House of Horrors survivors are finding it ‘impossible’ to navigate their lives after parents’ heinous torture: Turpin siblings were ‘retraumatized’ and became ’10 times more fragile’ after foster care hell, attorney says
- A lawyer for the Turpin siblings who were subjected to abuse by their parents in their California home, say their lives since the abuse has been mixed
- Some of the siblings in their early 20s, are still grappling with aftermath of the trauma they experienced finding it ‘impossible’ to navigate life in outside world
- Siblings face challenges in learning basic life skills, such as handling money and interacting with others, as well as dealing with a collective lack of mentorship
A lawyer representing some of the Turpin siblings who suffered years of abuse and torture at the hands of their parents, says that life outside their parents’ ‘house of horrors’ is proving to be so challenging that it is verging on the ‘impossible’ for some of them
Jordan Turpin, who is now 22 and a rising social media influencer and aspiring motivational speaker, together with her 12 siblings are still recovering from the physical, mental, and emotional trauma inflicted by their abusive parents while at their home in Perris, California.
Despite some of them doing well considering the circumstances, according to their attorney Elan Zektser, others are still struggling to cope with everyday life on the outside as they grapple with the aftermath of the abuse they endured.
‘It’s a mixed bag. All of them are doing fantastic in terms of what they’ve gone through. But if we’re comparing them to everyone else, and where they should be, a number of them are in some serious trouble,’ Zektser told the New York Post.
Zektser stated that a lot of the issues the siblings are facing is due to the lack of exposure they had to the outside world during their childhood.
Police raided the Turpins’ four-bedroom house in Perris, California in early 2018 and found many of the malnourished children shackled to their beds by chains, living in unimaginable filth
David and Louise Turpin – who are now serving life in prison – regularly beat and restrained their children, fed them just once a day, and only allowed them a shower once a year
Jordan was 17 when she managed to escape the family home through a bedroom window in January 2018 and alerted police as to their horrific living situation.
Her siblings were aged between two and 29. One year later, David and Louise Turpin pleaded guilty to torture and abuse in 2019 and have been sentenced to life in prison.
Following David and Louise’s arrests in January 2018, horrific details began to emerge of the extent of torture, abuse and neglect that the children – who ranged in age from two to 29 at the time – suffered.
Some of the children were found chained to their beds, starved and largely isolated from the world.
The parents’ abuse and neglect was so ‘severe, pervasive, and prolonged’ that it stunted their children’s growth, led to muscle wasting and left two of their daughters unable to bear children.
Jordan crawled out of a window and called the police using a cell phone in January 2018. She said she walked on the street because she didn’t know about how to use a sidewalk
The Turpins were found living in squalor in their family home (pictured) in Perris in January 2018 after one of the siblings crawled out of a window and called the police using a cell phone
The Turpin family made headlines in 2018 after 13 siblings were rescued from their parents’ ‘house of horrors’ in Perris, California where they were forced to live under horrific, abusive conditions
Every child except the two-year-old was severely underweight, with deputies testifying that the children said they could only shower once a year.
They were mainly kept in their rooms except for meals, which had been reduced from three to one per day, a combination of lunch and dinner.
Since being rescued, some of the other children have said that the social services system that was supposed to help them transition to new lives didn’t do what it was supposed to.
The siblings now face challenges in learning basic life skills, such as handling money and interacting with others, as well as dealing with a collective lack of mentorship that would normally be provided by parental figures.
David and Louise Turpin pleaded guilty to 14 counts of torture and other abuse in 2019 and were sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. They are eligible for parole in 21 years
‘That attracts even worse people, who want to leech onto that and that’s what’s happened to a lot of them,’ Zektser explains.
‘How do you navigate the world when you weren’t exposed to it as a child? It’s impossible.’
They also have difficulties interacting with other people, especially strangers, having not been exposed to the world as children.
‘Just talking, you know? They didn’t go to school — how do you even know grammar, or how to interact with other people?’
Additionally, the exploitation of some of the siblings did not appear to stop after their parents were arrested and charged, as six of the younger children were placed in a foster home where they were allegedly subjected to further physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
Five of the siblings who were still minors at the time were then placed in foster care under Marcelino and Rosa Olguin (pictured at their arraignment last December) who are now facing child abuse charges against multiple foster children
Marcelino Olguin, 64, his wife, Rosa, 59, and their daughter Lennys, 38, were released on bail after pleading not guilty last March.
‘They will tell you, if they could, they were emotionally abused more in that foster care house than they were in their own tortuous home,’ Zektser, who represents five of the siblings explained.
‘They were retraumatized and due to already being fragile, they were made 10 times worse.’
Six of the youngest 13 Turpin siblings who were rescued said they were sexually abused and tortured by their new foster parents, who force-fed them and made them eat their own vomit.
A lawsuit states that in the three years the children spent with the Olguins, they were subject to beatings, molestations and told repeatedly that no one would love them and that they should kill themselves.
The children added that they were force-fed while in the Olguins’ custody, which caused them to develop eating disorders.
Despite some of them doing well considering the circumstances, according to their attorney Elan Zektser, others are still struggling to cope with everyday life on the outside as they grapple with the aftermath of the abuse they endured
Some of the Turpin siblings are pictured in family photograph with Jordan and Jennifer visible
‘These children who were chained to their beds for a great majority of their life finally are free, and then the county places them with ChildNet and puts them in another position where they are further abused,’ said Zektser.
The group also appear to be struggling to deal with their experiences being sensationalized in the media.
Lawsuits have been filed on their behalf, but Zektser notes that there are difficulties in giving them a substantial amount of money without them being removed from government assistance or knowing what to do with it.
