His parents, James and Betty Turpin, told ABC News that their son had become a computer engineer upon graduating from university. The 1984 Bugle yearbook lists him as a senior electrical engineering major, and as a member of the electrical and computer engineering honor society, Eta Kappa Nu.
David and Louise Turpin eloped when the patriarch was 24 years old and his wife 16. He had convinced her Princeton, West Virginia high school to let him sign Louise out and the two made it all the way to Texas before Phyllis Robinette and her husband Wayne’s police complaints forced the couple back home.
David Turpin, 2018.
Louise’s father was a preacher and oddly enough, his motivation to bring her back stemmed entirely from the urge to have a proper ceremony, The Daily Mail reported. The 1,000-mile cross-country trip came to a close with David and Louise getting married back in Princeton in 1984.
“My mom allowed Louise to date David secretly because she loved him and he was from a Christian family and she trusted Louise,” said Teresa. “But she was doing it behind my dad’s back — he wasn’t aware that they were dating — and then one day, David went into the high school and they let him sign Louise out of school and they ran away. He had his car and they drove.”
Teresa recalled that this was the first time she ever noted her parents switching sides — her father wasn’t outraged, rather, told his wife that they should let their 16-year-old daughter live the life she seemingly wanted. He was, however, angry at his wife.
“So he let her marry him,” said Teresa. “They came back to Princeton and had a small intimate church wedding, just the two families. Then they went back to Texas to start their lives together.”
When Louise’s father retired in 2012 he wanted to come to visit her, but Louise told him not to. There was clearly a lasting rift between Louise and her parents, presumably from the trust being broken so viciously, and early on in her life.
David and Louise Turpin had already been living in Perris, California for decades when Phyllis died in February 2016. Her father died three months after that. “On their deathbeds, both asked Louise to come to see them,” said Teresa. “She wouldn’t. She didn’t show up to their funerals.”
David Turpin did attend both ceremonies, however.
Though David was quite successful both academically and professionally, things began to sour for him as a husband.
A 2011 bankruptcy filing for $240,000 in credit card debt reflected either shoddy accounting, a lack of professional opportunities, or increased detachment from the world. In conjunction with the disturbing household revelations, of course, all of the above may have begun to seep in.
The bankruptcy documents listed his income as an engineer at Northrup Grumman, another upper league defense corporation, at $140,000 per year. He was also listed as the principal of the Sandcastle Day School — which he operated out of his home, for 13 children.
His wife, meanwhile, was listed as a “homemaker” with the Perris residence and its function as a school serving as the hub of her educational role to the 13 students. This sordid lifestyle for the Turpin family continued for years until one winter day in January of 2018, their 17-year-old daughter finally blew the whistle.
Imprisonment For The Parents
David and Louise Turpin pleaded guilty to 14 felony charges in order to avoid a trial on Feb. 22, 2019. These included one count of torture, four counts of false imprisonment, six counts of cruelty to adult dependents, and three counts of willful child cruelty, The Los Angeles Times reported.
With their sentencing expected on April 25, the parents were eager to avoid having their children testify in court. In comparison to what the Turpin parents inflicted on their kids, of course, appearing in court might’ve been a relatively minor inconvenience for the Turpin children.
Prosecutors described how thoroughly the Turpin children were traumatized and that their cognitive impairment and nerve damage will likely affect them for the rest of their lives.
“This is among the worst, most aggravated child abuse cases that I have ever seen or been involved in in my career as a prosecutor,” said Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin. “Part of what went into the decision-making in this agreement and this sentence is that the victims in this case would not ultimately have to testify.”
Hestrin notified the Turpin children that they would not, in fact, have to testify. “It was a very good day for them to be all together,” Hestrin added.
While David and Louise Turpin are expected to be sentenced to life in prison and it can’t be easy for any child to see that, the newly-liberated Turpin children seem to be on a promising new path of physical and psychological recovery.
“I was very taken by them — by their optimism, by their hope for the future,” said Hestrin. “They have a zest for life and huge smiles. I’m optimistic for them, and I think that’s how they feel about their future.”
Jack Osborn, an attorney who represents the Turpin kids, said that they’re “not really looking back now. They’re looking forward. Working on school, working on their health and working on learning and doing basic life skills.”
“They are all working toward their own independence,” he said. “They don’t want their identity to people who they meet to be one of being a victim and of having to relive this trauma every time they meet somebody. They want people to know them for who they are and what they are going to be doing.”
After this look at the Turpin family, read about Marcus Wesson, the man who turned his family into an incestuous cult and killed nine of his children. Then, read up on Sally Horner who was kidnapped and held captive, and probably inspired ‘Lolita.’