In this blog we will be discussing horrific instances of child abuse. Viewer discretion is advised. Sources are linked in the blog and also in the source list at the end of the post.
This blog is going to tell the story of the Turpin family. The family was headed by James and Louise Turpin who were living in Perris, CA at the time this all came to light. We would eventually learn that there had been 13 victims of James and Louise.
As some background into this family, David was born David Allen Turpin on October 17, 1961. He attended Virginia Tech and trained to become a computer engineer. He worked for big corporations such as Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman during his career.
Louise was born May 24, 1968 and her maiden name was Louise Ann Robinette. The two met when they both attended Princeton High School in Princeton, WV.
I am not sure what year they met but they ended up getting married in 1985 when Louise was 16 and David was 23. They married in Pearisburg, VA.
The Turpins lived their lives as Pentecostal Christians. They decided that God ‘called on them’ to have many children and they had ten daughters and three sons between 1988 and 2015.
The family lived in Fort Worth from the time the couple were married until 1999. They then moved to Rio Vista – around 45 mins away.
Their house in Rio Vista was on 36 acres and it had four bedrooms and two bathrooms.
It is a bit hard to pinpoint when the actual abuse started because a lot of the dates of incidents are reported as ‘unknown’, but we will try to tell this story chronologically.
One of the first examples of neglect that has been reported involves one of the Turpin daughters. She was attending 3rd Grade at Crowley Middle School and it has been said she was bullied for wearing the same clothes every day and for having a bad body odor.
Police were called to the Turpin home in 2001 after a four year old girl was attacked by a Border Collie. This marks one of only two times that police in Texas interacted with the family.
The second time police were called to the home was in 2003 after pigs that the family owned got loose and ate 55 lbs of dog food that belonged to a neighbor.
In 2007, the Turpin parents moved ten of their children into an isolated trailer on their property.
David and Louise let the two youngest kids reside in the main house but left the rest of the kids to fend for themselves. They would bring groceries to the trailer weekly, but there was not enough to go around.
Jordan Turpin was 6 years old in 2007 and she said there was a ‘lot of starving’. She has said that she would have to resort to eating ketchup, mustard or ice as there was literally nothing else to eat.
The family ended up leaving the Rio Vista home in June 2010 to move to California. .
“When they moved in, they were really mysterious people. They didn’t talk to us or socialize,”
He also said that before they moved, David could regularly be seen shooting cans with his pistol, aiming towards the road leading into their property.
When the family left for California, they basically left everything behind. Repo men showed up and took the cars they had left, and the house was foreclosed on.
A man named Billy Baldwin purchased the Turpin home in Rio Vista with his mother. When he called the realtor to first enquire about the property, he had to sign a document saying he would not sue if he was injured while inspecting the property, as it was in such bad shape.
Billy Baldwin owns several rental properties, said he is “used to working on houses,” he described the condition of the home as “bad.” The mortgage company had even spent two months cleaning it up to get it “halfway presentable” before they put it on the market, he said.
When they entered the property, they found feces and beds with ropes tied to them, along with dead cats and piles of garbage.
The bathroom floor was so filthy that it had rotted through.
“It was waist-deep in filth. There were dead dogs and cats in there,” Ricky Vinyard said, the smell “rancid.”
He found two Chihuahuas that had survived by eating waste from a mound of soiled diapers. The family’s Ford F-150 truck was heaped with the dirty diapers and empty Vienna sausage cans, he said, “It seemed like that’s all they ate.”
As he moved from room to room, he noticed something odd: “Everything had locks on it: The closet had locks, the toy chest, the refrigerator.”
“There were no beds, just mattresses,” he said, and “There wasn’t a place in that house that wasn’t filthy.”
Billy has said it took him three months and $35k to fix the house to make it rentable.
Just as an interesting note, the Turpin home in Rio Vista sat on land that had mineral rights so they received royalties for over ten years from that.
After Rio Vista, the Turpins moved to Murietta, California. They allegedly moved there due to David’s job and neighbors in the area say they rarely saw any children.
There is a record that the oldest Turpin son was enrolled at Mount San Jacinto Community College. Investigators say Louise would go to the campus with her son, wait outside the classroom and then immediately escort him home.
Bizarrely, in 2011, the Turpins renewed their vows in Las Vegas. All the kids went along and watched an Elvis impersonator renew their parents’ vows.
There is also video of the service and David says to Louise “I offer you this ring as a symbol of my love, baby, baby.”
I have read some articles that say they renewed their vows at least THREE times over the years – 2011, 2013 and 2015. Every time was in Vegas with an Elvis impersonator.
In 2011, the Turpins declared bankruptcy. I have read the actually declared bankruptcy twice over the years and the most recent was 2011.
