The Los Angeles Times reports that David and Louise Turpin have been officially charged with "torture, child abuse, abuse of dependent adults and false imprisonment", per Riverside County District Attorney Michael Hestrin, who held a press conference on Thurs.
Elizabeth Jane Flores, sister to the children's mother Louise Turpin, said her brother-in-law, David Turpin, would watch her shower when she briefly lived with the family in Texas more than 20 years ago.
"The 17-year-old who escaped had been working on a plan to escape with her siblings for more than two years", Hestrin said.
The 12-year-old child weighs as much as a healthy 7-year-old should, prosecutors said. The malnourished children were reportedly sometimes made to look at pies left right in their view on a counter while they were starving.
Hestrin claimed that the 13 children, who are now hospitalized for malnutrition, gave personal accounts of years of torture, including being regularly beaten and strangled by their parents. "None saw a doctor in the last four years, never have seen a dentist", Hestrin said.
"Often, they were not released from their chains to go to the bathroom", he told the press conference.
Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped as an 11-year-old and repeatedly raped over 18 years by convicted sex offender Phillip Garrido in California. They weren't allowed to have toys, but many toys were found inside the house still in their original packaging.
Even though the house was listed as a private school, the siblings didn't know basic details about modern society, Hestrin said.
The teenager said she had been plotting her escape for two years.
"At this point, we'll be doing a full assessment with medical professionals to better understand needs of the adults as well as the children, and we'll be prepared to provide supportive services as well as engage other agencies in assisting these individuals to be stable", she told reporters Tuesday.
He added there was also "frequent beatings" and "strangulation", and reasons for punishment included washing their hands above the wrist area.
The children who ranged from ages 2 to 29 all "appeared malnourished and very dirty", as they were shackled to their beds "in dark and foul-smelling surroundings".
A judge set bail at $12 million each for the Turpins, who were scheduled to return to court on February 23.
Mr Hestrin said he believed the family's nocturnal habits, staying awake all night and sleeping all day, contributed to the Turpins' ability to escape notice.
"As a prosecutor, there are cases that stick with you, that haunt you".
Investigators say they collected hundreds of journals the kids were allowed to write in.
In nearby Corona, the local Chamber of Commerce collected money, clothes and other contributions for the victims.
Nor was there any indication that either suspect suffered from mental illness, Perris police chief Greg Fellows said, or that the children's ordeal was linked to the family's religious beliefs.