The tragic story of the Turpin children broke in 2018 when it was discovered that their parents, David and Louise Turpin, had physically and mentally abused the thirteen of them for over two decades. The thirteen children, aged 3 to 29, suffered various abuse, including starvation, wiping, sexual assault, and imprisonment by their parents.
In addition, they were fed only once a day, bathed once a year, and were deprived of games and toys. The parents had starved them to the point that they were malnourished and consequently stopped growing and suffered from muscle shrinkage. The kids survived on peanut butter sandwiches and bologna while their parents ate take-out, according to sources.
What Happened to the Turpin Children?
On January 14, 2018, Jordan Turpin, a brave seventeen-year-old, escaped her house window and contacted the police to report her parents, who were maltreating her younger siblings. After rescuing the children, chains, ropes, and cages were discovered around the house.
Additionally, Pungent stenches sweltered around and within the home from human excrement, rotten food, and garbage.
Prohibited from showering, the Turpin children were filthy, and their skins and faces were caked with dirt. Their bodies were so malnourished and thin that they were half the size they should’ve been for their age. In addition, burns, bruises, and skin depressions from ropes and shackles garnished their bodies.
The police immediately arrested their parents, and the story made the headlines due to the odd nature of the case. One of the most shocking aspects was that the family had thirteen biological children, all entrapped in a house, and two children were adults. Yet, no one had any idea.
The Aftermath of the Arrest
The youngest Turpin children were separated into two foster homes, and the older ones were given emergency housing. Concerned people who heard about their sad story donated funds, amounting to approximately $600,000, which was kept in a trust and managed by Vanessa Espinoza, a trustee appointed by the court in Riverside County.
Most people believed with their newfound freedom, hope, and monetary donations, the kids would have enough to start a new life and thrive. However, during an explosive interview with Diane Sawyer, two of the oldest Turpin sisters, Jennifer Turpin and younger sister Jordan Turpin, disclosed that they still suffer from abuse in Riverside County. Then, the county promised to assist them.
What Happened to the Turpin’s Parents?
— ABC News (@ABC) April 18, 2019
Meanwhile, the Turpin couple, David and Louisa Turpin, was sentenced to serve a lifetime in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years. However, Louise Turpin apologized for her misconduct during one of the hearings and cried bitterly about how she was sorry for all she had done to her children.
However, only one of the thirteen children forgave their parents, and some were even given the right to visit them in prison. But nearly ten of them placed 10-year restraining orders against their parents.
All is Not Well for The Turpin Kids Now
The oldest of the Turpin children, Jennifer Turpin, lives in a lousy neighborhood. On the other hand, the second oldest child, Joshua Turpin, has reported issues related to funding for food and basic needs. More so, the third oldest, Jordan Turpin, had been released without counseling from an extended foster care program with no assistance or knowledge on how to take of herself.
Five of the Turpin kids had been living with foster parents who, according to the report, had been sexually and physically abusing the children. Despite many reports to social workers, the children lived in a home where they suffered various degrees of abuse by strangers for more than three years before being rescued.
Furthermore, a sixty-year-old man named Marcelino Olguin is currently facing charges for lewd acts with the children. In addition, his wife, 57-year-old Rosa Olguin, and their son Lenny Olguin are facing false imprisonment and child cruelty charges — similarly charges that convicted David and Louisa Turpin. But at that time, Turpin’s children lived with another foster family.
What Happened to the Funds Donated For the Turpin Children
When the story of the “House of Horrors” broke, sympathetic citizens all over America wanted to help the kids and donated funds amounting to $600,000. The funds were placed into a trust which Vanessa Espinoza managed.
However, the Turpin children have complained about difficulties accessing the contributions for their basic needs. For instance, Joshua Turpin, the second oldest child, complained he was denied a simple request to purchase a bicycle. Riverside County Officials refused to approve his bid to get a $100 bike from an account having at least $300,000, if not more.
According to reports, Vanessa Espinoza (the trustee in charge of managing the funds) never filed an annual account for the trust and refused to approve access to basic monetary needs for the children. When the Turpin children contacted their lawyer Jack Osborn to lay a complaint regarding their money, he refused to help them, stating (In paraphrase), “That’s not my Job.”
Interestingly, Vanessa Espinoza used to work for Jack Osborn’s firm, which initially should’ve been flagged as a conflict of interest when both allegedly revealed their past relationship to the county.
The report further revealed that Vanessa Espinoza had voluntarily resigned and took a full-time career in real estate in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Neither she nor the county has disclosed how much money is left.
— Herald Sun (@theheraldsun) February 24, 2018
The Turpin Children Filed Maltreatment Suits
In July 2022, the Turpin children filed lawsuits in Riverside County’s Superior Court against the agency that kept them in a home where they were allegedly subjected to further neglect and abuse. Two similar lawsuits were filed, including one representing the two older siblings and the other for the younger four siblings. The defendants in the lawsuits include Foster Family Network, Riverside County, ChildNet Youth, and Family Services.
What is the Government Doing About These Allegations?
Riverside County has contracted a private law firm to look into these allegations, including that of the seven adults and six younger children of the Turpin family. They claimed they did not receive essential services and help after being freed from captivity.
Additionally, there are to investigate compliant which allegedly prevents even the adult Turpins from accessing some of the $600,000 in donated funds, causing them to live in squalor and on the brink of homelessness.
Furthermore, there’s also a criminal investigation into a foster family suspected of maltreating children, including one of the Turpins, according to reports. However, a lawyer for the said family denied the allegations.
In charge of the investigation is a former federal judge called Stephen Larson. However, at the time of publishing this article, the investigator is yet to submit his findings to the public. And it is yet to be determined whether the Turpin children have finally received their money.