In January, the nation was shocked by the discovery of a “house of horrors,” where David and Louise Turpin had held their 13 kids captive in deplorable conditions. Louise Turpin’s sister, Teresa Robinette, said that she had no idea that the kids were being mistreated that way, and learned about the allegations as they were being aired on the news.
Many people have sent hate mail to Robinette, accusing her of knowing about the situation and not doing anything to help. She hopes that by being part of a new documentary on Oxygen called, The Turpin 13: Family Secrets Exposed, that the rumors of her collusion can be put to rest. Robinette described how Louise distanced herself from her sister over time.
According to Fox News, this also meant Robinette only met four of the children in person, and the rest she only saw fleetingly over video chat. Eventually, even the video chat sessions tapered off, as Louise told her sister that they were too busy to talk to her. Robinette also said that she only received photos of the youngest kid, but never of the other children.
Robinette also said that she often questioned why the children didn’t have cell phones so that she could call them, and that Louise constantly came up with strange excuses to cancel visits last-minute. In fact, Robinette had not seen Louise since around 1997 or 1998. That was when Louise cut herself off from her sister. After that, Robinette heard from her sister infrequently and hadn’t heard from her since around 2009 or 2010.
“Louise would just go into a hole and just disappear…She would cut herself off from us – from everybody in the family. And she would do that for what felt like forever. And then one day she would randomly call [the family]…The visits stopped.”
Robinette also talked about Louise’s childhood, describing a religious upbringing because their father was a preacher. Growing up, Louise obeyed rules and didn’t drink alcohol, dabble in drugs, or smoke anything. For Robinette, it was a surprise to hear that Louise had a falling out with her church and that she was considering Mormonism or even witchcraft.
Now, Robinette only wants the best for the children. She and her husband want to adopt them, but they’re not sure that they can meet the income requirements. She said that Louise has called her several times from prison, but that she only accepted the call once to tell her how she felt. Robinette does not plan on accepting any more collect calls from her sister.