Tortured Turpin Siblings Describe 'Hell' They Endured

'I thought I was going to die,' Jordan Turpin tells Diane Sawyer
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2021 12:38 PM CST

(Newser) – Reflecting on her childhood, Jennifer Turpin says "the only word I know to call it is 'hell.'" It's no wonder considering the 32-year-old grew up in what media outlets have dubbed a "house of horrors." Turpin was one of 13 siblings rescued in 2018 from David and Louise Turpin, who are now serving 25 years to life in California prisons after being convicted of child cruelty, torture, and false imprisonment. Almost four years after gaining their freedom, Turpin and her sister, 20-year-old Jordan, are speaking out for the first time in a 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer. The sisters say the siblings were chained up for months at a time at their parents' Perris, Calif., home, and denied food, sleep, basic hygiene, education, and health care. They also describe brutal violence.

Jordan Turpin says her mother "choked me" and "I thought I was going to die," per ABC News. That partly inspired her escape out a window of the home in January 2018. "I think it was us coming so close to death so many times, it was literally a now or never," she tells Sawyer, per Inside Edition. "If something happened to me, at least I died trying." Jordan says she could barely call 911 as "my whole body was shaking." Footage of the rescue, featured in Escape from a House of Horrors: a Diane Sawyer Special Event, shows children chained to beds amid filth. Nearly five years on, Jennifer hopes people see the siblings are "not broken," but "strong," she tells Sawyer in a preview of the two-hour special, which airs in full on Nov. 19. (Read more child abuse stories.)

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