From New York Times bestselling true crime author John Glatt comes the devastating story of the Turpins: a seemingly normal family whose dark secrets would shock and captivate the world.
On January 14, 2018, a seventeen-year-old girl climbed out of the window of her Perris, California home and dialed 911 on a borrowed cell phone. Struggling to stay calm, she told the operator that she and her 12 siblings—ranging in age from 2 to 29—were being abused by their parents. When the dispatcher asked for her address, the girl hesitated. “I’ve never been out,” she stammered.
To their family, neighbors, and online friends, Louise and David Turpin presented a picture of domestic bliss: dressing their thirteen children in matching outfits and buying them expensive gifts. But what police discovered when they entered the Turpin family home would eclipse the most shocking child abuse cases in history. For years, David and Louise had kept their children in increasing isolation, trapping them in a sinister world of torture, fear, and near starvation.
In the first major account of the case, investigative journalist John Glatt delves into the disturbing details and recounts the bravery of the thirteen siblings in the face of unimaginable horror.
On a January day in 2018, an emaciated teenage girl in Perris, Calif., escaped from the home where she and her 12 siblings were cruelly and systematically abused. Writing in a candid, unemotional prose style, bestseller Glatt (The Lost Girls) tells the devastating story of Louise and David Turpin, who, following their daughter's 911 call, were charged with numerous counts of torture, imprisonment, and "willful child cruelty" inflicted against their children, who ranged in age from two to 29. Glatt unflinchingly details the victims' home circumstances, including being chained to their beds, beaten, starved, and deprived of contact with the outside world. Unsettlingly, the Turpins behaved in a normal, at times lighthearted way in front of outsiders; the children's experiences beyond the confines of home were restricted to bizarre family trips to Disneyland and to Las Vegas, where the couple routinely renewed their wedding vows. Whatever initial empathy one may feel for Louise victimized herself as a child dissipates as the narrative becomes less a depiction of traumatic reenactment and more an exploration of senseless depravity. This chilling portrayal of abuse and secrecy may leave readers looking differently at their neighbors.