Thirteen siblings were held captive in their own home—and lived to tell their story.
On January 14, 2018, a seventeen-year-old girl climbed out of the window of her Perris, California home and dialed 911 on a borrowed cell phone. Struggling to stay calm, she told the operator that she and her twelve siblings—ranging in age from two to twenty-nine—were being abused by their parents. When the dispatcher asked for her address, the girl hesitated. “I’ve never been out,” she stammered. She wasn’t even sure how to spell her own last name.
Louise and David Turpin presented themselves as loving, faithful parents. On social media they shared snapshots of family outings and vacations, often with their children in matching outfits. But what police discovered when they entered the Turpin home would eclipse the most shocking child abuse cases in history. For years, Louise and David had kept their children in increasing isolation, trapping them in a sinister world of torture, fear, and near starvation.