Newly released bodycam footage shows the moment a 17-year-old girl warned police of the abuse her parents were inflicting upon her and her 12 siblings living in squalor, in the first time she had ever spoken to a person outside her family.
Jordan Turpin, now 21, escaped her home and called the cops on her abusive parents on January 14, 2018. Bodycam footage from that night in Perris, California, shows a terrified girl struggling to speak but determined to rescue her siblings.
Then 17, Jordan managed to escape her home out a window with a cell phone, which contained evidence of the abuse, walking down the middle of the street not knowing where she lived and shaking as she struggled to dial 911.
‘My whole body was shaking, I couldn’t really dial,’ Jordan, choking back tears as she described the moment she finally escaped the House of Horrors and made the 911 call, said during a 20/20 special set to air Friday.
Their parents, David and Louise Turpin, pled guilty to 14 counts of torture and other abuse and were sentenced to 25 years to life in prison in 2019.
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Bodycam footage shows the moment Jordan Turpin (bottom right) escaped from her abusive home and spoke with a police officer for the first time, telling him of the abuse her parents inflicted on the 13 siblings their whole lives
Jordan was 17 when she called police to her California home in 2018. It was the first time she had ever spoken on a phone or to someone outside her family
Police eventually entered the house to confront the parents, David and Louise Turpin, when they discovered the children, two of whom were shackled to their beds. All 13 siblings were rescued and the parents jailed
The 911 dispatcher had stayed on the phone with the frightened girl until an officer arrived. Jordan is seen noticeably frantic, taking a moment to calm herself as she begins speaking with the officer.
‘Okay. I just ran away from home. And I live in a family of 15. My two little sisters right now are chained up,’ she say as her voice shakes sounding much younger than 17.
When the officer asks where the siblings are chained up she replies: ‘On the bed now mother didn’t chain them up just to be mean. Okay. They’re chained up because they stole mother’s food.’
She strains to maintain her calm as she speaks to a person outside her home for the first time in her life. ‘But…I’m sorry if I talk too much. Okay. I’ve never talked to anybody out there so I don’t- I’ve never been alone with a person so this is very hard for me to talk,’ she tells the officer.
Questioning the frazzled teen who struggles to speak clearly, the officer asks if she’s on any medication.
‘Medication? What’s medication?’ she asks back. The officer tries to help Jordan understand asking if she takes pills.
‘Oh. I don’t think I’ve ever tooken a pill before. Right, I haven’t,’ she confirms in her broken vocabulary.
She’s then seen putting on a baseball cap, which ABC’s Diane Sawyer explained in her interview was a reminder of one of her sisters. After nervously fixing the cap on her head, she dives back into the reason for her call.
‘Our parents are abusing. They abuse us. But the reason I called and the reason I managed to get out here this is one of the most scariest things I’ve ever done. I’m terrified. But I called because my two little sisters they’re chained up right now.’
The officer asks if Jordan has any photos of the girls chained up and she excitedly confirms she took photos after one of her sisters told her to.
‘I don’t have proof of everything but I have proof that my sisters are chained up.’
Not knowing the word ‘bruise’ she tells the officer: ‘See? Those are the places that make in on them. And see how dirty she is? We’re so filthy. We don’t take baths.’
The officer asks one more time: ‘Your parents chained them up?’
‘Yes, because they stole food. But they stole it because they were hungry,’ Jordan confirms.
Jordan, now 21, recounted the terrifying moment she escaped and dialed 911 believing her parents would kill her when they found out
Jennifer Turpin, 33, confirmed that the kids would often be chained up for months describing their home as ‘hell’
Jennifer and Jordan Turpin (second from left) spoke to Diane Sawyer about their rescue. The full interview is set to air on Friday
Audio from the bodycam recorded the deputy asking Jordan: ‘What are your parents going to do when they find out you left?’
‘They are going to want to literally kill me,’ she answers.
Jordan’s call to police lasted for 20 minutes because the girl struggled to work out her address because she had not been outside alone before.
‘I had to make sure that if I left we wouldn’t go back and we would get the help we needed,’ she told Sawyer.
Explaining her decision to finally escape, Jordan told Sawyer: ‘I think it was us coming close to death so many times.’
‘It was literally a now or never. If something happened to me, at least I died trying.’
‘The only word I know to call it is ‘hell,”‘ Jordan’s sister Jennifer, 33, added in the trailer for the 20/20 special, set to air Friday.
‘My parents took my whole life from me, but now I am taking my life back,’ she said.
Jennifer doesn’t doesn’t want her siblings to be remembered as victims, but instead as fighters.
‘I want the Turpin name [to be] “Wow, they’re strong. They’re not broken. They’ve got this,'” she said.
