizabeth Laguna, who went missing nearly three years ago, after authorities rescued 13 malnourished children held captive by their parents in Perris, California, on January 16, 2018. David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin have been arrested for torture after authorities said on January 15, 2018, their 13 children were held captive in their home, with some shackled to beds in the dark. Authorities set bail at $9 million for the parents after a 17-year-old girl escaped the house on Sunday and called 911 using a cellphone found inside. / AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
The home of David Allen and Louise Anna Turpin in Perris, California, U.S., January 15, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Riverside County District Attorney Michael Hestrin speaks during a press conference in Riverside, California on a California couple who held their 13 malnourished children captive in a suburban home, charged Thursday with multiple counts of torture and child abuse on January 18, 2018 in Riverside, California. David Allen Turpin, 57, and his wife Louise Anna Turpin, 49 were hit with 12 counts of torture, 12 of false imprisonment, six of child abuse and six of abuse of a dependent adult at a court hearing in the city of Riverside. David Turpin was also charged with committing a lewd act against a child by force or fear or duress, District Attorney Mike Hestrin told a press conference. / AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Louise Turpin appears at her court arraignment with husband David in Riverside, California on January 18, 2018. The California couple who held their 13 malnourished children captive in a suburban home were charged Thursday with multiple counts of torture and child abuse as prosecutors said the youngsters had been shackled even to go to the bathroom. David Turpin, 57, and his wife, 49, were hit with 12 counts of torture, 12 of false imprisonment, six of child abuse and six of abuse of a dependent adult at a court hearing in the city of Riverside. / AFP PHOTO / Terry PIERSON (Photo credit should read TERRY PIERSON/AFP/Getty Images)
David Turpin appears at his court arraignment with wife Louise in Riverside, California on January 18, 2018. The California couple who held their 13 malnourished children captive in a suburban home were charged Thursday with multiple counts of torture and child abuse as prosecutors said the youngsters had been shackled even to go to the bathroom. David Turpin, 57, and his wife, 49, were hit with 12 counts of torture, 12 of false imprisonment, six of child abuse and six of abuse of a dependent adult at a court hearing in the city of Riverside. / AFP PHOTO / TERRY PIERSON (Photo credit should read TERRY PIERSON/AFP/Getty Images)
News crews gather outside the home of David Allen and Louise Anna Turpin in Perris, California, U.S., January 15, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
David Turpin and Louise Turpin appear in court for their arraignment in Riverside, California, U.S. January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Gina Ferazzi/Pool TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
David Turpin (R) and Louise Turpin (L) appear in court for their arraignment in Riverside, California, U.S. January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Gina Ferazzi/Pool
Louise Ann Turpin appears in a booking photo provided by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department January 15, 2018. Riverside County Sheriff's Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
David Allen Turpin appears in a booking photo provided by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department January 15, 2018. Riverside County Sheriff's Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS PICTURE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY. AN UNPROCESSED VERSION HAS BEEN PROVIDED SEPARATELY
The home of David Allen and Louise Anna Turpin in Perris, California, U.S., January 15, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
RIVERSIDE, CA - JANUARY 18: Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin announces charges filed against a couple accused of holding their 13 children captive on January 18, 2018 in Riverside, California. According to Riverside County Sheriffs, David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, held 13 malnourished children ranging in age from 2 to 29 captive in their Perris, California home. Deputies were alerted after a 17-year-old daughter escaped by jumping through a window shortly before dawn on Sunday morning, carrying a de-activated mobile phone from which she was able to call 911 for help. Responding deputies described conditions in the home as foul-smelling with some kids chained to a bed and suffering injuries as a result. Adult children appeared at first to be minors because of their malnourished state. The Turpins were arrested on charges of torture and child endangerment. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
News crews gather outside the home of David Allen and Louise Anna Turpin in Perris, California, U.S., January 15, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Neighbors stand and watch news crews outside the home of David Allen and Louise Anna Turpin in Perris, California, U.S., January 15, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
PERRIS, CA - JANUARY 15: The home where a couple was arrested after police discovered that 13 people had been held captive in filthy conditions with some shackled to beds with chains and padlocks is shown January 15, 2018 in Perris California. David Allen Turpin and his wife Louise Anna Turpin were charged with torture and child endangerment after a 17 year old escaped the residence and contacted the police. Twelve others, ranging in age from 2 to 29, were discovered emaciated and malnourished in the home. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
David and Louise Turpin look on as attorney David Macher speaks during their court arraignment in Riverside, California on January 18, 2018. The California couple who held their 13 malnourished children captive in a suburban home were charged Thursday with multiple counts of torture and child abuse as prosecutors said the youngsters had been shackled even to go to the bathroom. Turpin, 57, and his wife, 49, were hit with 12 counts of torture, 12 of false imprisonment, six of child abuse and six of abuse of a dependent adult at a court hearing in the city of Riverside. / AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
New media gather outside the home of David Allen and Louise Anna Turpin in Perris, California, U.S., January 16, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
David Turpin confers with attorneys Allison Lowe (back of head) and David Macher (R) as Louise Turpin confers with attorney Jeff Moore, during his court arraignment with wife Louise in Riverside, California on January 18, 2018. The California couple who held their 13 malnourished children captive in a suburban home were charged Thursday with multiple counts of torture and child abuse as prosecutors said the youngsters had been shackled even to go to the bathroom. David Turpin, 57, and his wife, 49, were hit with 12 counts of torture, 12 of false imprisonment, six of child abuse and six of abuse of a dependent adult at a court hearing in the city of Riverside. / AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
RIVERSIDE, CA - JANUARY 18: Reporters set up microphones at the podium before Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin announces charges filed against a couple accused of holding their 13 children captive on January 18, 2018 in Riverside, California. According to Riverside County Sheriffs, David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, held 13 malnourished children ranging in age from 2 to 29 captive in their Perris, California home. Deputies were alerted after a 17-year-old daughter escaped by jumping through a window shortly before dawn on Sunday morning, carrying a de-activated mobile phone from which she was able to call 911 for help. Responding deputies described conditions in the home as foul-smelling with some kids chained to a bed and suffering injuries as a result. Adult children appeared at first to be minors because of their malnourished state. The Turpins were arrested on charges of torture and child endangerment. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
RIVERSIDE, CA - JANUARY 18: Louise Anna Turpin (L) David Allen Turpin (2ed R), accused of holding their 13 children captive, appear in court for arraignment with attorneys Jeff Moore and Alison Lowe (R) on January 18, 2018 in Riverside, California. According to Riverside County Sheriffs, David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin held 13 malnourished children ranging in age from 2 to 29 captive in their Perris, California home. Deputies were alerted after a 17-year-old daughter escaped by jumping through a window shortly before dawn on Sunday morning, carrying a de-activated mobile phone from which she was able to call 911 for help. Responding deputies described conditions in the home as foul-smelling with some kids chained to a bed and suffering injuries as a result. Adult children appeared at first to be minors because of their malnourished state. The Turpins were arrested on charges of torture and child endangerment. (Photo by Gina Ferazzi-Pool/Getty Images)
Louise Turpin appears in court for her arraignment in Riverside, California, U.S. January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Frederic J. Brown/Pool
New media gather outside the home of David Allen and Louise Anna Turpin in Perris, California, U.S., January 16, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A media person takes a photo of a childs car seat inside one of the vehicles in front of the house at 160 Muir Woods Road in Perris, California, from where authorities rescued 13 malnourished children reportedly held captive by their parents, on January 15, 2018. David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin have been arrested for torture after authorities said on Monday their 13 children were held captive in their home, with some shackled to beds in the dark. Authorities set bail at $9 million for the parents after a 17-year-old girl escaped the house on Sunday and called 911 using a cellphone found inside. / AFP PHOTO / Bill Wechter (Photo credit should read BILL WECHTER/AFP/Getty Images)
A sign is viewed in a neighboorhood where authorities rescued 13 malnourished children held captive by their parents in Perris, California on January 16, 2018. David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin have been arrested for torture after authorities said on January 15 ,2018 their 13 children were held captive in their home, with some shackled to beds in the dark. Authorities set bail at $9 million for the parents after a 17-year-old girl escaped the house on Sunday and called 911 using a cellphone found inside. / AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
PICTURED: Parents David and Louise Turpin were arrested on torture and child endangerment charges after police say… https://t.co/BQActvfDJu
"I didn’t know there were kids in the house.” - Andrew Santillan, who lives around the corner from the Turpin's hou… https://t.co/eGhA8CtKKn
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The tan stucco house that the Turpins called home was required to have annual fire inspections because David Allen Turpin had gotten state approval to run a private school called Sandcastle Day School on the site and he was listed as the principal.

