‘My sisters are chained’: Chilling 911 call
The contents of the chilling 911 call made by the 17-year-old daughter about the Turpin parents' years of torture and abuse of their 13 captive children has finally been revealed.
The brave and desperate act by the teenager to blow the lid off Louise and David Turpin's house of horrors can be heard in a 20-minute conversation with an emergency call dispatcher.
The never-before-heard call was obtained by ABC News America ahead of the Turpin couple's sentencing on Friday, Californian time.
The teenager, who with one other sibling had planned their escape for two years, jumped from a window of the family home and made the call from a deactivated mobile phone.
"My parents are abusive," the 17-year-old girl says, "my two little sisters right now are chained up right now … they're chained up to their bed."
She further tells the dispatcher she hasn't bathed in almost a year, she and her siblings live in filth, she has never been to a dentist and hadn't seen a doctor in five years.
The Turpin sibling made the call in January 2018 after escaping from the Turpin home in Perris, 110km southeast of Los Angeles.
Police arrested Louise, 50, and David, 57, and charged them with 14 felony counts of abusing and imprisoning 12 of their 13 children.
The siblings, aged between two years and 29 when freed and taken into care, were malnourished, dirty and lacked basic knowledge about medication, the police and the outside world.
The parents pleaded guilty to torture, cruelty to an adult dependent, child cruelty and false imprisonment, and are expected to be jailed for up to 25 years or life.
In the 911 audio, the Turpin teenager struggles to tell the dispatcher her address because she's "never been out".
"I don't go out much so I don't know anything about the streets or anything," she says.
The call begins with her explaining, "OK, I live in a family of 15 people and my parents are abusive.
"They abuse us and my two little sisters right now are chained up. There's 13 kids and then a mother and a father."
Asked if any of the brothers and sisters would need to go to hospital, she replied, "I'm not sure. Sometimes we live in filth.
"And sometimes I wake up and I can't breathe because how dirty the house is."
In response to a question about who was on medication, she says, "oh I don't know what medication is".
"When was the last time you had a bath?" the dispatcher asks.
"I don't know, almost a year ago," the girl replies. "But sometimes I feel so dirty, I wash my face and I wash my hair."
She also says the siblings' purported home schooling is a sham.
"I haven't finished first grade and I'm 17," she says.
"Our mother tells people we're home schooled … she has a fake private school set up but we don't really do school."
She reveals she doesn't know much about her mother other than "she doesn't like us".
"She doesn't spend time with us ever," the girl says.
Twenty minutes after the call, Riverside County Sheriff's Department deputies met the 17-year-old and then converged on the house.
They found the children dirty and so severely underweight they assumed all were minors, although in fact seven were legally adults.
The teenager revealed they never had breakfast, and only ate peanut butter, bologna sausage, and frozen burritos or chips for lunch or dinner.
The eldest, aged 29, weighed just 37kg.
The siblings told police they had been starved and put in cages, and moved around at night so neighbours were largely unaware of their appearance.
Family photographs of the 15 Turpins at Disneyland and in Las Vegas show them clean and smiling in matching outfits, but these were for show and belie the daily reality of their lives.
Since the bombshell phone call by the Turpin girl, who is now legally an adult, the children were hospitalised.
The adult children have since been living together, attending school, adjusting to normal life and gaining weight.
After Louise and David Turpin's guilty plea in February, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said the couple should die in jail.
"Unless a parole board … decides they should be released, they will serve the rest of their life in prison," Mr Hestrin said.
He described the Turpins' abuse as "among the worst, most aggravated child abuse cases that I have ever seen".