true crime

The aunty of the 13 Turpin children shares details of their parents' strange sex life.

Teresa Robinette has never met most of her nieces and nephews. The four eldest she saw in person many years ago, while a few of the others have popped up on the rare video calls she’d have with her sister. Otherwise, they – these flesh and blood relatives – are strangers to her.

We now know these children weren’t just kept from their aunty, but from the entire outside world, from a normal childhood and adolescence.

They are the Turpin kids. Thirteen brothers and sisters aged between two and 29, held captive in their California home, starved and taunted by their own parents. Some were found shackled to their beds, others severely malnourished.

For what they’ve done, Louise and David Turpin are “dead” to Teresa, who spoke this week to NBC program Megyn Kelly Today.

“The children, I hope, when they come out of from where they’re at now, our hope is that they all can lead some sort of normal or happy existence,” she said.

“They obviously have never known happy, except maybe the older ones for a little while, but my main hope is that I can put my arm around them and just tell them that they have family that loves them, that’s not deranged, that this is what it’s supposed to be like.”

The couple has plead not guilty to the 37 counts of abuse, torture and false imprisonment levelled against each of them after their 17-year-old daughter escaped through a window and raised the alarm on January 14.

David Turpin, 57, has also been charged with one count of committing a lewd act on a child under the age of 14.

Teresa said the news of her sister’s treatment of the children came “as a total shock”, as she and David had distanced themselves from extended family over the last two decades.

They spoke on the phone occasionally, she said, but Louise made out as if everything was “perfect”.


However, Teresa also claims that during their conversations, the 49-year-old revealed details about her bizarre relationship with David, with whom she had run away at age 16.

“She told me that her and David had met a man online from Huntsville, Alabama, and that they were on their way there to meet him and that she was going to sleep with him, and that David was OK with that … David dropped her off,” she told Megyn Kelly.

“What makes it even worse and even weirder is that exactly one year to the date, the anniversary that she did that, she called me and thought that it was funny that David was taking her back to the exact same hotel room, the exact same bed that she slept with this man in so that David could sleep with her in the same bed.”

Louise and Teresa’s other sister, Elizabeth Jane Flores, earlier told Good Morning America her brother-in-law exhibited inappropriate behaviour toward her when she stayed at their Texas home for two months several years ago.

“If I were to get in the shower, he would come in while I was in there and watch me,” she said. “It was like a joke. He never touched me or anything.”
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Riverside County District Attorney Michael Hestrin media the Turpin children are being cared for by mental and physical health professionals.

Investigations are ongoing and their parents’ motivations for their alleged behaviour remains unclear.

“Sometimes in this business, we are faced with looking at human depravity,” Hestrin said in a press conference last Thursday, “and that is what we are looking at here.”