LOS ANGELES - Thirteen siblings whose parents locked them away for years inside the family's California home suffered the "ultimate betrayal" and will likely find it difficult to trust others, kidnapping survivor and advocate Elizabeth Smart said on Wednesday.
Smart, abducted as a teenager from her Utah home in 2002, nevertheless expressed optimism that the siblings, ages 2 to 29, could eventually overcome the trauma of physical confinement, malnourishment and social isolation.
"The human spirit is incredibly resilient, so I do believe each one of them can go on to live a full life, to reclaim what's been taken from them," she told Reuters in a telephone interview from her home in Utah.
Psychiatrists and child abuse experts said intensive therapy would likely be required for the children of David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49. The couple were arrested on Sunday at their foul-smelling tract house east of Los Angeles on charges of torture and child endangerment.