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:
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.”