Turpin sisters: ‘The only word I know to call it hell’: Jordan and Jennifer share details of their family’s horror house
For two years, she planned to run away after decades of unspeakable emotional and physical violence by her parents in their home in Perris, California. Armed with nothing but an old cell phone she found in her home, Jordan ran outside and called 911.
When the first officer arrived, she immediately showed him her phone, full of photos and videos she took of herself and her siblings to demonstrate the abuse.
Her daring getaway in January 2018 led to the discovery of her siblings and the discovery of what Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin has described as one of a series of “child abuse cases”. you’re the worst, the worst” I’ve ever seen.
Some of the siblings, between the ages of 2 and 29, were found chained to the bed with chains and padlocks. Some adults are so malnourished that they look like young teenagers.
Their first glimpse of freedom
When the police arrived at Turpin’s home and announced they were conducting a welfare check, it didn’t take long for them to realize the magnitude of the children’s horrifying reality.
ABC News reported on a 20/20 program titled “Escape From A House Of Horror”. The children were found sitting quietly on the dirty bed, limp, sick, covered in dirt, arms covered with bruises.
A child was found with his wrists and ankles chained to the bedpost; he was in that state for weeks. Bodycam footage from that day shows heavy chains being used on the children.
“‘The only word I know to call it hell,’ said Jennifer Turpin, the oldest of the children.
The 13 Turpins are taken to a hospital, where nurses and their doctors begin treating them for a long list of problems. Some are so skinny that they can’t walk, others have heart damage from lack of nutrients. According to ABC.
They have limited language skills and little knowledge of the outside world.
The first thing Jennifer Turpin did to celebrate was dance in the middle of her hospital room.
“Music is playing, I wake up,” Jennifer, now 33, tells Sawyer. “I made sure there was a little bit of the floor cleared up and I jumped.”
There is also a fun visit to a playground.
“I was so excited because I could smell the air, I could smell the grass. I was wondering ‘How can the sky be better than this’?” Jordan said. “Oh my gosh, what a freedom, like this is life.”
“If something happens to me, at least I’m dead trying”
Parents starved their 13 children, tied them up with padlocks and taunted them with cupcakes left on the counters of their homes, authorities said. None of them had seen a doctor in more than four years, and none of them had ever been to a dentist.
Usually, their only diet consists of peanut butter sandwiches, the sisters told Sawyer. On rare occasions, they are given frozen food. And if they were still hungry and forced to eat anything else, they would be severely punished.
Sometimes the kids are so hungry, they eat packets of ketchup and ice cubes.
“When you have parents abusing their children to the extent, and they are their flesh and blood, it raises the question ‘How can any sane person do this? “” Hestrin said on the ABC News special. “And the truth of the matter is that sane people do evil deeds all the time.”
The day before Jordan ran away, she said she heard her parents say they were moving the family to Oklahoma. If they move, Jordan said, there’s a “big chance” some of them are dead.
“It was my only chance,” she continued. “I think we ourselves have come very close to death so many times. If anything were to happen to me, at least I would have tried to die.”
Jordan remembers when she first began to consider what her life would be like if she hadn’t been trapped. She says it’s because of singer Justin Bieber, whose music and interviews speak for her.
While her favorite Bieber songs are “As Long As You Love Me,” “Boyfriend,” and “Baby,” it’s not just his music that spurs her to action.
“I started to realize that there was another world out there,” says Jordan.
She enjoys watching his interviews, learning new words from him while realizing what they have in common. But one day, her mother caught her sneaking a video of Bieber and made her choke.
“I thought I was going to die that day,” Jordan said. “After that whole day happened, I kept having nightmares that she was killing me.”
Free, but still neglected
Despite overcoming a life many cannot even imagine, the Turpin children are not yet completely safe.
ABC reports that several of Turpin’s children raised with foster families have been arrested and charged with abusing multiple children in their care, including at least one of Turpin’s children.
Another of Turpin’s children, now grown ups, was moved into a home where her adoptive parents told her she understood why the parents chained her up.
“They feel betrayed,” Melissa Donaldson, Riverside County Victim Services Director, told the program. “Did we see children who sometimes had to be homeless or safe? Yes. Did they ever have enough food? They didn’t.”
“We had to fix it. You would think this was the time to really get together and do everything we could, and we didn’t do it that way,” she continued.
Sometimes, some children in Turpin, Donaldson said, are homeless and rely on surfboards for shelter, adding that they also go to church to get food.
“I really don’t have a way to get food right now,” Jordan said. It began when she was released from the expanded foster care system in July, without any help with food, healthcare or housing, ABC reported.
Unfortunately, her sister is not in a much better position.
“Well, where I live is not the best area,” Jennifer said.
Despite receiving $600,000 from generous strangers across the country, the Turpins have had difficulty accessing the money and questions of why remain unanswered by county officials, who Confidentially invoked by court order responds.
“They’re living in squalor. They’re living in neighborhoods full of criminals. There’s money to go to school, they don’t have access,” Hestrin said.
“They’ve fallen victim to the system again, and I can’t imagine that we could have the worst case of child abuse I’ve ever seen, possibly one of the worst. in California’s history, and then we wouldn’t be able to put together their basic needs, their basic needs,” he added.