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Turpin family: ‘The only phrase I can think of to describe it is torment,’ said the Turpin sisters of their family’s haunted house.

Turpin family: 'The only phrase I can think of to describe it is torment,' said the Turpin sisters of their family's haunted house.

Jordan Turpin was 17 years old when she crawled out of a window in her family’s home, seeking to save her 12 siblings’ lives.

After decades of unimaginable emotional and physical torture suffered by her parents in their Perris, California home, she had been preparing her escape for two years. Jordan dashed out of the house with nothing but an ancient smartphone and dialed 911.

Jordan, now 21, told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview Friday, “I was always frightened that if I contacted the cops or tried to flee, I would get caught, and then I would know I would die if I was discovered.” “But in the end, when I saw all of my younger siblings, I knew I had to do it.”

Turpin family: 'The only phrase I can think of to describe it is torment,' said the Turpin sisters of their family's haunted house.

She informed officers during the terrifying 911 call that the family’s home smelled so horrible that she couldn’t breathe and that she and her siblings might need to see a doctor.

When the first cop arrived, she handed him her phone, which was full of images and videos of herself and her siblings that she had taken to verify the abuse.

Her daring escape in January 2018 led to the discovery of her siblings and exposed one of the “worst, most aggravated child abuse cases” ever seen, according to Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin.

Some of the siblings, who ranged in age from 2 to 29, were discovered chained and padlocked to their beds. A handful of the adults appeared to be young teenagers due to their malnutrition.

Jordan sat in the back of a police cruiser that morning, watching as her parents, David and Louise Turpin, were taken into custody. After pleading guilty to 14 counts of torture, adult abuse, child endangerment, false detention, and other offenses, the two were sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

Their first glimmers of liberation

When authorities arrived at the Turpin home to do a welfare check, it didn’t take long for them to realize the gravity of the children’s harrowing situation.

According to ABC News’ “Escape From A House Of Horror,” they discovered a residence reeking of human waste, decaying rubbish, and moldy food, with trash covering every surface. The youngsters were discovered sitting calmly in dirty beds, languid, frail, caked in dirt, and with bruises on their arms.

One child was discovered with his wrist and ankle shackled to the bedpost, where he had remained for weeks. The thick shackles used on the youngsters are visible on bodycam footage from that day.

Jennifer Turpin, the eldest of the children, remarked, “The only word I know to call it is hell.”

The 13 Turpin children were transferred to a hospital, where they were treated for a variety of ailments by nurses and doctors. Some were so malnourished that they could scarcely walk, while others had cardiac problems as a result of a lack of nutrients. According to ABC, one preteen’s arm was the size of a 4.5-month-old infant.

The children were illiterate and had little knowledge of the outside world.

Neighbors leave messages for the Turpin children on the front door of David and Louise Turpin's home, where the couple was arrested for allegedly holding 13 children hostage.
Neighbors leave messages for the Turpin children on the front door of David and Louise Turpin’s home, where the couple was arrested for allegedly holding 13 children hostage.

Several exhibited cognitive impairment and “neuropathy, which is nerve damage,” Hestrin said, in addition to severe caloric starvation and muscle atrophy.

Jennifer Turpin began by dancing in the middle of her hospital room to express her joy.

Jennifer, now 33, told Sawyer, “Music was playing, I got up.” “I cleared a little area on the floor and danced.”

A thrilling excursion to a playground was also included.

“I was giddy with anticipation since I could smell the air and grass. ‘How can heaven be any better than this?’ I wondered.” Jordan expressed his thoughts. “Oh my god, this is so free, like, this is life,” says the speaker.

“At the very least, I tried if something bad occurred to me.”

According to officials, the parents starved their 13 children by shackling them with padlocks and teasing them with pies left on the kitchen counter. They hadn’t seen a doctor in over four years and hadn’t even been to the dentist.

The girls informed Sawyer that their typical diet consisted solely of peanut butter sandwiches. They were provided frozen items only on rare occasions. They were severely reprimanded if they were still hungry and tried to eat something else.

The kids were sometimes so hungry that they ate ketchup packets and ice cubes.

“It begs the question, ‘How can any sane person do this to their own flesh and blood?” when parents abuse their children to this extent. On ABC News’ special, Hestrin remarked. “And the truth is, even sensible individuals perform wicked deeds on a regular basis.”

Jordan claimed she overheard her parents announcing the family’s relocation to Oklahoma the day before she escaped. There was a “good likelihood” that some of them would have perished if they had moved, Jordan said.

She went on to say, “That was my only chance.” “I believe it was our several near-misses with death. At the very least, I tried if something bad occurred to me.”

Jordan remembered thinking about how different her life could be if she wasn’t trapped. She claims it was due of Justin Bieber’s music and interviews, which she found inspirational.

“As Long As You Love Me,” “Boyfriend,” and “Baby” are among her favorite Justin Bieber songs, but it wasn’t only his music that motivated her to act.

“I started to realize there’s a whole other world out there,” Jordan explained.

She enjoyed watching his interviews and picking up new terms from him, as well as recognizing how similar they were. Her mother, on the other hand, choked her after she was caught covertly watching a Justin Bieber video.

Turpin family: 'The only phrase I can think of to describe it is torment,' said the Turpin sisters of their family's haunted house.

Jordan added, “That day, I thought I was going to die.” “I continued having dreams that she was going to kill me after that entire day.”

Despite being unrestricted, they are nonetheless ignored.
The Turpin children aren’t totally safe yet, after overcoming a life that many people could never comprehend.

A couple of the Turpin children were placed with a foster family that was arrested and accused with assaulting many children in their care, including at least one Turpin child, according to ABC.

Another Turpin child, now an adult, was placed in a foster home where her foster parent explained why her parents had her chained.

Melissa Donaldson, the Director of Victim Services in Riverside County, told the show, “They felt betrayed.” “Did we ever witness children being unable to live or stay in a secure environment? Yes. Was there ever a period when there wasn’t enough food? They weren’t successful.”

“It’s something we need to take care of right away. You’d think now is the time to get our act together and do everything we can, but that’s not how we did it “She kept talking.

Some of the Turpin kids didn’t have access to housing at times, so they relied on couch surfing for refuge, according to Donaldson, who added that they often resorted to churches for food.

“Right now, I don’t have a method to get food,” Jordan explained. According to ABC, it started when she was removed from the extended foster care system in July without any assistance with food, healthcare, or lodging.
Her sibling, however, isn’t in a much better situation.

“Well, my neighborhood isn’t the best,” Jennifer explained.

Despite collecting $600,000 from strangers throughout the country, the Turpin children have had problems accessing the funds, and county officials have refused to answer questions about why, citing court-ordered secrecy, according to ABC.

“They are living in filth. They live in a gang-infested neighborhood. There is money available for their schooling, but they are unable to obtain it “Hestrin explained.

“They’ve been victimized by the system again,” he added. “It’s unimaginable to me that we could have the worst case of child abuse I’ve ever seen, perhaps one of the worst in California history, and then not be able to get it together to provide them with basic needs, basic necessities.”

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