A lawyer representing some of the Turpin siblings, who suffered years of abuse and torture at the hands of their parents, says life outside of their parents’ “house of horrors” is proving so challenging that it feels like the “impossible” borders some of them
Jordan Turpin, now 22 and an aspiring social media influencer and aspiring motivational speaker, along with her 12 siblings, is still recovering from the physical, mental and emotional trauma inflicted on them by their abusive parents at their home in Perris, California.
Although some of them are doing well under the circumstances, according to their lawyer Elan Zektser, others are still struggling to cope with everyday life outside as they grapple with the aftermath of the abuse they have suffered.
“It’s a mixed thing. Everyone is doing fantastic in relation to what they’ve been through. But if we compare them to everyone else and where they should be, some of them are in serious trouble,” Zektser told the New York Post.
Zektser explained that many of the problems the siblings face stem from a lack of contact with the outside world during their childhood.
Police searched the Turpins’ four-bedroom home in Perris, California, in early 2018 and found many of the malnourished children chained to their beds and living in unimaginable filth
David and Louise Turpin – who are now serving life in prison – regularly beat and tied their children, fed them only once a day and only allowed them to shower once a year
Jordan was 17 when, in January 2018, she managed to escape from the family home through a bedroom window and alerted the police to her terrible living situation.
Her siblings ranged in age from two to 29 years old. A year later, David and Louise Turpin pleaded guilty to torture and ill-treatment in 2019 and were sentenced to life in prison.
Following the arrests of David and Louise in January 2018, horrifying details emerged about the extent of torture, abuse and neglect the children – aged between two and 29 at the time – were suffering.
Some of the children were found chained to their beds, starving, and largely isolated from the world.
The abuse and neglect by parents was so “serious, pervasive and persistent” that it stunted their children’s growth, caused muscle wasting and left two of their daughters unable to bear children.
Jordan crawled out of a window and called police on a cellphone in January 2018. She said she walked the street because she didn’t know how to use a sidewalk
The Turpins were found in a derelict state at their family home (pictured) in Perris in January 2018 after one of the siblings crawled out of a window and used a cell phone to call police
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 in horrific, abusive conditions
All the children except the two-year-old were severely underweight, and MPs said the children said they could only shower once a year.
They were mostly kept in their rooms, except for meals, which had been reduced from three to one a day, a combination of lunch and dinner.
Since their rescue, some of the other children have said that the social system designed to help them transition into a new life has not been doing what it should.
The siblings now face challenges in learning basic life skills such as managing money and interacting with others, as well as dealing with a collective lack of mentoring that would normally be provided by parent figures.
David and Louise Turpin pleaded guilty to 14 counts of torture and other abuse in 2019 and were sentenced to 25 years of life imprisonment. They are eligible for parole in 21 years
“It attracts even worse people who want to get into it, and it’s happened to a lot of them,” explains Zektser.
“How do you navigate the world if you weren’t exposed to it as a kid? It is impossible.’
They also have difficulty interacting with other people, especially strangers, due to their lack of exposure to the world as children.
“Just talking, you know? They didn’t go to school – how do you even know grammar or how to deal with other people?
In addition, the exploitation of some siblings did not seem to stop after their parents were arrested and charged, as six of the younger children were placed in a foster home where they allegedly suffered further physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
Five of the then minor siblings were then placed in foster care with Marcelino and Rosa Olguin (pictured at their arraignment last December) who are now accused of child molestation against multiple foster children
Marcelino Olguin, 64, his wife Rosa, 59, and their daughter Lennys, 38, have been released on bail after pleading not guilty last March.
“They will tell you, if they could, that they were emotionally abused more in that nursing home than they were in their own tormented home,” explained Zektser, who represents five of the siblings.
“They were re-traumatized and because they were already fragile, they got ten times worse.”
Six of the youngest 13 Turpin siblings rescued said they were sexually abused and tortured by their new foster parents, who force-fed them and forced them to eat their own vomit.
One lawsuit states that during the three years they spent with the Olguins, the children were beaten, molested and repeatedly told that no one would love them and that they should kill themselves.
The children added that while in the Olguins’ care, they were force-fed, causing them to develop eating disorders.
Although some of them are doing well under the circumstances, according to their lawyer Elan Zektser, others are still struggling to cope with everyday life outside as they grapple with the aftermath of the abuse they have suffered
Some of the Turpin siblings are pictured in a family photo that includes Jordan and Jennifer
“These kids who have been confined to their beds for most of their lives are finally free and then the county takes them to ChildNet and puts them in another position where they continue to be abused,” Zektser said.
The group also seems to struggle with having their experiences being sensationalized in the media.
Lawsuits have been filed on their behalf, but Zektser notes that it’s difficult to give them a significant amount of money without being cut off from government support or knowing what to do with it.
