Jordan Turpin: Bodycam footage reveals moment scared teen told cop of 'house of horrors'
A newly released bodycam footage showed tense and dramatic moment 17-year-old Jordan Turpin, who escaped from the infamous 'House of Horrors' in California, where her parents religiously abused her and her 12 sisters, met with the police deputy after calling 911.
The footage was released as part of an interview that Turpin, now 21, did with ABC’s Diane Sawyer which will air on Friday, November 20. She told Sawyer that she lived in such deplorable conditions before that a visit to a park gave her a taste of what freedom means. “I could smell the air. I was like. 'How could heaven be better than this?'” Turpin said. Her moment of bravery back in 2018 ultimately led to her parents David and Louise Turpin, pleading guilty to 14 counts of torture and other abuse and being sentenced to 25 years to life in prison in 2019. At the time, her 12 siblings showed signs of malnutrition, abuse and were living in horrific conditions.
'One of the most scariest things I’ve ever done'
The bodycam footage showed the moment police found Turpin and she began telling the deputy the horrific tale of what she and her sisters were being subjected to in their own house. Turpin seemed to be a nervous speaker, taking anxious breaths and blurting out the sentences in a broken vocabulary.
“This is one of the most scariest things I’ve ever done,” Jordan told the deputy, as the latter pressed her on why she had chosen to flee her house. She told him that she had never been outside the home by herself before. The deputy was skeptical about Turpin's account of events until she showed him shocking photos of her sisters chained up. “Your parents chained them up?” the deputy asked. “Yes. Because they stole food,” Jordan replied. “But they stole it ‘cause they were hungry.”
Moments later, the police raided the Turpin house, and the parents, David and Louise were taken away in handcuff. Turpin and her siblings, aged 2 to 29, were free at last. For years they had been imprisoned and starved. David and Louise pled guilty to all charges in 2019 and were sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of a chance of parole after 25 years.
Nearly four years after their parents' conviction, two of the Turpin siblings opened up about their terrorizing past on video. The 21-year-old shared what emotions she was going through at the time: "I was always terrified that if I called the cops or tried to escape, I would get caught, and then I knew I would die if I got caught. But at the end, when I saw all my younger siblings, I knew that's what I had to do… That was my only chance. I think it was us coming so close to death so many times. If something happened to me, at least I died trying."
Her sister Jennifer,33, who was with her on the show also recalled their terrifying past: "The only word I know to call it is 'hell’… We [weren't] even allowed to stand up. We were supposed to be sitting down all the time. Most of the time we were up at night and then sleeping in the day… There was a lot of starving. I would have to figure out how to eat. I would either eat ketchup or mustard and ice.”