On the outside they appeared to be the average family. As average as one can be with 13 children. The Turpin family, a family which neighbors seldom saw in the daytime, had a story that shocked the nation. Many people saw them at a few events and even spoke to them, but didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. They all just looked like children with their parents. Nobody would’ve expect the 29 year old daughter to weigh 82 pounds. They mistook her for a child, they mistook all six adults for children. This was due to the years of neglect, abuse, inhumane treatment, and torture that 12 of the 13 children received everyday of their lives.
The family of fifteen have been living in Perris, California since 2014 when they moved from Texas. The children of the Turpin house were rescued on January 14th, 2018 after one of their daughters, age 17, escaped out of a window and called 911 from a deactivated phone. She told them that her siblings were being held against their will and were living in conditions they shouldn’t be living in. The youth even provided photo evidence to prove her claims. All 13 children’s names and identities are being hidden from the public due to the extremity of the abuse allegations.
The parents, Louise and David Turpin were arrested that day, later to receive almost 40 charges each due to the mistreatment and imprisonment of their children. The rescue couldn’t have come sooner. The inside of the house certainly lived up to the nickname ‘house of horrors’. Chains and ropes were attached to beds, fecal matter from not only the children but also household pets were found in the bedrooms which the children were allowed in, and hundreds of journals were later recovered in the home.
The 17 year old girl which had escaped and saved her family later revealed that the escape had been planned for two years, and they had just been waiting for a chance to get out of there. Now these children were not only physically and mentally abused, but they were also deprived of an education. Some of the Turpin kids had no idea what a police officer was, and the 17 year old was confused as to what medicine and pills were when asked about them by the police officers. The mental state of each child is much more critical some would image. The physical malnourishment is very apparent as well, some of the older children appearing to be the size of 10 year olds while having the knowledge of a first grader.
While all 13 children are receiving medical care, their parents have been in jail, sentenced to a court date on February 24th of this year. Both parents have denied all claims against them and haven’t admitting to doing a single thing to any one of their children. There is a restraining order on both parents, as they will be unable to speak to their children without it being through a social worker or lawyer, and they are also unable to get within 100 feet of their children. They will not be allowed to know the whereabouts of any of their children, and if found guilty, will be facing 94 years in prison.
Since neither Louise nor David have admitted to any of the charges, the public has been turning to psychological professionals who specialize in this field. Stockholm syndrome isn’t uncommon in this type of family abuse, and it is likely that the Turpin children (despite what they have gone through) still view their parents as their parents and have some form of ‘love’ towards them. People as influential as Dr. Phil are saying that it’s a possibility that the children may actually miss their parents.
Kidnap victim Natascha Kampusch feels that the children should meet their parents again, not necessarily because of an emotional attachment such as loving or missing them. But rather for closure. Whether they yell at their parents, cry, scream, it doesn’t matter. They need to tell them “whether they hate them or forgive them”. Establishing that sense of closure is what people need in order to move on. Kampusch expressed her opinions strongly in her interview with The Sun, encouraging the Turpin kids to face their parents and receive that closure they need.
Abuse is something that is difficult to recover from, which is why, if you or someone you know is getting abused, please contact someone immediately. Abuse can be hidden from the public eye or can be very noticeable, but please, if you are at the receiving end or suspect that someone is being abused, talk to someone of authority or someone you feel most comfortable with. If you need to call someone, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1−800−799−7233) or the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-422-4453). These hotlines are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.