Years after Jordan Turpin, 21, made her escape from her family home to call the police on her parents, David, 60, and Louise Turpin, 53, the girl who bravely ran away at 17 to make the call is speaking out in an upcoming ABC 20/20 special with Diane Sawyer. Jordan was one of 13 kids that the couple shared, twelve of whom were being held captive in the family’s home in abusive conditions, including being malnourished and chained to their beds. While the children’s identities have been well-protected, a little bit more has been made known about them through their parents’ trial and the upcoming special. Find out more about the Turpin kids here.
The eldest Turpin child was Jennifer, 32, who was 29, when the family was discovered, and her parents were arrested. Despite being the oldest, Jennifer has mostly been quiet, but she will finally detail her experience during the 20/20 interview on Friday November 19. While not much is known about Jennifer, she does have one of the most emotionally resonant descriptions for what it was like for her and her siblings in her parents’ house: “The only word I know to call it is hell,” she said in a trailer for the special.
Of all the children in the Turpin family, their daughter Jordan is the most well-known. Shortly after, news of the Turpin parents’ treatment came out, it was also revealed that Jordan had a secret YouTube channel, although it’s not clear if she still has an interest in the video-sharing site. While she was 17 when she bravely ran away and made the 9-1-1 call that tipped police off to the abuse that she and her siblings endured. Jennifer will detail her experience in the upcoming special. During the 9-1-1 call and the interview, she revealed that she was confused and unsure about different aspects of the world outside of what she knew in her parents’ house. “My whole body was shaking. I couldn’t really dial 9-1-1,” she said. “It was literally a now or never. If something happened to me, at least I died trying.”
While very little is known about the other Turpin children, a few did have statements read during David and Louise’s trial under the pseudonym Jane Doe. One of their sons who was not anonymous was named Joshua, who revealed that he was studying computer engineering in college at the time of the trial, according to People. Despite going on to college, he also revealed that he’d never learned to ride a bike until recently, and he also admitted that he’d still had nightmares during the trial.
The Other Turpin Children
Despite the Turpin’s house of horrors being a major news story, many of the children’s identities were protected shortly after the story broke, and not much is known about them. Their names all reportedly begin with the letter “J” according to court documents, via The Sun. During the trial, one of the siblings known as Jane Doe No. 4 said that she was a college student and lived on her own. “I fought to become the person I am. I saw my dad change my mom. They almost changed me but I realized what was happening and I immediately did what I could to not become like them. I am a fighter. I am strong and I am shooting through life like a rocket,” she said.
Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Kevin Beecham told People in an interview that the children are still close, and many of the older siblings have begun to lead more normal lives with jobs and school, after their parents were exposed. “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.”