Most parents would fall to their knees in despair if they were informed that they were barred from seeing or even electronically contacting their own children for 3 years; but David and Louise Turpin are far from what anyone would refer to as most parents.
Today we’re going to continue on with the developing case that has caught the attention of people around the world- the Turpin family “house of horrors”. If you’re not familiar with this story, please refer to the previous post outlining the case HERE<<
A video has been released showing the children escaping with the assistance of local police.
Despite being charged with numerous counts of torture, false imprisonment, and in David Turpin’s case, a forced lewd act on a child under the age of 14, the couple pleaded not guilty. Louise even shot a toothy grin across the room in her husband’s direction, blissfully unaffected by the fact that the two of them could be spending the remainder of their lives behind bars for imprisoning, chaining up, torturing, starving and beating their 13 children.
In a reversal of roles, recent court footage shows David and Louise shackled to chairs at the Riverside County Court in California.
This week more details have come out regarding the treatment of the kids. Not only were they bound, shackled and often times chained to their beds, but reports have recently revealed that they were also separated into smaller groups and shut in different rooms.
One of the older children, a male in his twenties, who many remarked looked more like a teenager due to his malnourished form, was permitted to study at Mt. San Jacinto College, a nearby community college in the area. Louise would not let him go alone and would allegedly wait outside for him until he was finished studying.
(Source. The boys on a trip to Vegas, sporting similar grown out bowl cut hairstyles to their dad. Facebook)
In this report, a fellow classmate who studied music with the 20 year old Turpin boy describes him as “Sweet but odd”. Which, in hindsight, is totally understandable. The imprisoned Turpin kids had no access to any type of media that would give them a glimpse into what the outside world was actually like. There wasn’t as much as a newspaper in the house when they were discovered.
The student goes on to recall how the college once had a potluck party and she witnessed the boy shoveling plate after plate of food into his mouth. It’s not surprising considering the imprisoned children were starved of calories. They ate no more than one small meal per day, even though there was adequate food in the house for the entire family, with which their parents would taunt them but not allow them to consume. She added that he wore the same outfit each day, refused to make eye contact with anyone and generally wore a very sad expression.
Although almost every report on the case states that the kids were all home schooled, there seems to be another exception. The same article states that one of the young girls briefly attended a public elementary school back in Texas before moving away. She too was said to wear the exact same outfit every day (described as a purple dress) and had hygiene issues that did not go unnoticed by the other children and inevitably lead to teasing and bullying. She was said to once wear a makeshift hair band fashioned from the wrapping of an old candy bar, which embarrassingly, a teacher demanded she remove. The other kids did not want to talk to her or be near her and so she was isolated and made fun of most of the time. Despite this treatment by her classmates, the little girl was said to be pleasant.
It seems hard to believe that nobody knew about the awful conditions in which the Turpin children were forced to exist. When the news broke, neighbors and old classmates came out and described the family as “strange”, “strict” and “odd”, but the small glances they got into the life of the Turpin clan clearly weren’t enough for them to take action and report to child services or local authorities.
In an interview with ABC news, one neighbour recalls that he saw the children marching between two rooms in the middle of the night, back and forth for several hours.
The 13 children are currently in care and the local community in Perris has banded together to make up 13 duffle bags containing items like blankets and toys in the hope of presenting them to the kids when they are released. A University Health System Foundation in Riverside, California has (so far, at the time of writing this) received $120,000 in donations towards the care of the children.
Sadly a recent article in the sun newspaper (UK) states that the siblings will be split up. The younger children will be fostered out to two separate foster homes, while the adults will become residents of a facility which provides an assisted living service as they cannot live independently. Of course, the Turpin children begged to stay together, however this request will not be met.
Elizabeth Turpin, the younger sister of Louise Turpin, has described her sister as being controlling even as a child. She details her time staying with David and Louise during the summer back when they lived Texas, and noted that the children (of which there were 4 at the time) had to ask permission to do almost everything, including eating and even speaking to her. She claimed that she didn’t see much of the kids as they were shut in their rooms the majority of the time and weren’t allowed to converse with her without being told they were allowed to. Was this an attempt to silence the children from asking for their auntie's help? Were the cruel parents fully aware of their abusive behavior and not at all ignorant as they have claimed to be?
She also had her own set of rules to abide by while living under the couple’s roof; she wasn’t to tell anyone the address of the home, she was forbidden to invite friends over and was not allowed to make phone calls from the residence. In a way, she almost became one of the children, or it appeared as though she was at least being conditioned to fall into the role.
As mentioned in the previous blog post, Elizabeth claimed that David Turpin would flirt with her, make comments about her body and had watched her shower. In an interview with ABC news she says that although she locked the door to the bathroom when showering, her sister would unlock it from the outside and the couple would then enter the room and stare at her until she got out of the shower. It would seem that the couple had some sort of fixation about secrecy, washing and hygiene (or lack thereof) very early on in their marriage. Was this strange behavior rooted in some kind of cult-style belief the couple had adopted?
According to Elizabeth, the couple did not subscribe to any specific religion, rather followed a hybrid of beliefs that they seemed to have pieced together from the study of various other religions such as Catholicism and Mormonism. Apparently the couple left behind religious literature in one of their old properties that a neighbor described as “Off the wall....prepare for the Armageddon”
Elizabeth has revealed in several interviews that as children herself, Louise and several other female children in her family, as well as her mother, were abused by the same close family member when they were young. She goes on to state that the abuse is not an excuse for what Louise and David Turpin put their children through, but feels it may be something to consider.
It seems that we’re not quite done with the “Turpin house of horrors” just yet, as the case is still developing and the details of what kind of life those children were forced to endure keep leaking out. Survivors from previous high profile kidnapping and forced imprisonment cases have weighed in on whether or not the Turpin kids should be allowed to visit their parents. Natascha Kampusch, an Austrian woman who was kidnapped at the age of 10 from Vienna and locked in a cellar where she too was abused and starved, thinks that the Turpin children should be allowed to face their parents in the pursuit of closure.
“…they need the opportunity to see their parents, even if it is just to say, 'I hate you, you are a monster.” She said.
David and Louise Turpin are due in court on the 23rd of February.