Jordan was one of 13 siblings who were abused by David and Louise, center, in their Southern California home
David (left) and Louise Turpin (right) 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 22 years
Jordan, describing life post-rescue, said: ‘It’s so free. Like wow, this is life.’
Jordan said she and her siblings came ‘close to death so many times.’
‘Mother, she choked me and I literally thought I was going to die,’ she shared.
In her harrowing 911 call, Jordan sounded clear but agitated as she walked away from the home she was confined to most of the time and revealed everything to the dispatcher.
‘Um hello? I just ran away from home because I live in a family of 15. OK? Can you hear me? And we have abusing parents. Did you hear that?’ Jordan Turpin tells a dispatcher.
When the dispatcher asked how her parents abused her and her siblings, she replied: ‘OK, They hit us. They like to throw us across the room. They pull out hair. They yank out our hair. I have two … My two little sisters right now are chained up.’
Bodycam footage later shows officers enter the house, confront the parents and discover the children, at least two of whom were shackled to their beds.
‘Sarge, we’ve got another room in the front right here with two kiddos in the bed,’ an officer says in the video.
The siblings, ranging in age from 2 to 29 years old, were freed from the home in January 2018 after being regularly beaten, starved and strangled by their parents.
The house was covered in filth and the stench of human waste was said to be overwhelming. Jennifer confirmed that the kids would often be chained up for months.
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 the sidewalks
David and Louise ate fast food in front of their children, who were only allowed one meal per day at one point. They would chain the siblings to filthy beds if they tried to steal food
In 2019, Louise’s sister said that Louise (above) cried when they discussed the children but ‘didn’t want to admit to anything’ and is in ‘denial’
Deputies testified that the children said they were only allowed to shower once a year
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.
WHERE ARE THE TURPIN CHILDREN NOW? THE CASE THAT SHOCKED THE NATION
Since the 13 Turpin children were rescued from their parents horror house in January 2018, they have been actively working to take back their lives.
‘They’re all happy,’ Deputy District Attorney Kevin Beecham, who prosecuted the Turpin case, told People in April 2020. ‘They are moving on with their lives.’
His interview revealed the siblings still live in Southern California and remain close to each other, regularly getting together.
‘They still meet with each other, all 13 of them, so they’ll meet somewhere kind of discreet,’ he shared.
Beecham shared that the six youngest children had been adopted and, since they had experienced fewer years of abuse due to their ages, were able to quickly adjust to their new lives.
One of the older siblings has earned a college degree.
Others are in school, living on their own and working jobs.
‘Some of them are living independently, living in their own apartment, and have jobs and are going to school. Some volunteer in the community. They go to church,’ Beecham explained.
A few of the siblings, at the time of the interview, were still living in group homes as they received therapy and counseling.
Two of the Turpin sisters spoke out to Diane Sawyer, in an interview airing on November 19, revealing that they were moving forward with their lives.
‘My parents took my whole life from me, but now I am taking my life back,’ one sister told Sawyer.
The other described her new life as being ‘free.’
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.
Deputies testified that the children said they were only allowed to 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.
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 Turpin parents chowed down on fast food in front of them, chaining the children to filthy beds if they tried to steal food.
‘They still can’t look at peanut butter or bologna,’ Deputy District Attorney Kevin Beecham told People magazine last year.
‘I made the mistake of mentioning peanut butter during one of our meet-and-greets, and one of the girls almost threw up. And when they’re at the grocery store, they can’t look at peanut butter. They can’t even go down the aisle where there’s peanut butter.’
The Turpin offspring weren’t allowed to play like normal children and were deprived of things other kids had, including toys and games.
Sawyer also spoke with Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin, who was involved with the case. He says it is one he will never forget.
‘It stopped me dead in my tracks,’ he said. ‘There are cases that stick with you, that haunt you.’
David and Louise pleaded guilty to 14 counts of torture and other abuse in 2019 and were sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
They are both eligible for parole in 22 years.
The 13 siblings remained out of the public eye as their parents’ case unfolded in court and they learned to adapt to normal life outside the confines of the house of horrors.
Beecham, who prosecuted the Turpin case, told People magazine that all of the siblings ‘are happy.’
‘They are moving on with their lives,’ he added.
At that time, one sibling had graduated college, while several others had jobs or were going to school.
‘Some of them are living independently, living in their own apartment, and have jobs and are going to school. Some volunteer in the community. They go to church,’ he shared.
He also noted that the siblings see each other regularly.
‘They still meet with each other, all 13 of them, so they’ll meet somewhere kind of discreet,’ he said.
Several of the siblings have changed their names to rid themselves of the stigma of being a victim in the high-profile case.
‘It would be difficult for them to carry that name, that label of being a victim, forever,’ Beecham said.
But Jennifer told Sawyer she wants to change what people think when they hear the Turpin name. ‘I want the Turpin name, like wow, they’re strong, they’re not broken, they’ve got this,’ she explained.