The Turpin Family: How a 17-year-old Rescued Her 12 Siblings

It was a “house of horrors” for David and Louise Turpin's 13 children because of what they had to endure to survive in their Perris, California home.

The seemingly exaggerated nickname was problematic since the Turpin children were so restricted that their neighbors seldom saw them outside and remarked how pallid they were on rare occasions.

For many years, David and Louise Turpin kept their children locked up in their house, cut off from the outside world. This went on for several years in the case of a few of the 13 Turpin children. In some cases, the children were so cut off from the rest of society when they were ultimately released that they had no idea what a doctor or a police officer was.

The Children of Turpin Have Been Saved

Children of Turpin
Children of Turpin

On their first visit, police officers found youngsters so hungry that they couldn't identify that one of the victims was a 29-year-old woman when they saved her. As the oldest of the Turpin children, she weighed just 82 pounds because she was so malnourished and sickly that her muscular growth had stalled.

The Turpin parents didn't always let their children use the restroom. Thus feces were all over the carpeting. Chaining or tying the Turpin children to their beds had happened somewhat regularly.

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Because the Turpin children were only given one meal a day and were only allowed one shower a year, it seemed inevitable that one of them would try to escape. David and Louise Turpin's eldest child, a 17-year-old daughter, made her debut in January 2018.

To help her siblings, she leaped from a second-story window and dialed 911 to beg for help. “They would weep and wake me up in the middle of the night, asking me to contact someone,” she explained. For my sisters' sake, I wanted to get in touch with you all.

That was the beginning of the end of the troubling Turpin family story, or rather, the beginning of the country's attention to it. There is a long road ahead for the 13 Turpin children, whose parents will likely spend the remainder of their life behind bars. On the other hand, Louise Turpin's personal history may shed some light on the depraved mother she became to her kids.

The History of Louise Turpin's Family

Louise Turpin's Family
Louise Turpin's Family

Charged on many charges of torture and false imprisonment as well as child abuse and cruelty to a dependent adult were both parents of the Turpin family, The Desert Sun has learned.

It seems possible that David and Louise Turpin will spend the remainder of their natural life in prison after recently pleading guilty to 14 related criminal offenses. However, Louise's path to this place had an unpleasant and destructive upbringing.

According to Louise's sister, Teresa Robinette, their mother, Phyllis, “sold” the two children to a rich pedophile who would abuse them daily, the Daily Mail said.

Teresa described how he would put money in my hand while molesting her. As he said, ‘be quiet,' I could still feel his breath on my neck.” Despite our pleas, she insisted: ‘I have to clothe and nourish you.' Louise had the worst of it.

“He ruined my childhood self-esteem, and I'm sure he did the same to hers,” I remember thinking. Teresa, though, was shocked by Louise's treatment of the Turpin children. According to the sister, Louise was always regarded as a “nice girl” who never engaged in illegal activities.

Only once had Teresa met the four oldest children in person, and she chatted to the rest through video chat, which happened less frequently with time. Her relationship with her nieces and nephews was essentially non-existent.”

David and I are just so busy with 13 kids, we will get to it this weekend,” she used to remark. That's not to say we didn't have a connection with the children, but I'm not sure we could call it a relationship. A million times over, we never believed she was abusing the children…she would start making up excuses as to why she couldn't find video chat.

She understands Teresa Robinette's disbelief at how her sister turned out. They were astonished by the revelation that their mother had tortured her children. Still, their sister Elizabeth Flores' description of Louise Turpin provides a complete picture of her and how it may have been inevitable that she would do so.

Sisters of Secrets has disturbing claims about Louise Turpin in the book by Flores. Flores not only confirmed Teresa's assertions that the siblings were sexually molested regularly but that Louise also began practicing witchcraft as an adult, became addicted to gambling, was obsessed with snakes, and was a terrible alcoholic.

When their parents battled, Louise and Elizabeth hid their ears and endured a challenging period at school, which is depicted in the novel. However, it wasn't until Louise was in her 40s that things began to deteriorate, according to the Desert Sun.

She was “drinking and smoking, partying and going out to bars, participating in witchcraft, gambling, preparing and eating rattlesnakes, dressing and acting vulgarly on MySpace, engaging in s*xual activities, and so on,” Flores claimed. “I was worried sick about her.”

Despite this, Flores stated that “child endangerment problems were never even on my radar” for Louise. Of course, Louise wasn't the only one concerned about what she was doing all the time.

