|Location||Perris, California, U.S.|
|Convicted||David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin|
|Charges||Torture, false imprisonment, abuse of a dependent adult, child abuse|
|Sentence||25 years to life|
The Turpin case concerned the maltreatment of children under the care of David and Louise Turpin of Perris, California, United States. The ages of the thirteen victims ranged from two years old to 29. On January 14, 2018, 17-year-old Jordan Turpin escaped from the Turpin residence and contacted local police, who then raided the house and found disturbing evidence of prolonged child abuse and horrendous living conditions. Given the number of dependents involved, the degree of abuse and the protracted nature occurring over decades, the story garnered significant national and international interest in the press. Experts in family abuse considered the case to be "extraordinary" for a number of reasons.
In February 2019, both Turpin parents pleaded guilty on fourteen felony counts, including cruelty to a dependent adult, child cruelty, torture and false imprisonment. In April that year, they were sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
David Allen Turpin (born October 17, 1961) used to be a computer engineer who graduated from Virginia Tech and had worked for Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. He met his wife, Louise Anna Turpin (née Robinette, born May 24, 1968) at Princeton High School in Princeton, West Virginia. The couple married in Pearisburg, Virginia, in 1985, when David was 23 and Louise was 16.
The Turpins are Pentecostal Christians who adhered to the teachings of the Quiverfull movement. As part of their Quiverfull beliefs the couple had numerous children because "God called on them" to do so. They produced ten daughters and three sons between 1988 and 2015. Despite their socially conservative beliefs, the couple engaged in swinging.
The Turpin family lived in Fort Worth, Texas, until 1999, when they moved to the neighboring city of Rio Vista. In 2007, the Turpin parents moved ten of their children into an isolated trailer on their property. David and Louise took the two youngest and left the rest of the children to fend for themselves, bringing groceries on a weekly basis but not enough to feed everybody. Jordan Turpin, who was six years old at the time, stated there was "a lot of starving", and she had resorted to eating "ketchup or mustard or ice". After the family left the Rio Vista property in 2010, neighbors found feces and beds with ropes tied to them inside the house, along with dead cats and piles of garbage.
In 2014, the Turpins moved to Perris, California. Neighbors reported that the children were silent unless spoken to, "like children whose only defense was to be invisible"; would skip rather than walk; and appeared malnourished and pale.
One of Louise's sisters later said that David and Louise refused to let her see the children, and another sister said she had been concerned about the children's weight, but Louise's aunt said the family pictures posted on Facebook had made her think that "they were one big happy family."
The children did not spend all of their time in captivity. Photos emerged of the parents and all 13 children visiting Disneyland in nearby Anaheim. The boys and girls were dressed in matching Disney T-shirts. David and Louise had an affinity for Disney and for the park. The vanity plates on the couple's two cars were "DLand" and "DL4ever".
David and Louise had been planning to move the family to Oklahoma at the time of their arrest. Jordan Turpin overheard her parents speaking about the move and decided it was time to call the police.
By 2018, the Turpin children had been planning to escape their parents for more than two years. On January 14, 2018, two of the girls left the house through a window. The younger girl (age 13) became frightened and turned back, but Jordan, then 17, got some distance away and called 9-1-1 on a cell phone she had brought with her. In the 9-1-1 call, she told the dispatcher that she and her siblings were being abused by their parents and that conditions were so bad sometimes she could barely breathe. When the first police officer arrived, Jordan showed them photos of conditions inside the house.
Deputies of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department raided the house, stating they were there for a "welfare check". Louise and David answered the door. The sheriff's department said that Louise was "perplexed as to why we were at that residence." Inside, they encountered a house reeking of human excrement, decaying garbage, dead pets, and molding food, with every surface covered in trash. Later, they found the other twelve children; one had been shackled to a bed for weeks and it appeared that two others had been shackled until just before officers arrived. Children were found with bruises on their arms, appearing frail and caked with dirt. The children were so malnourished that deputies thought they were all under 18 years old, when in fact seven were over 18. The house contained hundreds of journals written by the children about their lives.
For years, the parents had imprisoned, beaten, and strangled their children, allowing them to eat just once per day and shower just once per year. The older children appeared much younger because of malnourishment; the 29-year-old weighed just 82 pounds (37 kg). The 11-year-old child had an arm circumference equivalent to that of a 4-month old baby. Some appeared to lack basic knowledge of the world, for example being unfamiliar with what medicine and police were.
The case is considered "extraordinary for numerous reasons," including that abuse was inflicted on multiple children by both parents, and the calculated and systematic nature of the abuse and torture.
The Turpins were charged with twelve counts of torture, twelve counts of false imprisonment, seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult, and six counts of child abuse; David received an additional charge of a lewd act on a child under 14. They were held in lieu of bail being posted, which media reported was set at $9 million for Louise Turpin and $12 million for David Turpin. David was eventually charged with perjury in relation to affidavits he filed with the California Department of Education over the years, in which he asserted that his children were being educated in a private school.
On February 22, 2019, David and Louise each changed their not-guilty pleas to guilty to one count of torture, three counts of willful child cruelty, four counts of false imprisonment, and six counts of cruelty to an adult dependent. Both were sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 25 years. Experts believe they will never receive parole due to the severity of the crime, making it effectively a life sentence.
All the children spent several weeks in hospitals, after which the six minors were put into two foster homes. Doctors treated various issues, including heart damage due to lack of nutrients, cognitive impairments, and neuropathy.
Five of the younger children were housed in foster care with a family where abuse allegedly took place. In October 2019, they were adopted by that family while the abuse was occurring. The foster family was arrested and charged with abusing multiple children in their care, including at least one Turpin child.
In early 2020 the Riverside County Deputy District Attorney said that, "Some of [the children] 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." One had graduated from college.
An investigation for the ABC newsmagazine 20/20, which chronicled the case for the November 2021 special Escape from a House of Horror, reported some of the Turpin children are now neglected by Riverside County social services, some are homeless and none may use the hundreds of thousands of dollars donated to them. The money was placed in a trust controlled by a court-appointed public guardian. Joshua Turpin stated he could not access funds and was denied the purchase of a bicycle. During an interview with Diane Sawyer for the 20/20 special, Jordan Turpin stated that she was released without warning from a foster home with no life skills, no plans for housing or knowledge of how to get food and healthcare. According to the report, Riverside County has hired a private law firm to investigate allegations of abuse by social services.
She tells Megyn Kelly that she hopes her 13 nieces and nephews can one day lead a happy and normal existence. 'I hope to put my arm around them and tell them they have a family that is not deranged.'
The Turpins' case is extraordinary for numerous reasons – particularly as the allegations are against two parents who had multiple children together. Prof Browne, director of the Centre for Forensic and Family Psychology at the University of Nottingham, says it is more common to see cases where there is one child and the parent or parents cannot cope, so the situation spirals out of control. Dr Bernard Gallagher, a child protection expert at the University of Huddersfield, says: "I see a lot of cases of neglect, where children are not washed or fed properly, but you don't often get cases of children being tortured, where the abuse seems calculated."
Presented content of the Wikipedia article was extracted in 2021-12-02 based on https://en.wikipedia.org/?curid=56341750