Two of the 13 siblings rescued from a California ‘House of Horrors’ three years ago have told of how their parents used the Bible to justify the abuse they meted out.
Jennifer Turpin (33), and Jordan Turpin (21) spoke with Diane Sawyer and explained the cruel ways parents David and Louise kept their children in captivity and under control. They even quoted from the Book of Deuteronomy in order to argue that they were justified in murdering their offspring.
Children were threatened with knives and sticks, as well as being told by their parents that they would be chained to their beds and pulled their hair.
Jordan stated to Sawyer that he was honest and didn’t know all the details of each person’s past.
Additionally, they claimed the parents used the Bible to justify their actions towards the siblings.
Diane Sawyer interviewed Jennifer Turpin (second row, left) about their rescue. You can watch the entire interview on Friday
Jordan Turpin and Jennifer Turpin shared their horrendous ordeal for the very first time. The abuse children were abused according to Whistleblowers.
David Turpin and Louise Turpin seen here together with their 13 kids before they were finally taken into custody by police
Jennifer and Jordin shared a moment of affection over the emotional recountings of their stories.
Turpins claimed God wanted them to have more children.
Jennifer said that they loved to highlight things in Deuteronomy and say, “We have the right do this to them.” “That they had the right not to listen and could kill us.”
Sawyer, a veteran journalist, said that children could only get fresh air if they looked out the window of David or Louise.
Jordan confessed to her fears when she tried to contact the authorities about her parents.
“My entire body was shaking.” She said that she couldn’t dial 911. It was our coming so near to death so many,’ she said. If anything happened to me it was at least that I tried.
According to a report, even after being saved, children were reported to have received assistance from a system of social services that was meant to assist them in their transition into new lives.
At the age of 2, they were living in terrible abusive conditions. They were chained up to their homes for years and starved.
Now, Riverside County has hired a private law firm to look into allegations the seven adult and six minor children in the Turpin family did not get basic services they needed after they were freed from their parents’ prison-like home, ABC News reported.
Britney Spears recently was released from a conservatorship that prevented even the adult Turpins’ access to some $600,000. The result is that they are living in poverty and near homelessness.
ABC also reported that there is an ongoing criminal investigation into the foster family for mistreating multiple children including one Turpin. The allegations were denied by the lawyer representing that family.
They were between two and 29 years old when the siblings suffered horribly abusive living conditions. Their parents locked them in their house for many years, kept them confined to their beds, and even starved them.
Jordan made a bold escape from his family’s home in 2018 and contacted police
Melissa Donaldson (director of victim services in Riverside County) said that many of the children had felt “trampled” by local officials who handled their cases.
Donaldson stated that there were occasions when children didn’t have enough food or a safe place for them to sleep. Donaldson also said that the court appointed conservator prevented the adults from accessing the $600,000.
Joshua Turpin (29 years old) told the network the conservator at the public guardian’s office denied him permission to purchase a bicycle with some funds, even though he did not have any other means of transport.
Donaldson wept when she told of the way the children had been kept as prisoners in a prison cell by David Turpin’s parents. At times, they were left to their own devices to navigate a complex bureaucracy.
‘When the case broke, I received thousands of offers of assistance… doctors and dentists. People offered to serve these children free of charge. Send them my way, she asked.
I had to send those referrals on to Child Protective Services staff and the hospital. She said that none of the referrals were used.
Melissa Donaldson (director of Riverside County victim services) criticized local officials over their handling of this case and said that the children felt ‘betrayed’.
“They’ve been victims again by the system,” said Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin. That is something that I cannot imagine.
According to the social worker, the Turpin adult children lived in one of most crime-ridden areas of the county and one had been assaulted.
“They all had a sixth sense of terror, but they didn’t have it.” They had none of that, and they were cast right into the world in a very unsafe violent inner-city area,’ said Wade Walsvick, the lead district attorney’s investigator on the case.
They have access to resources that are available for them. They are living in extreme poverty. They are living in dangerous neighborhoods. There’s money for them for their education. They can’t access it,’ said Riverside Country District Attorney Mike Hestrin.
Hestrin stated that they had been victimized once more by the system. He said, “And that’s unimaginable to us, that they could have the most severe case of child abuse I’ve ever witnessed, possibly one of California’s worst, and then that we wouldn’t be able get it together to provide basic necessities for them.”
Donaldson claimed that Donaldson spoke out because she believed the system needed to be repaired.
The Turpin abuse was not noticed in Perris which is 60 miles southwest of Los Angeles. Jordan Turpin then escaped and called police.
Jordan, along with one of Jordan’s sisters, gave their first media interview on Friday’s ABC’s 20/20.
Jordan was just 17 years old when she called the police in California to inform them of her California house. This was her first conversation on the phone with anyone outside of her immediate family.
Deputies stated that the children could only shower one time a year.
Jordan, now 21, recalled when she was able to barely push the 911 buttons after fleeing the house. She said she had never talked to anyone on the telephone before, and that she was shaking.
After seeing her sisters suffering, she stated that she felt the need to do something.
