News, Culture & Society

Children of California house of horrors couple speak at parents’ sentencing

Two of the 13 children of the California house of horrors couple have given emotional victim impact statements in court as their parents sobbed and were sentenced for torturing them for years.

David Turpin, 57, and his wife Louise, 50, were both sentenced on Friday to life in prison with possibility of parole after 25 years.

Two of their adult children, a man and a woman named only as John and Jane Doe, read victim impact statements to the court as they spoke publicly for the first time since being freed from their filthy home in January 2018.

Their parents broke down in tears as they listened to their children speak of the nightmares of being chained and beaten in their home.

‘My parents took my whole life from me but now I’m taking my life back,’ their daughter said shakily.

‘I believe everything happens for a reason. Life may have been bad, but it made me strong. I fought to become the person I am.

‘I’m a fighter, I’m strong and I’m shooting through life like a rocket.’

Dressed in a black headband with short brown hair, a navy blue cardigan and dark jeans, the daughter revealed she was at college and living independently.  

‘I love hanging out with my friends and life is great,’ she said.

Her brother, dressed in a grey shirt and black jeans and tie, said he still had nightmares about him and his siblings being chained up or beaten.

‘That is the past and this is now. I love my parents and have forgiven them for a lot of the things that they did to us,’ he said.

‘I have learned so much and become very independent.’

The son, who is studying to be a software engineer at college, revealed he had learned to ride a bike, swim and cook healthy meals. 

David Turpin

David and Louise Turpin wept in court on Friday as two of their children spoke publicly for the first time about the abuse they endured in the California house of horrors

The couple pleaded guilty in February to 14 felony counts of abusing and imprisoning their children in their home in Perris, about 70 miles east of Los Angeles

The couple pleaded guilty in February to 14 felony counts of abusing and imprisoning their children in their home in Perris, about 70 miles east of Los Angeles 

The couple’s son also read a statement from his sister, saying: ‘Although it may not have been the best way of raising us I’m glad that they did, because it made me the person I am today.  

‘I just want to thank them for teaching me about god and faith… God looks at the heart and I know he sees theirs,’ she said, adding that she was now at college full-time and living in an apartment. 

One of their other daughters, via a statement read to the court, begged the judge to give a lighter sentence because ‘they believed everything they did was to protect us.’ 

‘I want the court to know that our parents love each other and love each of their children,’ the girl’s statement read.

The girl wrote that she her mother ‘didn’t want to use rope or chain’ but was ‘afraid’ her children were ‘taking in too much sugar and caffeine’.

The girl asked the judge to place the parents in a detention center nearby so that she would be able to visit them and asked for a restraining order to be lifted so she could speak to them via phone.  

As they read their statements, the two Turpin children were comforted by a gold-colored Labrador support dog called Raider, brought into the court by two Corona Police Department officers. 

David and Louise also addressed the court and apologized for harming their 13 children. 

‘I thank god for all of my children. Each one of them is a blessing from God,’ David said. ‘My homeschooling discipline had good intentions. I never meant any harm to come to my children.

‘I hope and pray that my children can look out for each other since their mother and father cannot be there with them. I miss all my children and will be praying for them… I long for the opportunity to have contact with them again.’

His wife added: ‘I’m sorry for everything I’ve done to my children. I love my children so much, I’m blessed to be the mother of each one of them. Their happiness is very important to me.

‘I want them to know Mom and Dad are going to be okay. I believe God has a special plan for each of them… I love them more than they could ever imagine.’

In sentencing the couple, judge Keith Schwartz said children are a ‘gift’ to society.

‘Your selfish cruel inhumane treatment of your own children has deprived them, your family friends society and especially you of those gifts,’ he said.  

They were rarely allowed outside but went out on Halloween and traveled as a family to Disneyland and Las Vegas where David and Louise renewed their wedding vows on multiple occasions

They were rarely allowed outside but went out on Halloween and traveled as a family to Disneyland and Las Vegas where David and Louise renewed their wedding vows on multiple occasions 

Their home was neatly kept on the outside and neighbors rarely saw the children outside the home, wut what was happening on the inside was a different story

Their home was neatly kept on the outside and neighbors rarely saw the children outside the home, wut what was happening on the inside was a different story 

The couple pleaded guilty in February to 14 felony counts of abusing and imprisoning their children in their home in Perris, about 70 miles east of Los Angeles. 

Their sentencing marks the culmination of a horrific case that has played out publicly for almost 16 months after being shrouded in secrecy for decades. 

The years of abuse only came to light in January 2018 when David and Louise’s 17-year-old daughter Jordan jumped from a window of their filthy home and called 911 on a barely workable cellphone.

The brave teenager’s phone call resulted in the 13 Turpin children being freed and landed their parents behind bars. 

Following their arrests in January last year, horrific details began to emerge of the extent of torture, abuse and neglect that the children – aged between two and 29 at the time – had endured. 

The 13 siblings have remained out of the public eye as their parents’ case unfolded in court and they learned to adapt to normal life outside the confines of the house of horrors.