As of this writing, the “House of Horrors” mother has stayed married, and looking at David Turpin is necessary to understand this weird, lifetime tragedy further.

David Turpin is the Head of the Turpin Family

David Turpin
David Turpin

James and Betty Turpin said that a computer engineer was the career path chosen by his parents when he graduated from college. Eta Kappa Nu, the electrical and computer engineering honor society at Penn State, listed him in its 1984 Bugle yearbook as a senior and a member.

When David Turpin was 24 and Louise was 16, they ran away together. When Phyllis Robinette and her husband Wayne's police complaints forced the pair to return home, he had convinced her Princeton, West Virginia high school to let him sign Louise out.

The Daily Mail said that Louise's father, a pastor, was motivated to bring her back by the desire to hold a formal wedding ceremony. David and Louise's 1,001-mile cross-country journey ended in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1984, when they were married.

She trusted Louise since she loved him and he came from a Christian home, so she let her date David discreetly, Teresa explained. Although my father wasn't aware of their relationship, David went to the high school one day and signed Louise out of class, and the two fled. They drove since he had his vehicle.”

David and Louise Turpin were the subjects of an ABC News report on Sunday. One of Teresa's early memories is of her father telling his wife to allow their 16-year-old daughter to live the life she seemed to desire. Her father wasn't furious, Teresa recalled. However, he was enraged with his wife.

Teresa remarked, “So he agreed to let her marry him.” “They returned to Princeton and had a small intimate church wedding, just the two families. To begin their new life together, they moved back to Texas.

When Louise's father retired in 2012, he wanted to come to see her, but she refused. Because the trust was shattered so savagely and early in her life, there was a lifelong breach between Louise and her parents.

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When Phyllis Turpin died in February 2016, David and Louise Turpin had already lived in Perris, California, for decades. Three months later, her father passed away. ‘On their deathbeds, both requested Louise to come and see them,' Teresa said. That's not going to happen. At their funerals, she failed to turn up.

Although David Turpin attended both ceremonies, he was absent from the first. Despite his academic and professional achievements, things began to go downhill for David as a spouse.

It's possible that a bankruptcy filing for $240,000 in credit card debt in 2011 was caused by lousy book-keeping, a lack of career possibilities, or a growing disconnect from reality. All of the preceding, of course, may have begun to trickle in as a result of the troubling home disclosures.

According to bankruptcy filings, he earned $140,000 a year as an engineer at Northrup Grumman, a high-ranking defense contractor. Aside from running the Sandcastle Day School, he was named the school's principal.

He described her as a “homemaker,” with the Perris residence and its position as a school as the focus of her educational responsibilities to the 13 pupils she cared for. The Turpin family's sleazy lifestyle persisted for years until their 17-year-old daughter eventually blew the whistle in January 2018.

Punishment Through Imprisonment For The Parents

Imprisonment For The Parents
Imprisonment For The Parents

To avoid a trial, David and Louise Turpin pled guilty on February 22, 2019, to 14 felony offenses. According to the Los Angeles Times, these charges included one act of torture, four counts of false imprisonment, six of cruelty to adults, and three of wilful child maltreatment.

The parents were keen to avoid having their children speak in court since their sentence was scheduled on April 25. Attending court was a mere inconvenience for the Turpin children in light of what their parents had done to them.

They said the Turpin children's mental and physical health would likely be affected for the rest of their life due to their severe trauma and subsequent brain damage and cognitive impairment.

Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin described the case as “among the worst, most egregious child abuse cases” he has seen or been engaged in during his years as a prosecutor.

It was decided that the victims, in this case, would not be required to testify as part of the decision-making process for the agreement and punishment. Conditions at Turpin's house were shown in an Inside Edition piece.

Hestrin informed the Turpin children that they would not be required to testify in the case. Having everyone together was a joyous occasion, Hestrin said.

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The freshly released Turpin children appear to be on a hopeful new road of physical and psychological healing, even if David and Louise Turpin are anticipated to be sentenced to prison. That can't be easy for any child.

Hestrin said he was swayed by their “optimism and hope for the future.” Their enthusiasm for life is contagious, and their grins are enormous. As far as I know, they're also hopeful about their future.”

“We're not looking back,” says attorney Jack Osborn, representing the Turpin children. They're excited about the future. Working on their education, health, and acquiring life's most fundamental competencies.”

This group is striving for self-sufficiency, he explained. When they meet new individuals, they don't want to be seen as victims who have to endure this pain repeatedly.” It is essential for them that the public recognizes and accepts them for who they are and what they intend to accomplish.