From House of Horrors to Terror Rehab: The SHOCKING story of how Riverside County failed the Turpin children

From House of Horrors to Terror Rehab: The SHOCKING story of how Riverside County failed the Turpin children
Investigators had concluded that only the youngest Turpin sibling had not been abused by parents David and Louise Turpin (Twitter)

This article contains information about abuse that could be traumatic for some readers. Discretion is advised.

PERRIS, CALIFORNIA: The Turpin siblings' horror just didn't seem to end even after they were freed from their abusive parents' house of horrors in Southern California. Some of the adult children were reportedly forced to live in miserable conditions in a dilapidated apartment in a crime-infested area.

David and Louise Turpin made international headlines after they were arrested for shackling and starving their 13 children for years. Court documents that were previously unsealed in the case are now being released in Riverside County. The adult children were reportedly taken to an undisclosed suburb by an employee for the Riverside County Public Guardian's office just months after they were freed in 2018.


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Three of the siblings were "fearful to object so they indicated that the apartment was okay with the expectation that other apartments would be viewed," according to a 2019 court filing by their attorney Jack Osborn. And when they raised concern about the crime-ridden neighborhood, the agency reportedly told them the lease had already been signed and that the only other option was to be split up and placed in a board and care facility.

More than four years ago, their parents were arrested after one of the children escaped from their Perris, California, home and informed the authorities how they had been shackled to beds, starved, and held in isolation from the outside world. Authorities found that all the children except a two-year-old were severely malnourished and hadn't bathed for months. Investigators later determined only the youngest child had not been abused by the couple, who pleaded guilty to torture and abuse in 2019 and were sentenced to life in prison.



The newly released documents came after ABC reported that Riverside County's social service system failed in multiple instances to facilitate the seven adult and six minor Turpin children's transition to their new lives. The county has now hired a private law firm to investigate the allegations, including that the five adult children moved to the apartment described as "in a state of significant disrepair" in Osborn's filing. The Public Guardian's office reportedly said the apartment was going to be fixed.

Two of the Turpin children aired their fresh grievances in an interview last year with ABC, with Riverside County´s director of victim services Melissa Donaldson agreeing that the children at times did not have a safe place to stay or enough food to consume. The comments raised eyebrows, especially after the children were taken to hospitals for treatment and millions of dollars in donations poured in from across the globe.

Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin announces charges filed against a couple accused of holding their 13 children captive on January 18, 2018, in Riverside, California (David McNew/Getty Images)


Osborn raised questions about the $1.2 million reportedly collected in donations in a separate filing this year, arguing that one of the siblings who remains under a conservatorship with the Public Guardian can access these charities. In his filing, Osborn wrote that the sibling in question had objected to being sent to a board and care facility and opted to remain with her family instead as they moved into the worn-down apartment.

Osborn noted how her siblings said "immediate separation from her brothers and sisters will continue the trauma that she has suffered," especially since she had never complained about the abuse and followed the Turpin house rules without objection, which is said to have "resulted in some significant developmental issues." Court papers showed that the siblings dropped the objection a couple of weeks later as long as she had frequent contact with them.



This comes just weeks after it emerged that the child welfare system sent five of the traumatized Turpin kids to live with an alleged pedophile. 50-year-old Charity Douglas, who has run the Riverside County Children's Services Division since September 2018 and draws a handsome salary, is now facing questions after the Daily Mail reported that the Turpin children were left in the care of Marcelino Olguin, 63, who has been charged with the sexual abuse of two of them and of physically and mentally torturing all five. Meanwhile, Olguin's wife Rosa, 58, and daughter Lennys, 37, have been charged with torture and false imprisonment counts for their alleged part in the abuse.

All three pleaded guilty to said charges while appearing in court in Riverside, California, on Friday, May 20. Marcelino was freed on a $200,000 bond, while the two women are each out on a $50,000 bond. The family is said to have fostered four other children aside from the Turpins. Charging documents state one five-year-old girl in their care was regularly left in soiled clothing and forced to stand for hours as punishment. However, the nine children remained with the family until their arrest in March 2021. The judge has scheduled their next hearing for June 6.

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