news

"My two little sisters are chained up": The 911 call that exposed Turpin's house of horrors.

Early morning January 14, 2018, 17-year-old Jordan Turpin climbed out the window of her family’s home in Perris, California. She wasn’t sneaking out to see friends or meet up with a boyfriend, she was fleeing to freedom, clutching her brother’s old, deactivated mobile phone.

Safely out of sight, Jordan dialled the only number the phone would allow: 911.

“I live in a family of 15 people and my parents are abusive,” she told the operator in her deceptively childlike voice. “My two little sisters, right now, are chained up…. with chains. They’re chained to the bed.”

Hear the call:

Video via ABC News

With that phone call, audio of which has been published by ABC News, Jordan helped rescue her 12 brothers and sisters from years of abuse at the hands of their own parents, David and Louise Turpin.

The couple had held their children, aged between two and 29, captive in their family home, depriving them of food, education, medical care and proper hygiene.

In the 911 call, the teenager explained that she “doesn’t go out much”, and hadn’t bathed for a year.

“We live in filth, and sometimes I wake up and I can’t breathe because of how dirty the house is,” she said.

She later added, “I don’t know much about my mother. She doesn’t like us. She doesn’t spend time with us, ever.”

The Turpin's home also served as their prison. Image: Getty.
ADVERTISEMENT

A police officer later testified in court, that Jordan claimed her siblings would be chained up for one or two months and only freed to brush their teeth or use the bathroom. She said she hadn't seen a doctor in five years or ever been to a dentist, ABC reported.

When the 911 operator asked Jordan if anyone in her family took medication, she replied: "I don't know what medication is."

Turpins to be sentenced.

David, 57, and Louise, 50, will today be sentenced after pleading guilty in February to one count of torture and one count of dependent abuse, as well as multiple counts of false imprisonment, child endangerment and adult abuse.

The couple are each expected to be handed 25 years behind bars, in accordance with their plea deal.

Local District Attorney Mike Hestrin previously told media that the Turpin parents' crimes placed it "among the worst, most aggravated child abuse cases I have ever seen."

David and Louise Turpin in court. Images: Getty.

Hestrin said the children had little knowledge of the outside world, and one had to be told what a police officer is. He said the parents beat their children and fed them very little. They would also torment them with treats: "they would buy food, including pies - apple pies, pumpkin pies - leave it on the counter, let the children look at it, but not eat," he said, according to Reuters.

When police rescued the children, all but the two youngest were malnourished - the 29-year-old weighed just 37 kilograms.

All 13 siblings were taken to hospital for assessment and medical treatment. They are now in the care of adult and child protection agencies.

In February, attorney for the seven adult children, Jack Osborn, told CNN said his clients are now healthy and moving on with their lives.

"They have been living together, getting their education and moving their lives forward. They are all extremely bright, incredibly strong and resilient. They have been supportive of each other," he said.

"They view themselves as survivors."

00:00 / ???