Occasionally, a horrific crime occurs or is discovered that deeply shakes The United States to its core. You do not have to be of a particular religious group or race to both empathize with the victims or find yourself appalled by the heinous actions of the perpetrator. The grisly details of the crime as well as the ensuing coverage of the litigation always seem to make national news.

 

In May of 2013, missing person Amanda Berry resurfaced after close to a decade when she escaped from a Cleveland house of horrors owned by school bus driver Ariel Castro. The nation learned that there was a decade of abuse, captivity and terror that Berry and two other missing women, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, experienced at the hands of Castro.

 

Castro was promptly arrested; following the trial, the violent and terrifying bus driver was given a fitting sentence of life with an additional 1,000 years for 937 counts of kidnapping, rape, false imprisonment, child endangerment, and aggravated murder — the latter was due to Castro forcing Knight to have multiple miscarriages, as well as many other atrocities. Although Castro committed suicide only one month into his sentence, the nation still remembers the horrors that he caused and the abuse endured by those very brave women.

 

On January 14, 2018, a 911 dispatcher in Perris, California received a call from one of the 13 children of David and Louise Turpin; the teenager shared that she and her siblings were  falsely imprisoned in their house by their parents. The 17-year-old escapee’s bravery led authorities to the Turpin residence where they found a scene from a horror movie; the rooms that housed the children were filthy and squalor-ridden, and a few of the children were found shackled to their beds.

 

What was arguably the most disturbing find, was the malnourished and unhealthy appearances of all 13 children. The 17-year-old who placed the call was assumed to be only 10 years old given her appearance and responding officers assumed that all the Turpin children were minors given their level of undernourishment, only to find out that seven of the children were above the age of 18. The eldest Turpin child, while actually 29 years old, weighed only 82 pounds.   

 

Through further investigation, authorities later learned of the heinous extent of abuse that the children endured from the hands of their parents, David and Louise.

 

an image of David and Louise Turpin who have been accused of abusing all 13 of their children

David and Louise Turpin accused of abusing 13 children (telegraph)

According to a statement made by Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin, the children were served one rationed meal per day, showered about once a year, and were made to participate in sickening mind games with their parents — one of the games David and Louise Turpin, involved laying out pumpkin pies in front of their starving children but not allowing them to eat the pies. The children were also scolded for infractions such as “playing with the water” when washing their hands.

 

While all defendants are innocent until proven guilty, David and Louise Turpin’s checkered past does not exactly resemble that of a loving couple with wholesome children and an idealistic life. David started courting Louise in Virginia when he was 23 and she was 15 years old. They married a year later in 1985, when Louise was 16 and David had a career as a computer engineer.

 

Until 2010, the Turpin family lived both in Rio Vista and Fort Worth, Texas. Daily and Sunday Express news reported that in the Fort Worth house which was lost to foreclosure 18 years ago, the new owners found feces spread across the carpets, scratches on the doors and walls, and boarded up doors and walls. The house in Rio Vista, population less than 1,000, had similar findings;  a former neighbor described the Turpin house as “being waist-deep in filth” and that the abandoned house had dead pet carcasses within the house.

 

David and Louise Turpin have pleaded not guilty to 12 counts of false imprisonment, 12 counts of torture, seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult and six counts of child abuse. Their next court date is on February 23.

 

Have you been following the Turpin family case? If so, tell me your opinion on the very serious matter on Twitter at @CaptainKasoff.