Brave Teen Risked Everything To Rescue 12 Siblings Caged And Starved By Abusive Parents
Jordan Turpin and her sister Jennifer open up to Diane Sawyer about escaping from the clutches of their abusive parents.
Growing up, Jordan Turpin and her twelve brothers and sisters rarely got to see the outside world. Only when their parents left their house in Perris, California were the children able to watch TV- and that is because they would sneakily turn it on. That’s where Jordan saw shows, music videos, and Justin Bieber, who eventually gave her the courage to escape from her abusive parents.
“I don’t know where we would be if we didn’t watch Justin Bieber,” Jordan told Diane Sawyer on the 20/20 special “Escape from a House of Horror.”
I started realizing that there is a different world out there. I only knew one world and that was like always being there. I was always like, ‘I want to be out there. I want to be like that, being free, not being trapped.’Jordan Turpin
An unbelievable act of bravery
David and Louise Turpin- who pled guilty to fourteen counts of torture and imprisonment- beat, starved, and caged their children while denying them access to the outside world. In January of 2018, at just 17 years old, Jordan managed to escape and call 911.
I was telling them everything. We don’t go to school. We live in filth. We starve. And all the stuff.Jordan to Diane Sawyer
“The only word I know to call it is ‘hell,'” said Jennifer Turpin, reflecting on the trauma of her childhood.
The children’s rescue
When officers arrived at the house, they found garbage, excrement, and moldy food all around the house. Some of the children, who were aged two to 29, were even shackled to their beds. After visiting the hospital, it was discovered that some had developed physical illnesses such as heart problems due to their prolonged malnourishment and physical abuse.
Jordan, now 21, and her sister Jennifer, 33, opened up about the abuse for the first time in the 20/20 special which aired on Friday, November 19th.
“At first I couldn’t watch it, but then when I finally watched it, because I wanted to see it, I had to, like, pause in a lot of parts because it was really hard for me to watch it,” Jordan told Good Morning America. “It brought back a lot of stuff, and when I saw the camera film of Mother and Father, it- it was very, like, scary, like my heart dropped to my stomach.”
Though reliving the trauma in the interview was difficult, Turpin is happy she was able to tell their story.
I’m just glad that it’s out there so people can see it and they can hopefully make a good difference, and we can make a change and people know that they have a voice and they can speak up if something’s not right.Jordan Turpin
Getting through it as a family
Jordan’s courage, with the help of a little inspiration from Justin Bieber, saved her and her siblings from their abusive parents. The children’s resilience helped them survive a nightmare, and Jordan’s bravery and dedication to her siblings freed them of it. Jordan shows us that it is possible to overcome even the most monstrous of obstacles when you step up and speak up. When faced with extreme adversity, you must employ the traits we all have but some rarely access: strength and determination. That’s how you can set yourself free.
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