After police raided their California home in 2018, David, 60, and Louise Turpin, 53, were sentenced to life in prison in 2019, after the pair were discovered to have held their 13 children captive, and they were found to be malnourished. The couple were discovered after two of their children escaped in 2018 and one managed to call the police. The children will speak out about their experience in a Friday November 19 ABC 20/20 Special with Diane Sawyer. Find out more about Dylan and Louise Turpin here.
David and Louise have been together since 1985
David and Louise got married when he was 23, and she was 16, according to TIME. Both were born in West Virginia, and the family moved multiple times after the two got married. The pair lived in Fort Worth and Rio Vista, Texas before moving to California in 2010. They moved to Perris, where they ultimately captured, 2014. David was an engineer, and he worked for companies such as Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. While not much has been revealed about their children, the oldest when they were arrested was 29-years-old, and their youngest was two at the time. Louise’s sister Teresa Robinette revealed in a 2018 interview that the pair engaged in an unconventional sexual relationship. “She told me that her and David had met a man online from Alabama. And that they were on their way there to meet him, and that she was going to sleep with him, and that David was okay with that,” her sister claimed.
What did David and Louise do to their children?
During the investigation into the couple, much was discovered about the horrible living conditions that the children faced. After Jordan Turpin made her escape at age 17 and called police, the audio of the 911 call was released, and she mentioned some of the terrifying ways that her and her siblings her treated. She said that her parents were “abusive” and that three of her siblings were chained to their beds. “Sometimes we live in filth and sometimes I wake up and I can’t breathe, because how dirty the house is,” she said, mentioning that she hadn’t had a bath in about a year. While a daughter managed to escape and get police involved, a former neighbor claimed that one of their daughters had tried to run away, while the family was in Texas in a January 2018 interview with People. “I was told the police returned her,” he said.
Court documents from the time also revealed that investigators found that many of the children were malnourished and extremely thin. “Deputies located what they believed to be 12 children inside the house, but were shocked to discover that [seven] of them were actually adults, ranging in age from 18 to 29. The victims appeared to be malnourished and very dirt,” the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement at the time.
What are their charges?
In February 2019, both David and Louise pleaded guilty to 14 felony counts each, including child endangerment, false imprisonment, torture, and cruelty to dependent adults, according to NPR. They were sentenced in April 2019 to life in prison, but they will be eligible for parole in 22 years.
What happened to their children?
The 20/20 special will feature an interview with Jordan and one of her sisters. Some of the children offered statements in court, while being identified as Jane Doe. One daughter said that she was “taking [her life] back,” after the struggle. “I am a fighter. I am strong and I am shooting through life like a rocket,” she said, via People. One of their sons Joshua had begun studying computer engineering in college. Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Kevin Beecham told People that the children have begun to embark on normal lives. “Some of them are living independently, living in their own apartment, and have jobs and are going to school. Some volunteer in the community. They go to church,” he said. “They still meet with each other, all 13 of them, so they’ll meet somewhere kind of discreet.”
What have David and Louise said about their kids?
David and Louise both apologized to their children in court upon their sentencing. “I never intended for any harm to come to my children. I’m sorry if I’ve done anything to cause them harm,” David said in court, via ABC News. “I hope the very best for my children in the future.” Louise offered a similar apology. “I’m sorry for everything I’ve done to hurt my children. I love my children so much,” she said to the court. “I look forward to the day I can see them, hug them, and tell them I’m sorry.”