In the month since being rescued by California authorities from the “House of Horrors” they’d been living in, the seven adult Turpin siblings have made great strides in their ongoing recovery — and some are even learning to play guitar, a hospital official tells PEOPLE.
Mark Uffer, chief executive officer of Corona Regional Medical Center, where the seven adult Turpin siblings have been receiving treatment, tells PEOPLE, “They are doing well — I think they are making progress.”
Uffer notes that several of the siblings expressed an interest in music and picked up the instrument after a donation from Corona-based Fender Guitars in Corona.
“I have actually gone over and showed them some chords and they loved that,” Uffer says, noting he’s a drummer in a local rock band. “Music is very soothing and a great hobby … it takes you to a quiet, soothing place.
At this point, some of the Turpin siblings can play John Denver and Tom Petty songs on the donated acoustic guitars, according to Uffer. The siblings have even engaged in a sing-along.
David Allen Turpin, 56, and his wife, Louise, 49, face charges in the alleged abuse of their 13 children, who range in age from 2 to 29. The young children are receiving care at a separate facility.
The parents were arrested on Jan. 14 after their malnourished 17-year-old daughter climbed through one of the windows of their Perris, California, home, and called 911 using a disconnected cell phone she had found. The California couple have since pleaded not guilty to torture, abuse, and false imprisonment charges.
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“They have been through a really difficult ordeal and as much as everybody wants to see them and know about what is going on with them and how well they are doing, there is still significant case that will take place in the courts,” explains Uffer, who spoke with PEOPLE Tuesday. “Our job is to really protect their privacy … it is a very critical time for them.”
The 13 children were allegedly found stunted and malnourished, but things are different now.
“The community, the nursing staff, and the physicians … everybody has been involved in the care here at the hospital and they have really embraced the needs of the patient,” says Uffer. “It has been a special experience for everybody that has been involved.”
Doctors are still not discussing a potential discharge date for the Turpins.
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The Turpin parents remain in police custody on $9 million bond.
They return to court Feb. 23 for the next hearing in their case.