According to the newspaper, bankruptcy files show Mr Turpin earned more than $140,000 in 2011, but expenses for his large family exceeded his wages by more than $1,000 a month.
The couple listed about $150,000 in assets, including $87,000 in 401(k) plans from Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin. Louise Turpin’s occupation was listed as a “homemaker.” The couple owed debt between $100,000 and $500,000, according to bankruptcy documents.
One of their bankruptcy lawyers, Nancy Trahan spoke to The Washington Post. She told them that she met with the couple about four or five times in 2011 but hasn’t seen them since then. She described them as “just very normal.”
“They seemed like very nice people,” Trahan said. “They spoke often and fondly of their children.”
The family also visited Disneyland together in 2012. The youngest child was not present on the trip, but the others were.
Again, there are pics online. All dressed the same, weird.
Louise and David seemed really obsessed with Disney. The vanity plates on the couple’s two cars were “DLand” and “DL4ever”.
Some comments say DL stands for David and Louise though? Who knows.
In 2014, the family moved to Perris, California, where the rest of this story would soon play out. They moved to a house at 160 Muir Woods Road in Perris – around 70 miles SE of LA. You can view the real estate listing here.
The Turpins seemed able to continue with their depravity behind closed doors for years.
Neighbors in Perris did occasionally see the kids and said that they were silent unless they were spoken to. They would skip instead of walking and all of them appeared malnourished and pale.
One of Louise’s sisters was worried because the couple never let extended family see the children. But after seeing their Facebook photos, she decided that her worries must be unfounded as they all seemed happy and healthy enough.
There have been some questions about why nobody noticed the Turpin children were not in school but I believe authorities thought they were being homeschooled.
Public records show the house is listed in a California education department directory as the location of “Sandcastle Day School”, with David named as principal.
It was described in official records as a non-religious and co-ed institution with six students enrolled.
In December 2016, five of the Turpin kids were seen with their parents. The family participated in a community holiday decorating contest and built a Nativity scene in their front yard. The group attended the judging of the Nativity contest.
A neighbor has since spoken about seeing the children and commenting on their Christmas decorations. Kimberly Milligan said “they actually froze.” She apologized and told them that there was no need to be afraid.
At 6am on January 14, 2018, a plan that some of the Turpin children had been working on for TWO years started to come to light.
Two of the daughters – aged 13 and 17 year old (Jordan) escaped the home. The younger one became frightened and turned back, but Jordan continued on. She had a deactivated cell phone that she had found and she called 911. She spoke to authorities for 20 minutes and detailed the abuse that she and her 12 siblings had endured. There is a 911 call that has been released where she says “I’ve never been out. I don’t go out much.”
“I can’t breathe because of how dirty the house is. We don’t take baths. I don’t know if we need to go to the doctor.”
She also said that she was kept in the room with her sisters for about 20 hours a day, and that she was only allowed to leave the room to eat, use the restroom and brush her teeth.
If she broke the rules, she would be disciplined in the form of knocking on the head, pulling of hair, or being smacked in the face. After she watched a Justin Bieber video on a cell phone, her mother choked her.
When the first officer arrived, she showed him photos of the conditions inside the home.
The responding officers have said that Jordan looked so emaciated, they estimated her age to be around 10 years old.
Police acted quickly and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office raided the home. When they showed up, Louise seemed confused and perplexed about why they were there.
They also said she ‘smirked’ and ‘spat twice down at the floor’.
When they entered the property, police found a house reeking of human excrement, decaying garbage, dead pets, and moldy food, with every surface covered in trash.
Police chief Captain Gregg Fellows told a news conference that three of the children were found shackled inside the home during the raid. One of the children appeared to have been shackled to a bed for weeks.
Capt Fellows said: “If you can imagine being 17 years old and appearing to be a 10 year old, being chained to a bed and being malnourished and injuries associated with that I would call that torture.”
The children were found filthy and bruised, with dirt caked to their bodies. All the children were so malnourished that police thought they were all aged under 18. Seven of the kids were aged over 18.
At 9pm that night, David and Louise were arrested on suspicion of child abuse and torture. Their bail was set at $12m each.
The six youngest children were transported to Riverside University Medical Center in Moreno Valley and the seven adult siblings were taken to Corona Regional Medical Center.
A few days later on January 18, 2018, the couple pleaded not guilty. On this date, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin held a news conference and said the children were taunted with food, starved to the point that their growth was stunted, beaten, choked and chained. David was accused of sexual abuse.
For years, the parents had imprisoned, beaten, and strangled their children, allowing them to eat just once per day and shower just once per year.
When washing their hands, if the children washed above their wrists, they would be accused of playing in the water and would be chained up.
The older children appeared much younger because of malnourishment; the 29-year-old weighed just 82 pounds (37 kg).
