The Latest: Classmate says shackled girl was bullied, frail
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on the torture and abuse case against the parents of 13 siblings in California (all times local):
Classmates say the oldest of 13 siblings found captive in their California home was bullied during grade school in Fort Worth, Texas.
Taha Muntajibuddin (MOON’-tah-jih-BOO’-deen) says he feels guilty about how the now-29-year-old woman was treated. Authorities say she and 11 of her siblings were starved and chained to furniture for years by their parents.
Muntajibuddin attended third grade with her and says he had an “overwhelming sense of guilt and shame.”
Now a pediatric resident doctor in Houston, Muntajibuddin described her as “a frail girl” with “pin-straight hair with bangs.”
Another classmate, Stephanie Hernandez, says she was quiet and always wore the same magenta sweatsuit or dirt-stained jeans that were too small.
Hernandez says she wishes teachers would’ve noticed “something was off.”
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 and starved so much that their growth was stunted.
Kim Trone, a spokeswoman for the Riverside University Health Systems Foundation, said Tuesday the fund had received 1,514 donations.
She says people from across the world have also been sending toys, blankets and clothing for the siblings.
County officials said they’ve received numerous calls from people offering to foster or adopt the children, who range from 2 to 29.
David Turpin and his wife, Louise Turpin, were arrested after sheriff’s deputies found the malnourished children in their home in Riverside County. They’ve pleaded not guilty to torture and other charges.