“You can’t just give someone a significant amount and expect them to know what to do with it,” Zektser said. “Also, a lot of them get government support and you would lose that support if you got 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 try to process their traumatic pasts
Jeanetta Turpin also sometimes posts pictures and lyrics to social media
In contrast, Jordan Turpin, who escaped abuse in 2018, is supported by a team of people around her as she reboots her life and becomes a rising social media star and motivational speaker in Southern California, but many of her siblings lack such support and face many challenges when trying to navigate the real world.
“She has a great following on social media, which boosts her morale and helps her fund her life,” Zektser said. “She’s also heavily involved in modeling and she’s just a very sweet and strong person.”
Jennifer, the eldest Turpin sibling, is said to be an aspiring nurse and also has her own following on Instagram, while a third, Jeanetta, posts pictures and lyrics to the song on social media.
While some of the other siblings are still in foster care, three others have entered college.
“I know they could all have great lives and contribute to their communities,” Zektser told the Post.
“They all want to help people. Every single one of them, especially Jordan, talks about how they want to dedicate their life to helping others – and I believe in it. I think they can all get there, but based on what they’ve been through, it’s about 100x harder.
Some of the children reported feeling “betrayed” by local officials’ handling of their cases, said Melissa Donaldson, director of Victim Services for Riverside County.
Jordan and her sister Jennifer also said the parents “literally” used the Bible to justify how they treated the siblings.
Jeanetta Turpin has 3,000 followers on Instagram. “I write lyrics, poetry & I love nature,” she writes in her profile
The children were threatened with belts and sticks, and were even told that their parents would chain them to their beds and pull their hair if they didn’t behave.
Jordan and her sister Jennifer also said the parents “literally” used the Bible to justify how they treated the siblings.
They loved pointing out things in Deuteronomy, saying, “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 just two slices of bread with peanut butter or sausage.
The couple were also accused of taunting their children with cakes and other foods they were forbidden from eating.
The evil couple ate fast food in front of them and would chain the children to dirty beds if they tried to steal food.
Earlier this Jordan has opened up about how her ordeal means she’s constantly on the brink of crying.
When asked about her normal day in an interview with Elle, she replied, “I usually cry.”
She continued, “I’m trying to force myself to eat. And then I start doing my makeup but I’m crying so I have to do it again.
The 22-year-old spent her entire childhood locked in her California home with her 12 siblings before managing to escape through a window in January 2018
Jordan says the pandemic has been particularly tough as lockdowns hit just over a year after she escaped
“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 catch some air. i will go outside . . and then I just cry again.’
She began taking classes at a community college and worked at Taco Bell — but struggled to socialize with her peers.
Jordan was worried her life would never get better as she was “afraid of everyone” because of her experience.
The influencer said, “I was super nice and I would always say, ‘I’m so sorry.’
“I’m super soft. They would laugh and say, ‘Why is she like this?’ I might have been annoying.
“But I had just gotten out of the nursing home, so I was always super nice because I was scared of everyone.”
For years, she and her siblings ate one meal a day, and their diet consisted of just two slices of bread with peanut butter or sausage
Jordan was forced back into a life of isolation during the pandemic, which she sparked after her normal life was suspended.
She had only just begun to adjust to living outside of her home and felt like the “promised land” of freedom felt like a “trick” with no “way out.”
She added, “When everyone started complaining about COVID, we said, ‘Look at us!’
“People said, ‘This is the worst thing ever!’ They couldn’t take it if 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 works.
Jordan gained hundreds of thousands of followers on the app and began updating people about her life and engaging in dance crazes on the app.
On Instagram, where she has over 220,000 followers, she says her dream is to one day be a motivational speaker
The 22-year-old now opens up about life while modeling designer threads in the February issue of the glossy magazine
She now has almost a million followers and had to hire a publicist and an agent – who said: “She got it very quickly. That’s the thing about Jordan.
“Although there are certain sections of society [the Turpin siblings are] everyone is beginning to navigate… they are very aware of the world. Jordan is really smart.
“She’s very conscious of herself, which isn’t even a thing [a lot of] People who haven’t experienced this kind of tragedy can say that.’
The star is now considering a career in music after meeting Hailey Bieber and TikTok Queen Charli D’Ameilo.
But she said she wanted to take it slow, adding: “Right now I need a break from my past. I just want to start slow.’
During her brave escape, she told a responding police officer that her siblings were chained up for trying to steal groceries.
Not knowing what a sidewalk is, she said she walked down the street to get help and managed to meet the police officer.
In addition to emotional scars, Jordan says the abuse she suffered has had a lasting effect on her physical health
She said she’s still “very, very” close to her siblings and makes sure to see them often. She is seen with her sister Jennifer this year
Details later surfaced of how the Turpins beat and starved their children, tied them to beds, and denied them basic hygiene like showers
Jordan has amassed more than 920,000 followers on TikTok, where she regularly posts clips of herself performing popular dances