The oldest Turpin ‘child’ was a 29 year old woman and she weighed 82lbs at the time of the arrests.
There had also been an obvious lack of education. Some of the kids did not know what medicine or a police officer was.
It was said that the case was considered “extraordinary for numerous reasons,” including that abuse was inflicted on multiple children by both parents, and the calculated and systematic nature of the abuse and torture.
These children were obviously starving and they told police of times that their parents had purchased apple and pumpkin pies and sat them on the dining table, letting the kids look at the food but they were never allowed to eat it. The parents also purchased many toys that the children were never allowed to open and play with.
None of the children had ever been to a dentist.
One of the Turpin daughters who was 11 at the time of the arrests said that Louise would often punch them with a closed fist and hit her with an open hand, Riverside County Deputy Sheriff Daniel Brown said. The girl said that sometimes, her mother pulled her hair so forcefully it would lift her off the ground.
The girl said she was “always hungry,” he further testified. The children were fed jalapeno baloney sandwiches while the parents ate Jersey Mike’s, pizza and fries, he said. The girl said Louise would buy apple juice but the children weren’t allowed to drink it.
This 11 year old was in the worst shape of all the kids. She had a body weight percentile of .01 and her mid arm circumference was equal to that of a 4.5-month-old baby. The doctor said she had psychosocial dwarfism, stunted growth due to living in an environment that is abusive or neglected.
The 15-year-old boy had difficulty walking, vitamin D deficiency, and visible scoliosis. He told the doctor that he wanted to kill animals and could predict the future.
Jordan – the 17 y/o who called 911 – was said to have weighed 97lbs and had a BMI of 2.2 when she was examined.
One of the children also elaborated about David’s sexual abuse. She said her father pulled her pants down, grabbed her and put her on his lap. She tried to push him away, and pulled her pants up.
He also tried to force kisses on her mouth, she told police, and this happened about 10 times. The girl said her father told her not to tell anyone.
The family ‘schedule’ was that they would all goto sleep at around 4am every day. They would all sleep all day and be up all night – not sure how this worked with David’s job?
Thankfully (?) the kids were allowed to write in journals and police seized hundreds of journals from the home.
ABC spoke to David’s parents following the arrests:
James and Betty Turpin of West Virginia, told ABC News that they were “surprised and shocked” by the allegations. They said their son and daughter-in-law, whom they have not seen for several years, are religious and kept having children because “God called on them.”
The grandparents said that the children are home-schooled, made to memorize long scriptures in the Bible. Some of the children, the grandparents told ABC News, have tried to memorize the entire book.
So back to the charges the Turpins faced. They were both charged with 12 counts of torture, 12 counts of false imprisonment, seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult, and six counts of child abuse; David received an additional charge of a lewd act on a child under 14.
David was eventually charged with perjury in relation to affidavits he filed with the California Department of Education over the years, in which he said that his children were being educated in a private school.
Soon after the arrests, more information about David and Louise started to emerge. It seems that despite their apparently ‘devout’ religious beliefs, they were actually wannabe swingers.
Louise’s sister Megan spoke to NBC and said that between 2008-2010, David and Louise met a man online and arranged for Louise to goto a hotel room in Huntsville, Alabama to have sex with him.
“What makes it even worse and even weirder is that exactly one year to the date of the anniversary that she did that, she called me and thought it was funny that David was taking her back to the exact same hotel room, the exact same bed she slept with this man in, so David could sleep with her in the same bed,” the sister said.
“She had never smoked a cigarette or drank a drink of alcohol or anything, and close to her 40th birthday or around that time period, she called me and she thought it was cool that they had, you know, quit going to church, and they didn’t trust the church anymore. They were experimenting with different religions,” Megan said.
Louise told Megan that now that some of the kids were old enough to take care of the younger ones, she was free to ‘sow the wild oats’ that she had missed out on by having a family at a young age.
“They had called me the first time they ever went to a bar,” Megan said. “She called me the very first night she was drunk. She was very giggly.”
In the same interview, Megan broke down in tears and confessed that she and Louise had endured sexual abuse as they were growing up.
“It was always a dark family secret that he did this,” she said.
“A very, very close family member that we should have…loved and trusted, he abused my mother and — sexually abused my mother — and then me and Louise, Elizabeth and a few of our cousins in the family.”
On February 22, 2019, David and Louise changed their pleas. They both plead guilty to the charges against them.
They are expected to serve an indeterminate sentence of 25 years to life in prison, meaning they will spend the rest of their lives in prison unless granted parole, DA Mike Hestrin told reporters following their court appearance.
David was originally sent to the Mule Creek State Prison before being sent to the California State Prison, Corcoran, and Louise is in the Central California Women’s Facility.
This next part is a bit of of chronological order but I felt that it was important to keep it all together, because it is A LOT.