‘I had to make sure that if I left we wouldn´t go back, and we would get the help we needed,’ she said in a tearful interview. ‘Because if we went back, there´s no way I would be sitting here right now.’
Jordan, who was escaping, said to a deputy of the sheriff that Jordan’s brothers and sisters, ranging in age between 2 and 29, were starved, tied to their beds, and left to die in misery.
Children slept through the night, did not get much education at night, and were only active for a short time during the day.
The deputy who saved the siblings from drowning shows Jordan talking to him via body-worn video. She nervously claims that she has never spoken to someone outside of the family.
When the deputy asked if she was taking any medication, Jordan said she didn´t know what that word meant.
The 13 siblings, except for the 2-year old, were all severely overweight and had not bathed in months.
The investigation found that the youngest child had not been abused by his or her parents and they were sentenced to life imprisonment.
Louise Turpin and David Turpin pleaded guilty in 2019 to 14 counts each of torture and abuse and were sentenced for 25 years to life imprisonment. Both are eligible to be paroled in 22 years
David and Louise enjoyed fast food right in front of their kids, who only had one meal per day. If the siblings tried to steal food they would put them in filthy beds.
The minor and adult children of the released prisoners were admitted to hospital for treatment within days. All over the globe, donations and support were received.
However, adult siblings now have difficulty accessing the social services they need and money donated to them. A court-appointed public guardian managed the trust.
Joshua Turpin, 29, told ABC News he couldn’t access funds to cover transportation needs and when he asked for help from the county’s deputy public guardian assigned to his case, ‘she would just tell me, `Just go Google it.´’
‘I called the public guardian´s office and she refused to let me request for a bike,’ he said.
Riverside County Executive Officer Jeff Van Waganen released a statement stating that his office had hired Stephen G. Larson’s law firm to evaluate the services and quality of care provided.
The report must be submitted by March 31st.
‘The County of Riverside is committed to conducting a thorough and transparent review of the services provided to the Turpin siblings and to improve and strengthen the County´s child welfare and dependent adult systems,’ the statement said.
Matthew Chang is the head of the county’s guardian agency. He said that he welcomes the inquiry into the siblings’ care.
Jordan crawled through a window to call the police in January 2018, using her cell phone. Because she wasn’t aware of the sidewalks, she said she went on the street.
After Jordan, 17, crawled through the window to call 911, Jordan and his siblings were able to escape from their home.
Parents beat and starved them, then strangled them. It was a filthy house with a strong stench from human waste.
Jennifer said that children would be often chained for many months.
Parents’ neglect and abuse were so severe that it was pervasive. [and]It was so long that their children were not growing as they should have, it led to muscle loss and made two daughters incapable of having children.
Jordan called the police 20 minutes after her call. The girl was unable to find her home address, and had never gone outside by herself before.
In January 2018, David and Louise were taken into custody. It was then that horrific details emerged about the child abuse, torture and neglect.
Deputies attested that the children could only shower one time a year.
They were kept mostly in their rooms, with the exception of meals. This was cut from three to one per person per day and consisted of both lunches and dinner.
The siblings ate two pieces of bread each day, with peanut butter and bologna. They were accused of taunting their children by giving them pies and other forbidden food.
Turpin parents indulged in fast food, and then chained the children to their filthy beds when they attempted to steal their food.
“They don’t know how to look at bologna or peanut butter,” Kevin Beecham, the Deputy District attorney, told People magazine last January.
“I mentioned peanut butter at one of our meet and greets. One of the girls nearly threw up when I did this. They can’t even look at peanut butter when they go to the grocery store. It’s impossible for them to even walk down an aisle that contains peanut butter.
Turpin children were not permitted to behave like other kids. They also weren’t allowed toys.
Sawyer also spoke with Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin, who was involved with the case. It was a memorable experience that he will not forget.
He said, “It was the thing that stopped me from moving.” There are certain cases that will stay with you forever, and they haunt you.
David and Louise pleaded guilty to 14 counts of torture and other abuse in 2019 and were sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Both of them are eligible for parole after 22 years.
The parents case was in court. However, their 13 siblings did not make headlines. Instead they were able to adjust to normal living outside of the House of Horrors.
Beecham, the Turpin prosecution lawyer, said to People magazine, that all the siblings were happy.
He said, “They’re moving on with life,” he continued.
At the same time, one of my siblings had just graduated from college. The other siblings had either jobs or were attending school.
“Some are independent, live in their own apartments, have jobs, and go to school. Many volunteers are involved in the community. “They go to church,” he said.
He noted also that siblings often see one another.
He said, “They still meet together, all thirteen of them so they’ll find somewhere kind of discrete.”
To get away from the stigmat of being victimized in this case, several siblings decided to change their names.
Beecham explained, “It would prove difficult for them, to continue that name, this label of victim forever.”
Radar Online’s 2019 edition of Radar Online was told by Elizabeth Flores, Louise’s sister. She said that Louise had cried during their discussion about the children and didn’t want anyone to know.
We talked about the baby. Elizabeth shared with me her 3rd birthday. She began to cry, because she wasn’t there.
Hulu has the complete 20/20 Escape From A House Of Horror special.