House of Horrors: Turpin siblings say bologna, peanut butter still trigger memories of torture two years later

House of Horrors: Turpin siblings say bologna, peanut butter still trigger memories of torture two years later
David and Louise Turpin (Riverside County Sheriff's Department)

The 13 Turpin children who escaped their 'House of Horrors' two years ago after surviving years of abuse are now thriving though they are still prone to be affected by certain triggers that bring back the memories of their torture.

The children, aged between 2 and 29, had managed to escape their prison after one of them, a 17-year-old, managed to jump out the window of their Perris, California, home and called 911 by using a secretly stashed mobile phone.

The extent of their suffering caught the attention of the national media. Authorities said, when they reached the scene, they found a 22-year-old boy chained to a bed and two other girls who had just been set free from their shackles. 

Their abuse and neglect were so severe it stunted their children's growth, led to muscle wasting and left two girls unable to bear children. Most of the 13 children were also severely underweight and hadn't bathed for months.

All said they had been beaten, caged and shackled to beds if they didn't obey their parents, while the house was covered in filth and the stench of human waste was described as "overwhelming,"

Their parents, David and Louise Anna Turpin, eventually pleaded guilty to 14 criminal charges, including torture, abuse, false imprisonment, and neglect of their children. They were sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years at a Riverside courtroom.

A little over two years since that sentencing, the Turpin siblings reportedly have new lives and are looking forward to their futures.

"They’re all happy," shared Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Kevin Beecham. "They are moving on with their lives."

One of the siblings has graduated from college, and several go to school and have jobs, a considerable change from the days when they were rarely allowed to leave their rooms, let alone their house, and were homeschooled.

"Some of them are living independently, living in their own apartment, and have jobs and are going to school. Some volunteer in the community. They go to church," Beecham beamed.

The six youngest siblings have all been adopted while the others are in group homes and receiving "really good help." Some have changed their names, with Beecham admitting "it would be difficult" for them to carry the Turpin name.

"With therapy, counseling and a lot of psychological assistance, they’re exponentially in a better place than they were before," he said, adding that all 13 still meet with each other regularly at a secret location.

But they still carry memories of their abuse. On the rare occasions they were left alone at home, the stronger siblings who were not shackled to their beds would sneak downstairs into the kitchen to scrounge for food scraps.

These scraps almost always in the form of bologna or peanut butter sandwiches, neither of which the siblings can tolerate any more.

"They still can’t look at peanut butter or bologna," Beech revealed. "I made the mistake of mentioning peanut butter during one of our meet-and-greets, and one of the girls almost threw up. And when they’re at the grocery store, they can’t look at peanut butter. They can’t even go down the aisle where there’s peanut butter."

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