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'My parents took my whole life from me, but now I'm taking my life back'

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Three of the 13 children rescued from a "house of horrors" in California last year delivered emotional victim impact statements on Friday at their parents' sentencing.

"I believe everything happens for a reason," one of the couple's adult daughters said in a statement, the Desert Sun reported. "My parents took my whole life from me, but now I'm taking my life back."

David Turpin, 57, and Louise Turpin, 50, looked on while two of their adult children recounted the horrific abuse they had suffered at the hands of the couple, the Desert Sun reported. Both parents reportedly cried when their children gave their statements inside the crowded Riverside County courtroom.

"I saw my dad change my mom, but they didn't change me. I am a fighter, I am strong and I am shooting through life like a rocket," the 30-year-old daughter continued.

It was the first time any of the Turpin children had spoken publicly since their parents were arrested in January 2018.

How long will the couple be in prison?

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Bernard J. Schwartz handed down life sentences for both David and Louise.

"Children are indeed a gift, they are a gift to their parents," Schwartz told the couple, the Desert Sun reported. "The selfish, cruel and inhumane treatment of your children has deprived society and especially you of those gifts."

"Their lives have been permanently altered in their ability to learn, grow and thrive," he continued. By pleading guilty, "you spared your children from having to relive the humiliation and harm they endured in that house of horrors."

In February, the couple pleaded guilty to 14 felony counts each of torture, dependent adult abuse, child endangerment, and false imprisonment. The judge said they would be eligible for parole after 25 years.

What else did the children say?

One son, who identified himself as Josh, told the court that he was working on his bachelor's degree in software engineering.
"Sometimes I still have nightmares such as my siblings being chained up getting beaten," he said.

"But, that is the past and this is now," he continued. "I love my parents and have forgiven them for a lot of the things that they did to us."

"Since January, I have learned so much and become very independent. In June of last year, I learned how to ride a bike and ever since then I have been hooked and ride it everywhere," he said, adding that has learned how to swim, eat healthy, and prepare a balanced meal.

Josh read a statement from one of his sisters, whom he identified as Jessica: "I love both of my parents so much," Josh read. "God looks at the heart and I know he sees theirs. I pray often for them."

Jessica added that she was attending college and doing well.

A representative read a statement from another daughter identified as Joy: "Every year from as far back as I can remember, our parents tried to give us the nicest Christmas they could," the woman read to the court.

Joy's statement said she believed 25 years was too long for her parents to be in prison. She asked that they be placed in detention centers that would be close enough for the children to visit them, should they want to do so in the future.

Each of the children spoke of their faith in God.

What's the backstory?

Decades of abuse was revealed after a 17-year-old girl escaped through a window of the family's Perris, California, house.

The girl used a deactivated cell phone she'd found inside the house to call 911. She told authorities that she and her siblings were being starved, beaten, and held captive inside their squalid home.

The children at the time ranged in age from 2 to 29. Authorities said the youngest child was the only one who didn't appear to be abused.

For punishment, the parents often shackled their children to their beds. They were only allowed one bath a year.

The severely malnourished children's growth was stunted. They suffered severe muscle wasting and two of the girls won't be able to bear children, the Daily Mail reported.

The filthy house wreaked of feces and urine.

What did the couple say in court?

David requested that his attorney read his statement to the court.

"I'm sorry if I've done anything to cause them harm. I hope the very best for my children in their future," David said following the portion read by his attorney. "I hope they are successful in their chosen professions. I am so proud of each and every one of my children. I miss all of my children."

Next, Louise spoke to the court.

"I'm sorry for everything I've done to hurt my children," she said. "I'm truly sorry. I love them more than they can ever imagine."

Live stream: California couple face lengthy prison terms for torturing their 13 children | USA TODAY

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