‘You can’t just give someone a substantial amount and expect them to know what to do with it,’ Zektser said. ‘Plus, a lot of them are on government assistance and you would lose that assistance if you obtain that amount, and so it’s not that easy. It’s a very difficult situation.’
Sisters Jennifer, left, and Jordan Turpin are doing well as they attempt to work through their traumatic past
Jeanetta Turpin also sometimes posts pictures and song lyrics to social media
In contrast, Jordan Turpin, who escaped the abuse in 2018, is supported by a team of people around her as she restarts her life and becomes a rising social media star and motivational speaker in Southern California, but many of her siblings do not have such support and are facing many challenges as they try to navigate the real world.
‘She has a terrific following on social media that boosts her morale and helps fund her life,’ Zektser said. ‘She’s also heavily involved in modeling and she’s just a very sweet and strong person.’
Jennifer, who is the eldest Turpin sibling, is said to be aspiring nurse and also has her own following on Instagram, while a third, Jeanetta, posts pictures and song lyrics to social media.
While several of the other siblings are still in foster care, three others have embarked on college courses.
‘I know that all of them could have terrific lives and contribute to their communities,’ Zektser explained to the Post.
‘They all want to help people. Every single one of them, especially Jordan, talks about how they want to dedicate their lives to helping others — and I believe it. I think they can all get there, but it’s about 100 times harder because of what they’ve gone through.’
Some of the children reported they ‘felt betrayed’ by local officials’ handling of their cases, said Melissa Donaldson, Riverside County’s director of victim services.
Jordan and her sister Jennifer, right, also said that the parents ‘literally’ used the Bible to justify how they treated the siblings.
Jeanetta Turpin has 3,000 followers on Instagram. ‘I write song lyrics, poems & I love nature’, she writes in her profile
The kids were threatened with belts and sticks and even told that if they didn’t behave, the parents would chain them to their beds and pull their hair.
Jordan and her sister Jennifer also said that the parents ‘literally’ used the Bible to justify how they treated the siblings.
They loved to point out things in Deuteronomy, saying that, ‘We have the right to do this to you,’ said Jennifer, now 33. ‘That they even had the right to kill us if we didn’t listen.’
For years, the siblings’ diet consisted of nothing but two slices of bread with peanut butter or bologna.
The couple were also accused of taunting their children with pies and other food that they were forbidden to eat.
The evil couple chowed down on fast food in front of them, chaining the children to filthy beds if they tried to steal food.
Earlier this Jordan opened up about how her ordeal means she is constantly on the verge of crying.
When asked about her normal day in an interview with Elle she replied: ‘I usually cry’.
She continued: ‘I try to get myself to eat. And then I start to do my makeup, but I cry, so I have to do it over.
The 22-year-old spent her entire childhood imprisoned inside her California home with her 12 siblings before she managed to escape through a window in January 2018
Jordan says the pandemic was particularly tough as lockdowns hit just over a year after her escape
‘And then I try to do a TikTok, but I’m like, ‘Oh, people are going to say this and that about me.’
‘Then I’m like, ‘Maybe I should get some air. I’m gonna go outside’ . . . and then I just cry again.’
She started taking classes at a community college and worked at Taco Bell – but struggled to socialize with her co-workers.
Jordan was worried that her life would never improve, with her experience leaving her ‘scared of everyone’.
The influencer said: ‘I was super nice, and I’d always be like, ‘I’m so sorry.’
‘I am super gentle. They would laugh and be like, ‘Why is she like that?’ I might have been annoying.
‘But I had just gotten out of the foster home, so I was always super kind because I was scared of everyone.’
Here at the Elle shoot. I had so much fun. Thank you to my team and to Elle for making this happen for me!🥰💜
For years, she and her siblings had one meal a day and their diet consisted of nothing but two slices of bread with peanut butter or bologna
Jordan was forced back into a life of isolation during the pandemic, triggering her after her normal life was suspended.
She had only just begun to get used to living outside of her home, and felt like the ‘promised land’ of freedom felt like a ‘tease’ with ‘no escape’.
She added: ‘When everybody started complaining about COVID, we were like, ‘Look at us!’
‘People were like, ‘This is the worst thing ever!’ They could barely handle it when it was only a week. They really don’t know.’
Like many of her generation, she turned to TikTok to connect with others – despite having little understanding of how social media worked.
Jordan gained hundreds of thousands of followers on the app, and began updating people on her life and joining in dance crazes on the app.
On Instagram, where she has over 220,000 followers, she says her dream is to be a motivational speaker one day
The 22-year-old speaks out about life now in the February issue of the glossy magazine while modeling designer threads
She now has almost a million followers and has had to hire a publicist and an agent – who said: ‘She got it very quickly. That’s the thing about Jordan.
‘Even though there are certain parts of society [the Turpin siblings are] all starting to navigate…they’re all very aware of the world. Jordan is really smart.
‘She’s very aware of herself, which is not something that even [a lot of] people who haven’t been through this type of tragedy can say.’
The star is now considering a career in music after meeting Hailey Bieber and TikTok queen Charli D’Ameilo.
But she said she wants to take it slow, adding: ‘Right now, I kind of need a break from my past. I just want to start slowly.’
During her brave escape, she told a responding police officer hat her siblings were chained up because they had tried to steal food.
As she didn’t know what a sidewalk was, she said she walked in the street to get help and managed to come across the cop.
Along with emotional scars, Jordan says the abuse she endured has had a lasting impact her physical health
She said she is still ‘very, very’ close to her siblings, and makes sure to see them often. She is seen with her sister Jennifer earlier this year
Details later emerged about how the Turpins beat and starved their children, shackling them to beds and denying them basic hygiene like showers
Jordan has racked up more than 920,000 followers on TikTok where she posts regular clips of herself doing popular dances
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