After their parents were arrested, all of the Turpin children spent weeks in the hospital. Once they had recovered from their physical injuries, the six minor children were split between two foster homes.
Doctors said that the children were treated for malnutrition, heart damage due to lack of nutrients, cognitive impairments and neuropathy.
In early 2020, the Riverside County Deputy District Attorney said that, “Some of [the children] 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. One had graduated from college.
An investigation for the ABC newsmagazine 20/20, which chronicled the case for the November 2021 special Escape from a House of Horror, reported some of the Turpin children are now neglected by Riverside County social services, some are homeless and none may use the hundreds of thousands of dollars donated to them.
The money was placed in a trust controlled by a court-appointed public guardian. Joshua Turpin stated he could not access funds and was denied the purchase of a bicycle.
During an interview with Diane Sawyer for the 20/20 special, Jordan Turpin stated that she was released without warning from a foster home with no life skills, no plans for housing, or knowledge of how to get food and healthcare. According to the report, Riverside County has hired a private law firm to investigate allegations of abuse by social services.
Their foster father Marcelino Olguin, 63, has now been charged with seven counts of committing a ‘lewd and lascivious act on a child’ and six of torture.
Marcelino’s wife Rose and his daughter Lennys have also been charged with multiple child abuse charges, one of witness intimidation and another of fraud.
Marcelino targeted two of the girls – one of whom was under 14 at the time – for ‘sexual touching’ on their buttocks and upper thighs more than 50 times.
He also ‘told them they were sexy, recommended they not wear undershirts, said they had beautiful skin, forcibly kissed them and pulled a minor on top of him,’ investigator Thomas Salisbury wrote in an affidavit supporting the charges.
The Olguins allegedly forced the children to take part in ‘confession circle talk’ where they were ‘made to admit to their past sibling abuses, which their biological parents forced them to do’.
The confession circles allegedly began soon after the children arrived at the Olguin home despite the foster parents’ knowledge of the ‘egregious, lifelong, severe abuses’ the minors had suffered at the hands of their parents.
One of the male Turpin children was singled out for extra abuse and was repeatedly imprisoned in his bedroom, ‘cussed at’, ‘demeaned’ and separated from his sisters. The Olguins also ‘intentionally ruined his media devices,’ Salisbury wrote.
All five were also threatened with never seeing their older siblings again if they didn’t comply with the Olguins’ wishes.
The Olguins had a total of nine foster children. They allegedly gave a five-year-old girl – who is not one of the Turpins – sleeping pills then forced her to stand, ringing a bell in her ear and spraying water in her face so she could not fall asleep.
This was ‘all while repeating the revenge phrase; “You don’t let us sleep, we’re not letting you sleep”,’ investigator Salisbury wrote. The little girl collapsed and fell on the hard tile floor, he added.
They also locked the girl – identified as V#1 – in her room for nine hours a day and failed to change her diaper, Salisbury wrote.
‘They frightened V#1 by telling her spiders were in the bathroom. They held her in that dark, noisy, scary bathroom (which contained a large decorative spider at one point) despite V#1’s crying/panicked pleas to be let out.
‘They beat V#1 with sandals,’ added Salisbury, ‘choked her, threw her, and knocked her front tooth out by throwing her down several steps.’
Both Marcelino and Rosa are certified foster carers and were approved to take in the Turpin children by the Riverside County Children’s Services Division. They live in Perris, the same Riverside County, California town where the Turpins had shared a home with their biological parents.
Salisbury said Lennys Olguin scratched the top of one girl’s hand and, when she was holding a metal coin, moved her hand close to an electrical outlet saying ‘You want to get shocked?’
The Olguins also encouraged two of their foster children to fight each other, the court papers allege, calling one a filthy a**hole and ‘motherf***er,’ while another was told she would end up as ‘a white piece of s**t on the curb’ like her biological mother.
They are also accused of physically abusing those same two children. Rosa is said to have dragged one of them by her hair ‘which resulted in her hair being pulled out.’
The affidavit for this case also mentions the abuse previously suffered by the Turpin children:
“Regarding mental abuses to victims #3-#7, the Olguins were told/knew of the egregious, life-long severe abuses the biological parents inflicted on victims #3-#7, before agreeing to foster them.”
On April 1, Marcelino, Rose and Lennys pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. They are all out of custody for now and are due to appear in court on June 6.
The total charges for the three are:
Marcelino Olguin is charged with four counts of lewd acts on a minor age 14 or 15, three counts of lewd acts on a minor younger than 14, false imprisonment and willful child cruelty. Lennys Olguin is charged with false imprisonment, willful child cruelty and dissuading a witness. Rosa Olguin is charged with false imprisonment, willful child cruelty and dissuading a witness, according to the criminal complaint filed in Superior Court in Riverside.