At 5:49 AM on January 14, 2018 17-year-old Jordan Turpin took a chance that saved the lives of herself and her 12 siblings. She had never really seen the outside world, but she knew she had to try in order to save everyone from the horrific misery they were enduring at the hands of their parents. Jordan grabbed her brother’s old cellphone and snuck out a window of their house. Once she felt she’d made a safe enough distance, she struggled to call 911 with shaking hands.
In 2017, 13 siblings were trapped in obscene living conditions at the hands of parents David and Louise Turpin in Perris, California. Two weeks into 2018 that all changed when 17-year-old Jordan Turpin escaped and sought help for the rest of the family.
On October 13, 1997, 10-year-old Joel Kirkpatrick was murdered and his mother Julie Rea was sentenced to 65 years in prison for his death. Julie had woken up the night of Joel’s murder to his screams and found an intruder in his room.
The Happy Face Killer is a nickname given to a serial killer who took the lives of at least eight women in the 1990s. Police thought that the murder of his first victim, Taunja Bennett, had been solved when a woman in an abusive relationship implicated her boyfriend John Sosnovski in the crime. She later herself to the scenario, but it was all false.
In 2000, former plastic surgeon Robert Bierenbaum was convicted on the 1985 murder of his wife Gail Katz. Until December 2020 of last year, Robert claimed that he was innocent. Now, he had confessed that he strangled Gail, then dropped her body out over the ocean. He calls these actions “immature.”
In 2007, 42-year-old pregnant Rhoni Reuter, who was the girlfriend of former Chicago Bears player Shaun Gayle, was found dead on her kitchen floor. Because there was no forced entry, police started looking at those close to her, including boyfriend Shaun. Divorced mother-of-three Marni Yang was convicted of murdering Rhoni and her unborn daughter Skyler in 2011. Now, ten years later, Marni Yang’s attorney is fighting to free his client on the grounds that forensics evidence on the body does not support that Marni is the murderer.
On tonight’s episode of 20/20 title “The Sins of the Father,” sisters Erin DeRoche and Kati Reynolds retell the traumatic story of how their father almost got away with murdering their mother Christina Karlsen and brother Levi Karlsen for insurance money.
Cary Stayner experienced a huge amount of trauma and loss in his life before he became a serial killer at Yosemite State Park in 1999. The tragic events of his life do not excuse his behavior, but they served as formative experiences that potentially shaped his frame of mind.
Cary was only 11-years-old when his 7-year-old brother Steven was kidnapped by a pedophile. Steven returned to the family seven years after that, forever changed. He was heralded as a hero for saving another young boy from a similar experience, and then suddenly died in a traffic accident at age 24. The year after Steven’s death, Cary’s uncle, who he was living with at the time, and who had allegedly molested him, was murdered.
On December 4, 1972, 7-year-old Steven Stayner was walking home from school in Merced, California when he was abducted by two men who worked at Yosemite Lodge. After over seven years of abuse Stayner was able to escape and also rescue a new victim: 5-year-old Timothy White. In 1999, Steven’s older brother Cary became a serial killer and who murdered four women while working at the Cedar Lodge motel in El Portal, California, near Yosemite Park.