Seven years before authorities accused David and Louise Turpin of subjecting their 13 children to torture and mistreatment, the family suffered serious financial problems. Court records show the Turpins declared bankruptcy in 2011, and the documents shed light on the parents’ occupations and background.
The couple, who ran a day school at their home in Perris, California, is now accused of mistreating their children by allegedly shackling some of them to beds and starving them.
You can read the court documents in their bankruptcy filing here:
The family was not without means at one time. At the time of the bankruptcy, the couple was living in Murrieta, California with their then-12 children. Although they had a lot of mouths to feed, the court records indicate that David Turpin earned more than $11,000 a month working as an engineer for Northrop Grumman, a global security company in San Diego. He also received QuickSilver royalties, the court records showed. It’s not clear where David Turpin was working at the time of his arrest, which authorities revealed on January 15, 2018.
However, the family was struggling with credit card and other debt, including from a farm foreclosure, in 2011, the records show. David Turpin listed a 401K from Lockheed Martin as an asset. It had more than $80,000 in it. The couple’s bankruptcy attorney, Ivan Trahan, told The New York Times that the couple spoke often and “highly” about their children, and that they had 12 at the time of the filing.
In a news release, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department alleged that one of the couple’s children, a 17-year-old girl, managed to obtain a cellular device, escape the home, and call 911. The teenager – who was so emaciated that she appeared to only be 10 – alleged that her siblings were being held captive inside the home, with some shackled to their beds.
Authorities went to investigate, and, when they spoke to the Turpins, neither parent could present a logical reason for the restraints, the press release says. “Deputies located what they believed to be 12 children inside the house, but were shocked to discover that 7 of them were actually adults, ranging in age from 18 to 29,” according to the release. The 13th child is the one who alerted authorities. The parents are being held on $9 million bail – each, the release said.
The family’s home address matches county records that “indicate that the Turpins own a property at 160 Muir Woods Road. That address matches that of Sandcastle Day School, whose principal, state Department of Education Records say, is David Turpin,” reports The Press-Enterprise.
Authorities say there are 13 victims in the case, ranging from age 2 to 29, and they added that the children said they were “starving,” the release alleges. “Further investigation revealed several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings, but the parents were unable to immediately provide a logical reason why their children were restrained in that manner,” the release says.
On Facebook, the family presented a different picture, although none of the photos publicly available shows the children after July 2016. However, before that time, family photos show the children on trips to Disneyland and posing at their parents’ wedding vow renewal with an Elvis impersonator. The children are wearing matching frocks in some of the family pictures.
You can read more about David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin here: