Every day, reports about the Turpin family as told by the children, authorities, relatives, and neighbors create a stranger and more heartbreaking picture of what life allegedly was like in their four Texas and California homes. Now one woman is opening up about her disturbing encounter with the oldest Turpin daughter.
The 13 kids and young adults living in David and Louise Turpin’s Perris, California home went from living in social isolation — and reportedly in a torture chamber-like environment — to becoming the subjects of international news in the course of about 24 hours. Now as their parents face dozens of charges, neighbors are speaking out about the horrific living conditions of their Rio Vista, Texas home and a disturbing encounter with the oldest daughter.
The Turpin family lived in Rio Vista after moving from Fort Worth and before they moved to Murrieta, California in 2011. Three women who lived near them appeared on “The Dr. Phil Show.”
A neighbor identified as Ashely says the Turpin’s house got so unlivable that they family moved into a double-wide trailer in the back. Her account confirmed what another neighbor said, who described the main house on the property as having rooms that were “waist-deep in filth.” The woman cleaned the house after buying it said there were human feces smeared on the walls.
“They had trashed the brick house so bad that they couldn’t live in it,” Ashely explained. They had pulled carpet out of it. The living room area had newspapers and animal cages and just filth. There was trash everywhere. My dad says he remembers seeing locks on cabinets and on doors and on closets...padlocks on the refrigerator. There was ropes on the beds.”
Aside from starving and beating their children, the Turpin parents are accused of tying and chaining them up as punishment and sometimes leaving them in that condition for weeks or months at a time without access to a bathroom.
Former neighbor Shelli says one of her neighbors ran into the oldest Turpin daughter — now 29 — back then and found her to be asking a lot of strange questions.
‘From the neighbors, I was told that she had been asking, ‘How do I get a job? How do I get a car? How do I get an apartment?’ until the lady started asking her questions in return,” Shelli explained.
She said the young woman refused to give her name and “she didn’t know her birthday, and I don’t think she knew how old she was.” Asked if she knew who the current president was, she replied, “No.”
As for why Shelli and the other neighbors said nothing to authorities, Shelli said, “We had been told at the time that the police had been involved and CPS had been involved and this was just hearsay from a neighbor.”
Watch that clip of the show below:
Also appearing on the show, Elizabeth, the sister of Louise Turpin, says she witnessed Louise being extremely controlling with the kids. For a short while in 1996, Elizabeth lived with the family in Texas and said “Louise made all the decisions” for how the household was run.
“David would stand back with his arms folded all the time...and then after she would make a decision, they would make eye-contact and she would say, ‘Right, David?’ And David would either say ‘right’ or he would say ‘well…” but Louise pretty much made all the decisions at that time.
Watch Elizabeth describe the early days of the Turpin household in the video clip below:
Please continue to pray for the Turpin children. In related news, another long-term kidnapping survivor says it’s actually really important that the Turpin children talk to their parents at least one more time.