The abuse and neglect was so severe it stunted their children’s growth, led to muscle wasting and left two of their daughters unable to bear children. 

Before the 17-year-old managed to escape from the home, the Turpin family had lived largely out of view.

David had been an engineer for Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, while his wife Louise was listed as a housewife in a 2011 bankruptcy filing. 

Their home was neatly kept on the outside and neighbors rarely saw the children outside the home. 

But what was happening on the inside was a different story. 

In the chilling 911 call placed by the 17-year-old daughter, she informed the dispatcher that she and her siblings were being abused and that their home was so filthy she sometimes struggled to breath. 

The call lasted for 20 minutes because the girl struggled to work out her address because she had not been outside alone before. 

‘Okay, I live in a family of 15 people and my parents are abusive. They abuse us and my two little sisters right now are chained up. There’s 13 kids and then a mother and a father,’ she said in the 911 audio. 

She went on to reveal that two of her sisters and one of her brothers were tied to their beds with chains.  

When asked for details about her location, the girl said: ‘I’ve never been out. I don’t go out much so I don’t know anything about the streets or anything.’  

The dispatcher then asked if anyone in the house would need to go to the hospital. 

‘I’m not sure. Sometimes we live in filth and sometimes I wake up and I can’t breathe because because how dirty the house is,’ she said. 

The dispatcher responded: ‘When was the last time you had a bath?’

‘I don’t know, almost a year ago. But sometimes I feel so dirty, I wash my face and I wash my hair,’ the girl said. 

David Turpin, 57, and his wife Louise, 50, were both sentenced on Friday to life in prison with possibility of parole after 25 years

David Turpin, 57, and his wife Louise, 50, were both sentenced on Friday to life in prison with possibility of parole after 25 years

Louise Turpin

David Turpin

The couple were arrested in January 2018 after their 17-year-old daughter managed to escape from the home and call 911

After the dispatcher asked if anybody took medication at the house, the girl replied: ‘Oh I don’t know what medication is.’ 

The 17-year-old also told the dispatcher that she and her siblings didn’t attend school.

‘We don’t do school. Our mother tells people we’re home schooled… she has a fake private school set up but we don’t really do school. I haven’t finished first grade and I’m 17,’ she said.

‘I don’t know much about my mother. She doesn’t like us. She doesn’t spend time with us ever.’

Sheriff’s deputies met the girl and she led them to the house of horrors that she had described.

Authorities found a 22-year-old son chained to a bed and two girls who had just been set free from their shackles. 

The house was covered in filth and the stench of human waste was overwhelming.

The children had been deprived of food and were suffering from severe malnutrition, stunted growth and muscle wasting, including an 11-year-old girl who had arms the size of an infant. 

Deputies testified that the children said they were only allowed to shower once a year. They were mainly kept in their rooms except for meals, which had been reduced from three to one per day, a combination of lunch and dinner. 

The 17-year-old complained that she could no longer stomach peanut butter sandwiches – they made her gag. 

The couple also were accused of taunting their children with pies and other food that they were forbidden to eat. 

Children said they were beaten, caged and shackled to beds if they didn’t obey their parents. 

During various court appearances, photos were shown of the squalid conditions inside the home including images of soiled underwear, photos of children in chains and the cramped bunk beds where they were forced to sleep. 

The Turpin offspring weren’t allowed to play like normal children and were deprived of things other kids take for granted, including toys and games. 

They were rarely allowed outside but went out on Halloween and traveled as a family to Disneyland and Las Vegas. They slept during the day and were active a few hours at night.

Neighbors said they rarely saw the children and many had no idea there were youngster living in the home at all.

One neighbor, Wendy Martinez, said she once saw four of the children rolling on the grass outside the home at about 9pm but didn’t realize they needed help.

‘They were on their knees, four little kids, and they were just rolling on the grass. It was odd at that time of night,’ she said at the time of the arrests.

‘Their mother was in the archway… and I said, hi. There was like no movement, not even to look over to see who’s saying hi.

”No movement, like if they were told not to speak to anybody.’

A former neighbor, Mike Clifford, said he had seen the children being marched in circles around their bedrooms late at night and said they had seemed ‘robotic’ when spoken to.

‘It was military like. My wife would see two [of the girls], they looked like twins, maybe about 10 years old,’ he said.

‘She called them the clones. When she spoke to them, they were monotone, they spoke together. But we’d see them go to the mail and stuff.

‘I guess the mother let them out to check the mail. Once a day.’ 

David’s parents, James and Betty Turpin of West Virginia, have said their son and daughter-in-law were a deeply religious couple who home-schooled their children and required them to memorize Bible scripture. 

Investigators found that the toddler had not been abused by David and Louise, but all of the children were hospitalized immediately after they were discovered.

The children, whose ages now range from 3 to 30, are in the care of child and adult protection agencies. 

The seven adult children were living together and attending school in February when their parents pleaded guilty. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.