'They're All Happy': Lawyer Says Two Years After Escaping 'House Of Horrors', Turpin Children Are Doing Well
Two years after escaping from the family house in which they were kept chained, abused and tortured, the Turpin children are said to be doing well and moving on with their lives.
The harrowing ordeals of the 13 Turpin siblings inside their California home made global headlines in January 2017 after one of the children, a 17-year-old girl, managed to escape and alert authorities.
As investigations into the family began, details of the years of abuse the children, aged between two and 29 at the time, had suffered at the hands of their parents David and Louise Turpin, were revealed.
The couple pleaded guilty in 2019 to charges including torture and false imprisonment of their children.
During investigations, detectives uncovered hundreds of journals the children had written over the years which were used as evidence.
Prosecutors claimed the siblings were subjected to harsh punishments, including for "wasting water" by washing their hands above the wrists.
The couple were also accused of taunting the children with pies and other food they would forbid them to eat.
The siblings were denied access to medical care, proper nutrition, basic hygiene and were found to have suffered severe malnourishment leading to muscle wasting and stunted growth.
When they were found, the siblings were so malnourished officers thought they were all minors, but seven were of adult age.
Now, more than two years later, Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Kevin Beecham who is understood to have worked closely with the siblings during the investigation said they were all happy and finally beginning to move on with their lives.
"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 told PEOPLE.
“The younger ones didn’t have as many years of abuse and neglect, so they are able to rebound a little better."
Beecham said the six younger siblings had been adopted, while one of the older siblings had graduated from college and others were at school and had jobs.
All 13 continue seeing each other regularly.
"With therapy, counseling and a lot of psychological assistance, they’re exponentially in a better place than they were before,” Beecham said.
Nevertheless, he said they were still haunted by memories of their abuse.
In particular, Beecham said the siblings still can't look at peanut butter or bologna -- reportedly one of the few foods the siblings were allowed to have by their parents.
"I made the mistake of mentioning peanut butter during one of our meet-and-greets, and one of the girls almost threw up," he told the magazine.
"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.”
Last year, David and Louise Turpin were sentenced to life imprisonment for their crimes with a non-parole period of 25 years.
Two of their children attended their parents' sentencing hearing.
Their daughter said she was "taking my life back," local media reported at the time.
"I'm a fighter, I'm strong and I'm shooting through life like a rocket."
Their son said he had forgiven his parents for much of what they had done.
"I cannot describe in words what we went through growing up," he was quoted as saying.
"Sometimes I still have nightmares of things that had happened, such as my siblings being chained up or getting beaten. But that is the past and this is now."
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, dial 000. If you need help and advice, call 1800Respect on 1800 737 732, or Lifeline on 13 11 14. A range of domestic and family violence resources based around the country can be found here.