The sons and daughters of a California couple who starved and tortured their children for years said that they forgive their parents.
David and Louise Turpin, who were arrested in January 2018 when their 17-year-old daughter escaped the confinement of their Perris, California, home and called 911 to turn them in, sobbed in court as they listened to statements from some of their kids. The youngsters said they still loved their father and mother despite years of abuse and starvation.
As reported by the BBC, the Turpins were sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to the nearly decade-long abuse of 12 of their 13 children. During Friday’s court hearing, the couple wept as they heard victim statements from four of their children.
“I love both of my parents so much. Although it may not have been the best way of raising us, I am glad that they did because it made me the person I am today,” one child said in a statement read by her brother, while another one described the permanent psychological damage done by their parents’ actions.
“I cannot describe in words what we went through growing up. Sometimes I still have nightmares of things that had happened such as my siblings being chained up or getting beaten. That is the past and this is now,” he said.
“I love my parents and have forgiven them for a lot of the things they did to us.”
However, not all of the Turpin children were that forgiving. One of their daughters was visibly emotional as she said that her parents “took my whole life from me.” Despite her parent’s abuse, she called herself a “fighter,” and said that she realized in time that the way they were being brought up was not normal.
TURPIN 911 CALLS: For the first time, @ABC News has obtained the 911 call that a 17-year-old made to get help and rescue her 12 siblings who were locked up for years. @MattGutmanABC has the call. https://t.co/jKpN853xJ0 pic.twitter.com/5EE97YVjsF— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) April 19, 2019
Both parents also had their chance at apologizing to their kids for how they treated them, with 57-year-old David saying that he had “good intentions” in regards to his discipline methods. The former engineer — who had worked for U.S. defense contractors Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman — explained how much he loved his children, and how he never intended to harm them.
Mother Louise, 50, wept as she declared how “truly sorry” she was for what she had done through the years, and expressed her love for her sons and daughters. Judge Bernard Schwartz, however, had little pity for the couple, describing their actions as “selfish, cruel, and inhuman.”
Before David and Louise Turpin's sentencing for multiple horrific crimes, some of their children testified about how they and their siblings were held captive and tortured for years https://t.co/7Lvp0iCith pic.twitter.com/oUUnETCVf4— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) April 19, 2019
The family’s story first garnered both national and international attention when one of their daughters managed to escape the house of horrors — just 70 miles south of Los Angeles — and dial 911 to ask for help. The 17-year-old girl, who did not even know her own address, was also unaware of what month or year it was, or even what the word “medication” meant. She told the emergency operator the type of abuse she and her siblings endured, and police headed to the house only to find several of the children, aged between two and 29 at the time, severely malnourished.
Turpin parents sentenced for abuse their of 13 children. The 17 year old daughter who got free and called 911.....her strength. ❤️ ???? pic.twitter.com/v1OidW8h5I— Cassie (@ca_ahrens) April 19, 2019
“Two of my sisters and one of my brothers… they’re chained up to their bed. Sometimes I wake up and I can’t breathe because how dirty the house is,” she can be heard saying in the dramatic phone call.
They were all kept indoors for most of the year but were allowed out for family trips to Disneyland and Las Vegas, or for Halloween. Since their release from captivity, several Good Samaritans from across the country have offered to care for the siblings.