Despite being overseen by the Riverside County Public Guardian, the highly sheltered Turpin children who were rescued in 2018 from years of deprivation and torture from their parents in their Perris home were cast out into society with few life skills or regard for their safety, two of the victims and District Attorney’s Office officials told ABC’s “20/20.”
The 13 children, ages 2 to 29 at the time, were pulled out of their Muir Woods Road home by sheriff’s deputies on Jan. 14, 2018, after 17-year-old Jordan slipped out a window and using her brother’s cell phone, called 911. The children were badly malnourished and their physical and mental developments were stunted.
The parents, David and Louise, eventually pleaded guilty to 14 felony counts and were sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison.
The seven adult siblings were placed in conservatorship, and the children were placed in foster homes. Nevertheless, some suffered hunger, difficulty finding housing and even assaults, they told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in interviews for a show that aired Friday, Nov. 19.
Requests for money from the trust containing hundreds of thousands of donated dollars were sometimes rebuffed. And the Public Guardian employee heading up the Turpins’ care wouldn’t help with requests for information on how to use public transportation, how to cross a street safely or access medical benefits, the children told Sawyer.
“I don’t really have a way to get food right now,” Jordan said in the July interview.
Wade Walsvick, the lead district attorney’s investigator on the case, was emotional as he spoke with Sawyer.
“They all lacked that sixth sense of fear. They had none of that, and they were cast right into the world in a very unsafe violent inner-city area,” Walsvick said in a rare criticism by one county agency of another.
Melissa Donaldson, the DA’s director of victim services, also teared up as she spoke to Sawyer.
“Did we see kids not having a safe place to live or stay at times? Yes. Did they have enough food at times? They did not. They had to go to churches and eat because they didn’t know how to manage money,” Donaldson said. Some children, she said, have had to “couch surf.”
Without identifying where some of the children were placed, she said, “I will tell you I would have never placed anybody under my care there.”
District Attorney Mike Hestrin’s emotion was anger.
“If we can’t care for the Turpin victims, then how do we have a chance for anyone?” he said.
Hestrin also said: “We’ve got to shine a light on this. The public deserves to know what their government did and didn’t do.”
In an image from the ABC television show ’20/20′ that aired Nov. 19, 2021, David and Louise Turpin are shown in a uniform-worn camera being confronted by Riverside County sheriff’s deputies on Jan. 14, 2018, after daughter Jordan sneaked out of the home and called 911. (ABC)
It was unclear, however, when Hestrin and Donaldson became aware of the Turpins’ plight and who they voiced their concerns to …read more
Source:: Los Angeles Daily News