But when The Associated Press asked for the inspection records, Perris Assistant City Clerk Judy Haughney said there weren't any. And city Fire Marshal Dave Martinez did not return a call from NBC News seeking an explanation.

No state agency regulates or oversees private schools in California, but they are subject to an annual inspection by the state or local fire marshal.

"We are sickened by this tragedy and relieved the children are now safe and authorities are investigating," the California Board of Education said in a statement. "Private schools are required to register with the state to record their students' exemption from compulsory attendance at public schools. Under current California law, the CDE does not approve, monitor, inspect, or oversee private schools, but we will gladly work to make changes in the law that would prevent this type of tragedy from occurring in the future."

A spokesman for the city of Perris, however, said the state was supposed to have let it know that the Turpins were operating a school out of their home but never did.

"The Turpins failed to contact the City of Perris regarding the operation of the school and never sought a business license from the City," the spokesman said, adding that the state recommends that "private home-based school operators check with local authorities regarding local business licenses but does not mandate fire inspections."

All 13 of the Turpin children, ages 2 to 29, have been admitted to hospitals for treatment for severe malnutrition.

The Turpins had little contact with their family back in West Virginia, and shocked relatives have told NBC News that they had no idea what they were allegedly doing.

"We always thought she was living the perfect life," Teresa Robinette, Louisa Anna Turpin's sister, said in an interview conducted in Knoxville, Tennessee. "She would tell us they went to Disneyland all the time, they would go to Vegas."

The secret of the house on Muir Woods Road began to spill out on Sunday when the Turpins' 17-year-old daughter escaped through a window and called 911, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department reported.

"Further investigation revealed several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings, but the parents were unable to immediately provide a logical reason why their children were restrained in that manner,” the statement read.

It was only after freeing them that deputies discovered that seven of who they thought were severely emaciated kids were actually adults "ranging in age from 18 to 29." 

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