The 13 Turpin siblings who were held captive, tortured and starved by their parents continue on the road to recovery two years after their rescue but still suffer trauma from every day items such as bread and peanut butter.
The California siblings, whose ages ranged between two and 29 years old when they were rescued in 2018, were fed only bread and peanut butter or bologna once a day by parents David and Louise Turpin.
The Turpin parents chowed down on fast food in front of them, chaining the children to filthy beds if they tried to steal food.
The couple are currently serving a 25-year to life sentence for the torture and false imprisonment of their children.
Now, two years after one the sisters, 17, escaped the house to call for help, the sight of the common foods still causes intense trauma for some of the older siblings and prevents them from walking down certain grocery store aisles.
The 13 siblings 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
Their parents, David and Louise Turpin, pleaded guilty in February 2019 to 14 felony counts of abusing and imprisoning their children in their home in Perris, about 70 miles east of Los Angeles. They are currently serving a 25-year to life sentence for the felony charges
‘They’re all happy,’ Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Kevin Beecham told PEOPLE .
‘They are moving on with their lives,’ he said, but added that the memory of their abuse was still causing trauma as they try to move past the experience.
For years, the siblings’ diet consisted of nothing but two slices of bread with peanut butter or bologna once a day and some of the older children have difficulty looking at them again.
‘They still can’t look at peanut butter or bologna,’ he said.
‘I made the mistake of mentioning peanut butter during one of our meet-and-greets, and one of the girls almost threw up. And when they’re at the grocery store, they can’t look at peanut butter. They can’t even go down the aisle where there’s peanut butter.’
Beecham said that the siblings all still live in or near the Perris area in California and meet up when they can. Their parents had previously attempted to prevent them from socializing with each other while they were trapped in the house.
The Turpin 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
The children 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
David and Louise Turpin wept in court in February as two of their children spoke publicly for the first time about the abuse they endured in the California house of horrors
He said the youngest siblings had suffered less abuse and he expects them to rebound quicker but that the oldest were making strides to put their upbringing behind them.
One has graduated college since the escape and others are going to school and have jobs.
‘Some of them are living independently, living in their own apartment, and have jobs and are going to school. Some volunteer in the community. They go to church,’ said Beecham.
Six of the younger siblings have been adopted and others are in group homes.
‘They are receiving really good help,’ he said.
‘With therapy, counseling and a lot of psychological assistance, they’re exponentially in a better place than they were before.
‘They still meet with each other, all 13 of them, so they’ll meet somewhere kind of discreet.’
Several of the siblings have changed their names to rid themselves of the stigma of being a victim in the high-profile case.
‘It would be difficult for them to carry that name, that label of being a victim, forever,’ Beecham said.
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.
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 in their filthy home and called 911 on a barely workable cellphone. She is pictured singing in a video she managed to upload to YouTube
The brave teenager’s phone call resulted in the 13 Turpin children being freed and landed their parents behind bars. Pictured above is authorities leading David and Louise away from the home in handcuffs in January 2018 after their daughter made an emergency call
Following their arrests in January 2018, 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 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.
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.
David and Louise Turpin had lived in a home in Fort Worth, Texas from around 1992 to 1999 before they lost it in a foreclosure and moved to California
The owners who moved in after them claim the home was left in complete squalor. They say they found scratch marks on doors and that the carpet was covered in disgusting dirt stains
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.
The 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.
The Turpin family first lived in Texas from 1992 to 2010 before relocating to California. The owners who moved into their Fort Worth home after them claim the home was left in complete squalor. They say they found scratch marks on the back of doors and that the carpet was covered in disgusting dirt stains and filth
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.