The 17-year-old daughter of David and Louise Turpin claimed she hadn’t bathed in “almost a year” and that her “chained up” siblings begged her to get help, according to a harrowing 911 call played in court Wednesday.
“OK, I live in a family of 15 people and my parents are abusive. They abuse us and my two little sisters right now are chained up,” the girl told a dispatcher in January, speaking in a voice that sounded much younger than her actual age.
She said the chains were used as punishment and named the two sisters who were shackled and sobbing.
“They will wake up at night, and they will cry, and they wanted me to call someone,” she told the dispatcher in the recorded call played during a preliminary hearing for the Turpin parents in Riverside, Calif. “I wanted to call someone so y’all could help my sisters.”
The daughter didn’t know what “medication” was and wasn’t sure if her siblings needed an ambulance.
“Sometimes I wake up and I can’t breathe because of how dirty the house is. We never take baths,” she said. “I don’t know if we need to go to the doctors.”
Photos from the case:
The dispatcher asked when the last time was that she took a bath.
“Uh, I don’t know, almost a year ago,” she said. “Sometimes I feel so dirty, I wash my face and I wash my hair…I wash it in the sink.”
She said the kids in her house didn’t attend school.
“Our mother tells people we’re private schooled, but, we don’t really do school. I haven’t finished first grade, and I’m 17,” she said.
She claimed her parents abandoned the kids for “like four years” when they lived in Texas before moving to California.
“I don’t know much about my mother. She doesn’t like us,” she said. “She doesn’t spend time with us ever. I take care of myself. Mother does buy food for us, so she feeds us, but we never talk.”
The Turpins were arrested January 14 after the 17-year-old daughter climbed out a window of their Perris, Calif., home and used an out-of-service cell phone to call the only number it could, 911.
Police visited the house and discovered the parents were holding their 13 kids in horrific conditions, with some of the children chained to furniture, authorities previously said.
Police initially thought all the kids were minors, due to their alleged malnourishment. They later learned seven were adults, ranging in age from 18 to 29 years old.
Prosecutors said the girl who called 911 had been planning her escape for about two years.
They said the Turpins allowed their children only one shower per year and restrained them with ropes and later chains as a form of punishment.
The parents allegedly taunted the kids with toys and food items that were placed just out of reach.
One 12-year-old victim was the weight of an average 7-year-old, prosecutors said.
The 29- year-old victim weighed just 82 pounds when found.