’20/20′ Covers The ‘Turpin House Of Horror’

Turpin House of Terror

On Friday, November 19th, episode ABC’s 20/20 covers the “Turpin House of Horror.” Keep reading to find out about this and more.

20/20 Covers the “Turpin House of Horror”

In the upcoming 20/20 episode titled “Escape from a House of Horror,” Diane Sawyer takes a deep dive into a shocking child abuse case. For more than a decade, Jennifer Turpin and her 12 siblings were abused and held captive, reports ABC News.

Concerningly, Jennifer Turpin recounts that it didn’t start awful. She even says she once adored her mother. David and Louise Turpin moved to Fort Worth, Texas. The new home “eventually became filthy.” Then, Louise began having “violent mood swings.” Jennifer remembers that she was still “very little” at the time.

Turpin parents
YouTube ABC News

How David and Louise Turpin got away with abusing their 13 children

Jennifer Turpin got to go to public school from the first to the third grade. After that, her parents took her out of school. It’s likely because she regularly went to school in the same unwashed clothes.

Jennifer Turpin Turpin House of Horrors
YouTube ABC 20/20 Jennifer Turpin

Next, Jennifer recollects moving to Rio Vista, Texas in 1999. By this time, there were more children. It seems like this is about the time the physical abuse began. Jennifer shares with Diane Sawyer that her parents would use verses from the Bible to justify their behavior.

They loved to point out things in Deuteronomy, saying that, ‘We have the right to do this to you.’…that they had the right to even kill us if we didn’t listen.”

The children allegedly received abuse for minor things. One example Jennifer gives is for coloring outside the lines. She explains her mother would pull her hair or throw them across the room.

Another time, one of the other kids got caught in their mother’s bedroom. Jennifer was thrown across the room, and another child was pushed down the stairs.

Things continue to escalate

Unfortunately, things only got worse. In 2007, Jennifer Turpin was 18 years old. She and her other siblings were moved to a trailer out of sight deeper in Texas. Then, her parents took the two youngest children and left.

When their parents would come back, they would drop off groceries. This typically would happen once a week. However, they never brought enough food for everyone. It was also hard to plan because sometimes, they would skip a week.

Jennifer Turpin’s younger sister, Jordan, joins the interview. Jordan describes what the food situation was like:

There was a lot of starving. I would have to figure out how to eat. I would either eat ketchup or mustard or ice.”

Turpin House of Terrors Jordan Turpin
YouTube ABC News Jordan Turpin

In 2010, they all moved to California. At this point, Louise Turpin filed documents to indicate that she was homeschooling her children. But, that wasn’t the case. Instead, they were coached to talk about what grade they should be in. The kids also did their best to teach each other.

Inspired by Justin Bieber, Jordan Turpin makes a plan

While the kids would secretly watch movies or listen to music, it wasn’t till 2015 that something resonated with them. Jordan Turpin somehow got a smartphone and discovered Justin Bieber’s music videos. Jordan explains:

I don’t know where we would be if we didn’t watch Justin Bieber. I started realizing that there is a different whole world out there… I wanted to experience that.”

Sadly, this discovery wasn’t without consequence. One of the other children told Louise Turpin what was going on. Jordan explains that her mother choked her as a consequence. She also shares:

I thought I was going to die that day. After that whole day happened, I kept having nightmares that… she was going to kill me.”

However, this didn’t deter Jordan from wanting to escape. Slowly, the young girl began to put a plan in place. Further fueling her desire, the fact some of her little sisters “had been chained to their beds for as long as four months,” reports ABC. 

Now or never

The escape plan took about two years. Jordan learned that she needed proof. With her brother’s deactivated cell phone and the cooperation of her chained sisters, she took their photos as proof.

Jennifer and Jordan’s parents had another plan. By this time, it was 2018, and the Turpins’ parents were planning another move. This time, the family was headed to Oklahoma. Jennifer describes this as a “now or never” moment.

So, Jordan escapes through a window, runs down the street, and calls 911. In under two hours, their parents were arrested.

What do you think about the “Turpin House Of Horror”? Please share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

Tune in to 20/20 tonight at 9 p.m. ET on ABC or stream the episode on Hulu. Make sure to come back to TV Shows Ace for more true crime television news.

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