From 2018 to 2019, you may have seen the Turpin family in headlines, as their case was one of that year’s most shocking true crime cases.
In California, in January 2018, one of the 13 children belonging to David and Louise Turpin ran away from home to call the police for help, alerting them that she and her siblings had been abused, starved, and chained to their beds by their parents.
That child was Jordan Turpin, the now 23-year-old woman who has become one of the major faces of the Turpin case as many say her brave escape and phone call to the police was what saved her and her siblings from the wrath of David and Louise.
David and Louise were Pentecostal Christians who married in Virginia in 1985 and began having children, starting with their eldest daughter, Jennifer, who is now in her early 30s. They had 12 more children and moved around the south, slowly losing contact with relatives, before settling in Perris, California.
The Turpin children grew up in a “house of horrors,” as the children were strictly kept inside their home for most of the day, receiving little education and suffering from abuse. They were not sent to school, prohibited from making friends within their community, and lived in fear of David and Louise, who mentally and physically abused them.
David and Louise kept their children sheltered from the world, often imprisoning them and chaining them to their beds. They were given hardly any food and sometimes had to resort to starving or trying to make a meal out of condiments and ice.
The Turpin children were also forced to live in toxic environments, as their homes were often covered in garbage, human and animal waste, and dead or living rodents. Additionally, they were reportedly only able to bathe once a year.
David and Louise would take the children on rare public outings, often dressing them in matching outfits, forcing them to wear smiles to appear to be a happy, functional family. However, the children were told not to talk to strangers in public. If they did, they’d be punished.
As Jordan got older, she and her siblings began planning a way to escape over two years. One of her older brothers had an emergency cell phone that could only call 911. On the night of January 14th, 2018, after two of her little sisters had been chained to their beds, she carefully snuck out of her house with the cell phone and an envelope with her house address on it to give to the police as she didn’t know it by heart.