Californian captive children taste freedom for the first time

Thirteen children who were held captive and allegedly tortured by their parents in California are adjusting to tasting freedom for the first time.

But it hasn't been easy for them since their rescue six weeks ago, having been shackled to beds, starved and surrounded by filth for years.

The seven oldest children, who are recovering in hospital, had never seen a toothbrush before. Having choice over what they can wear is a big deal to them, representative attorney Jack Osborn told CBS News.

"[Decision making] in itself is a new experience for them, understanding that they do have rights and they do have a voice."

They've also been introduced to Harry Potter movies and iPads, Mr Osborn said.

Part of the hospital has been converted to an outdoor exercise and sports area. The older siblings, all over 18, haven't seen their six younger siblings since their escape, but speak regularly on Skype.

Corona Mayor Karen Spiegel, who works closely with nurses, told CBS the kids are extremely grateful, warm and loving.

The older children have plans to visit the beach, mountains and movies, and in the long term, attend college and pursue careers.

"They all have their own aspirations and their own interests and now they may have an opportunity to address those," Mr Osborn added.

David and Louise Turpin were arrested last month after one of the kids escaped and alerted police. Upon arrival, officers assumed that all of the captives - aged between two and 29 - were minors, due to their tiny frames.

Parents David and Louise Turpin are in custody.
Parents David and Louise Turpin are in custody. Photo credit: Riverside County Sheriff's Office

Several of the children were "shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings", the Riverside County Sheriff's Office said.

The parents are next due in court Friday afternoon (local time) for a hearing.


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