Classmate: Girl tortured with siblings was bullied, frail

Classmate: Girl tortured with siblings was bullied, frail

LOS ANGELES — The oldest of the 13 California siblings who authorities said were imprisoned by their parents was frail, smelly and picked on as a grade school student in Texas, one her classmates said in a heart-wrenching Facebook post.

The now-29-year-old woman was rescued with her starving brothers and sisters from their home in Perris, California, on Jan. 14. Neighbors and relatives said they were unaware of the children’s treatment until authorities arrested the parents and revealed what they found inside.

Taha Muntajibuddin attended kindergarten through third grade with her in Fort Worth, Texas. After learning of the case, he shared on Facebook his “overwhelming sense of guilt and shame” over how she was treated.

Muntajibuddin, a pediatrics resident doctor in Houston who confirmed his post to The Associated Press, described her as “a frail girl, had pin-straight hair with bangs, and often wore the same purple outfit.”

He wrote that it was jarring to learn that the girl, who was teased in school for being smelly, “quite literally had to sit in her own waste because she was chained to her bed.”

“It is nothing but sobering to know that the person who sat across from you at the lunch table went home to squalor and filth while you went home to a warm meal and a bedtime story,” he wrote.

The post has elicited a strong reaction, with some condemning Muntajibuddin for his behaviour as a child. Others praised him for addressing it.

Muntajibuddin said in an interview Tuesday that he was surprised by the reaction.

“It was just meant to be an honest lesson: take it or leave it,” he said.

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, including the 29-year-old, or anyone who can speak on their behalf.

Crowley Independent School District spokesman Anthony Kirchner confirmed Muntajibuddin and the victim attended the same school.

Kirchner said he was unable to confirm when she enrolled or when she left school, or whether any of her younger siblings attended, because districts are only required to keep elementary student records for five years.

Another classmate, Stephanie Hernandez, told the AP in a Facebook message that the girl was quiet and always wore dirt-stained jeans that were too small. Hernandez said she often was bullied.

“I remember someone kind of slung her around like a rag doll,” said Hernandez, a registered nurse in Mansfield, Texas.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested David Turpin, 57, and Louise Turpin, 49, after their 17-year-old daughter climbed out a window and called 911. Authorities found the siblings, ages 2 to 29, in the family’s filthy California home, three of whom were shackled to beds and all except the youngest child malnourished.

The couple has pleaded not guilty to torture and other charges.

The Riverside University Health System Foundation, which is collecting money for the siblings, so far has received 1,500 donations totalling $120,000, spokeswoman Kim Trone.

California

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS                                These undated photos provided by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department show David Allen Turpin, left, and Louise Anna Turpin. More than $120,000 has been donated to help 13 siblings in California who authorities say were kept chained to beds for months by their parents, the Turpins, and starved so much that their growth was stunted.

File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS These undated photos provided by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department show David Allen Turpin, left, and Louise Anna Turpin. More than $120,000 has been donated to help 13 siblings in California who authorities say were kept chained to beds for months by their parents, the Turpins, and starved so much that their growth was stunted.

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta reports 1,731 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday

The province’s central zone has 992 active cases

Collin Orthner, manager at McBain Camera in downtown Red Deer, stands behind the store’s counter on Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
A few Red Deer businesses happy with Black Friday results

While this year’s Black Friday wasn’t as successful as it was in… Continue reading

Le Chateau Inc. is the latest Canadian firm to start producing personal protective equipment for health care workers, in a July 3, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Hundreds of millions of dollars for frontline workers yet to be released, says Alberta Federation of Labour

Information recently released by the Alberta Federation of Labour suggests more than… Continue reading

Red Deer RCMP say a 30-year-old man faces sexual charges against a teen. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Man killed in two-vehicle collision near Penhold, says Blackfalds RCMP

A 46-year-old man is dead following a two-vehicle collision on Highway 42… Continue reading

Banff National Park. (The Canadian Press)
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

EDMONTON — A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths on railway tracks… Continue reading

Cows on pasture at the University of Vermont dairy farm eat hay Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Burlington, Vt. Canadian dairy farmers are demanding compensation from the government because of losses to their industry they say have been caused by a series of international trade deals. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Lisa Rathke
Feds unveil more funding for dairy, poultry and egg farmers hurt by free trade deals

OTTAWA — Canadian egg and poultry farmers who’ve lost domestic market share… Continue reading

Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Canada's top doctor says the country is still on a troubling track for new COVID-19 infections as case counts continue mounting in much of the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
COVID-19 cases in Canada remain on troubling course, Tam says, amid rising numbers

Canada’s top doctor says the country is still on a troubling track… Continue reading

hay
Hay’s Daze: Giraffe knows filling wishes can sometimes be a tall order

Last weekend, I had a lovely breakfast. “So what?” you may say.… Continue reading

A person enters a building as snow falls in Ottawa, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. Ottawa has been successful in limiting the spread of COVID-19 during its second wave thanks to the city’s residents who have been wearing masks and staying home, said Ottawa’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
People to thank for Ottawa’s success with curbing COVID-19: health officer

The city’s chief medical officer said much of the credit goes to the people who live in Ottawa

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh asks a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says tonight's public video gaming session with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is about reaching young people where they hang. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP leader stoked over ‘epic crossover’ in video gaming sesh with AOC

Singh and AOC discussed importance of universal pharmacare, political civility, a living wage

A south view of the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf breaking apart is seen from Ward Hunt Island, Nunavut, in an Aug. 20, 2011, handout photo. The remote area in the northern reach of the Nunavut Territory, has seen ice cover shrink from over 4 metres thick in the 1950s to complete loss, according to scientists, during recent years of record warming. Scientists are urging the federal government to permanently protect a vast stretch of Canada's remotest High Arctic called the Last Ice Area. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-CEN/Laval University, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Scientists urge permanent protection of Last Ice Area in Canada’s High Arctic

Tuvaijuittuq has the thickest and oldest ice in the Arctic

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s $55 million Lotto Max jackpot

No winning ticket was sold for the $55 million jackpot in Friday… Continue reading

Most Read