How The Turpins Reportedly Used Luxury Living To Mask Decades Of Abuse & Gambling Issues

A new book alleges that David and Louise Turpin secretly tortured their 13 kids while splurging on themselves.

July 17, 2019
Mug shots of David Turpin & Louise Turpin [Riverside County Sheriff’s Department]

David and Louise Turpin

Photo by: Mug shots of David Turpin & Louise Turpin [Riverside County Sheriff’s Department]

Mug shots of David Turpin & Louise Turpin [Riverside County Sheriff’s Department]

By: Mike McPadden

PERRIS, CA — In January 2018, a 911 call from a deactivated cellphone alerted authorities to a nightmarish situation allegedly created by married couple David and Louise Turpin.

The caller was Jordan Turpin, the couple’s 17-year-old daughter. She reportedly told police she had just crawled out a window to flee a filthy house where David and Louise had allegedly beaten, starved, and imprisoned 12 of their 13 children for years.

Horrific allegations poured forth from there, as authorities removed the Turpin children, who ranged in age from 2 to 29 — which indicated that the torture had gone on for decades.

Questions arose that may never be fully answered, but a new book claims to shed light on some of the ways that the Turpins concealed their abominations for so long — while also, according to the author, treating themselves to luxuries such as airline flights, fancy meals, and casino gambling.

The Family Next Door: The Heartbreaking Imprisonment of the Thirteen Turpin Siblings and Their Extraordinary Rescue by John Glatt (St. Martin’s Press) alleges that, beginning in 1990, David Turpin earned a six-figure income as an engineer with defense contractor Lockheed Martin. Nonetheless, he and Louise allegedly outspent his salary by racking up credit card debt.

In excerpts from the book published in the New York Post, Teresa Robinette, Louise’s sister, says the Turpins flew their extended family members on an annual trip to Texas every year for a decade. The book also states that Louise “insisted on paying for everything.”

Author John Glatt writes that, despite flaunting apparent wealth, the Turpins filed for bankruptcy in 1992. Still, according to Robinette, Louise’s spending appeared to go on unabated, as the couple regularly flew relatives around the country and took “everyone out for lavish meals at different restaurants every night.”

Elizabeth Flores, Louise’s younger sister, is also quoted in The Family Next Door claiming that David and Louise showed evidence of a “serious gambling problem,” which shocked her, she said, because their intense Christian beliefs dictated that gambling was a sin.

Throughout the ensuing years, Glatt writes, casino gambling repeatedly put the family in dire financial straits.

Over the course of one summer, Flores reportedly moved in with David and Louise. In The Family Next Door, she states that their strictness with the kids shocked her, saying, “They had to ask permission to go to the bathroom. They had to ask permission to eat.”

In addition, Flores claims that Louise was especially hard on their youngest daughter at the time, Jennifer.

Jessica Bermejo, a classmate of Jennifer’s, allegedly told Glatt, “She smelled just like dirty clothes and urine…. She was talking about things that could indicate sexual abuse. Things that were inappropriate for that age.”

Regardless, the book points out, no investigation appears to have been undertaken regarding potential abuse.

In 1998, the bank was reportedly foreclosing on the Turpins’ home. Flores says in the book that Louise called to “proudly” announce they planned to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy, and that she would be maxing out all her credit cards to purchase as much as she could before they were declined.

The Turpins reportedly moved several times, at one point leaving a house that was completely uninhabitable due to filth and human waste, and moving in to a $63,000 double-wide trailer on the same property.

Glatt alleges that, from there, David and Louise abandoned 10 of their kids in the trailer, taking their two youngest babies and moving to an apartment 40 miles away.

The book claims that David would drop off frozen food at the trailer, dictate everything the kids did by phone, and instructed the older siblings to punish the younger ones by locking them in cages.

Jennifer Turpin, Glatt writes, managed to escape the trailer and ran for help. When a neighbor drove by and picked her up, she refused to give her name or age, asking only how she could get a job.

Riverside County deputy district attorney Kevin Beecham, who later worked to prosecute David and Louise, said of Jennifer’s escape attempt, “She had no real prospects. No socialization whatsoever. So what did she do? She called her mother. And her mother came, picked her up, and took her away.”

Sheriff Rodney Watson told Glatt that Jennifer’s attempt to run away should have raised red flags and that law enforcement appeared to have failed the children, noting, “A lot of people will dismiss some things that they hear as just crazy talk, which is sad. We could have stopped a lot of years of suffering.”

In 2010, the Turpins reportedly moved to Perris, California. Over the next eight years, the abuse there allegedly escalated, with claims that David and Louise kept the children chained up, beat them with belts and wooden objects, forbade them from showering more than once a year, and starved them to the point that they were unnaturally small and underdeveloped for their ages.

The book additionally claims that the children were severely uneducated, with many of them not being able to functionally read or write. These and other alleged atrocities are said to have continued and increased for the next eight years, until Jordan successfully managed to break free.

After being arrested, David and Louise Turpin reportedly pleaded guilty to 14 felony charges related to the abuse. In April 2019, a judge sentenced them to 25 years to life in prison.

Read more: CBS News, New York Post

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