David and Louise Turpin‘s 13 children were rescued from their abuse in Jan. 2018, after Jordan Turpin managed to escape from the California home she and her siblings were kept in, but it turns out they may have endured more abuse when they were turned over to foster care and/or a public guardian. A new investigation from ABC News claims that the kids were part of a broken system, and a few county officials looking to expose how the government “failed these victims” are speaking out.
“The public deserves to know what their government did and didn’t do, and how we failed these victims,” Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin told the outlet in a special that was featured on ABC’s 20/20 on Nov. 19. “[It’s] unimaginable to me that we could have the very worst case of child abuse that I’ve ever seen, maybe one of the worst in California history, and that we would then not be able to get it together to give them basic needs, basic necessities.”
Seven of the 13 Turpin children were minors and placed into foster care after authorities rescued them from their abusive parents in Jan. 2018. The other six were given a court-appointed public guardian to manage their health care, nutrition, safety, housing and education. Once the minors were placed into foster care, more abuse allegedly followed for an extended period of time. One foster parent also allegedly told one of the Turpin girls that they understood why her biological parents chained her up, one of the many horrors that went on in the Turpin house before the David and Louise’s arrest and ultimate life prison sentence.
The older siblings were also apparently sent out into high-violence neighborhoods and were allegedly denied basic care from their public guardian. When speaking with ABC, older sibling, Joshua Turpin, 29, said that their guardian was unwilling to teach them how to use public transportation, cross the street in the right way, and access their health care benefits. “When I would ask her for help, she would just tell me, you know, ‘Just go Google it,'” he said in the interview.
David Scott, an investigative reporter with ABC News, also said that although $600,00 was donated to the children from the public, after the abuse made headlines, they still lived in poor conditions. “Most of that money went into an official trust overseen by the court and hidden from public oversight,” David explained. “County officials refused to tell us how much has been spent, or on what, but the Turpin we spoke to said those funds are hard to access.”
“It horrifies me to think things like this are happening to people who have been abused in a system that was specifically set up to help them,” retired Superior Court of California Judge LaDoris H. Cordell also told the outlet. “Shamefully, the system failed this family.”
Jordan and Jennifer Turpin were also featured in the multiple part 20/20 special, which can be partly seen in the video above, and recalled the horrors they went through as well as Jordan’s brave escape. The youngest four Turpin children are now reportedly together in a foster home and happy, according to some of their siblings while the older children are leaning on each other and learning to get by.