The Turpin children starved in a squalid trailer by themselves for years in rural Texas

When the Turpin children were finally freed from their hellish conditions with their parents Louise and David Turpin they were living in a house in Perris, California. Before that, however, the children had been abandoned alone together for years in a trailer in rural Texas.

The parents first completely destroyed the house they were living in Rio Vista, Texas. They had moved to this rural community after their previous house in Fort Worth, Texas was in foreclosure because of their poor financial decisions.

It was during this time in Rio Vista that the parents became physically abusive, even slamming their oldest child Jennifer against a wall while claiming she was the devil. They justified their abuse by citing the Bible, specifically the book of Deuteronomy. They even told the children that they had the right to kill them if they were bad enough.

The house developed mold growth because of all the trash in the home. The children always smelled because they didn’t bathe and wash their clothes, and even if they did it was impossible to get the smell of mold and other grime out.

The Turpin parents’ solution to trashing the Rio Vista house was unbelievable to most people. In 2006, they bought a trailer for the backyard and then moved 10 of their kids into it. The parents rented an apartment in another town.

They took the youngest babies with them and left Jennifer and the older children to discipline the rest in the trailer. One of the things they were expected to do was put the younger children in dog kennels if they misbehaved. If they didn’t do this, they were at risk of being caged when David came to check on them.

During this time Louise rarely visited them, and David would show up sporadically with sparse groceries for them to survive on, which meant they often starved. Jordan Turpin was six years old at this time and remembers being so desperate for food that she would eat dirt, leaves, ketchup, mustard, and ice just to satiate herself.

During this time Jennifer tried to escape. She ran into the small town and asked a local where she could get a job as a waitress because she didn’t know what else to do. Everyone didn’t know how to treat her, and she ended up calling her mother on a phone someone gave her.

When the family finally left the Texas property, which they had been getting paid oil rights for, for California; it was in complete shambles. The main house was full of dogs who were starving so bad they’d been eating the dirty diapers left behind. There was filth and trash everywhere, and everything was padlocked including the fridge, closets, and toy bins.

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