Children of David and Louise Turpin, the California couple sentenced to life in prison for torturing them and their siblings for years, spoke out in victim impact statements read in a Riverside courtroom Friday.
“I cannot describe in words what we went through growing up,” said one of their sons, known to the court as John Doe Number 2. “Sometimes I still have nightmares of things that had happened such as my siblings being chained up or getting beaten. But that is the past and this is now. I love my parents and have forgiven them for a lot of the things that they did to us.”
In January 2018, police discovered that the 13 children ― who ranged in age from 2 to 29 ― were being held captive in a Perris home roughly 60 miles outside of Los Angeles. Prosecutors say the parents abused 12 of them. In February, the Turpins pleaded guilty.
Despite the trauma, the son spoke of his recovery, too, mentioning his newfound independence which included living in an apartment, working toward a bachelor’s degree in software engineering and planning for his future career.
Another testimony was read by lawyer Janet Latourette on behalf of one of the Turpins’ daughters, Joy.
“I want the court to know that our parents loved each other and loved each of their children,” she said. “People in Texas, even friends, said our parents were having too many children. Our parents didn’t agree. They felt that God blessed them with all their children, so they kept away from the world and trusted God would guide them through life.”
The children recall that while they were locked away, they were shackled to beds, caged and hit by their parents, not bathing or receiving medical attention. They also reported having little to eat, their meals being cut from three to just one per day. Malnourishment had become so severe that the siblings appeared younger than they actually were, a medical official said when they were found.
Still, Joy felt her “parents tried their best to raise all 13 of us, and they wanted to give us a good life.”
“They believed everything they did was to protect us,” she wrote, asking the court to “place our parents as close to the detention center they are in right now so if we ever want to visit them, we can.” Joy also asked for the lifting of a two-year restraining order against her parents.
The Turpin parents will have the possibility of parole after serving 25 years in jail.
Correction: A previous version of this article mistakenly stated the Turpin children ranged in age from 2 to 19 when they were found. They ranged in age from 2 to 29.