Crime 13 Siblings Rescued From Prison Conditions at Home 3 Years Ago Feel 'Betrayed' By System
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Siblings from the Turpin family who were rescued from their home where they experienced prison-like conditions three years ago feel betrayed by the system that's supposed to help them.
Starvation, being shackled to their beds, and locked in their homes are just a few of the abuses that the 13 siblings faced while under the guardianship of their parents Louise and David Turpin. A social services system was charged with helping the siblings transition to new lives but has been found to failed by an investigation fromNews, The Associated Press reported.
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There are allegations claiming the Turpin siblings, consisting of seven adults and six minor children, didn't receive basic needs from the system. Riverside County has hired an independent law firm to investigate the claims.
Melissa Donaldson, Riverside County's director of victims services said several of the children "felt betrayed" by how local officials handle their cases. There were instances where there was neither a safe place for the children nor food, she said.
"When the case first broke, I obviously got thousands of offers of help ... dentists and doctors and people saying, 'I will serve these kids pro bono. Please, send them my way,'" she said. "I had to pass on those referrals to the Child Protective Services workers and the hospital. And none of them were utilized."
Some Turpin children still 'living in squalor' despite donations, pledges of support
Nearly four years after the 13 Turpin siblings were rescued from their abusive parents, an ABC News investigation finds that some of them continue to face hardships. Nearly four years ago, after authorities rescued the 13 Turpin siblings from their family home in Perris, California, where they were subjected to brutal violence and deprived of food, sleep, hygiene, education, and health care, advocates and county leaders assured the siblings -- and a concerned public -- that help was on the way.
Donaldson cried as she said the children were sometimes left alone to figure out how to go through the process. The reason she said she spoke out on the situation was "because we have to fix" the system.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
There also is a criminal investigation of a foster family suspected of mistreating several children, including one of the Turpins, ABC reported. A lawyer for that family denied the allegations.
The shocking abuse in the Turpin home went unnoticed in the community of Perris, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles, until then-17-year-old Jordan Turpin escaped from the house and called police. Jordan and one of her sisters gave their first media interview for a segment on Friday's episode of ABC's "20/20."
Now 21, Jordan recalled how she could barely press the buttons for 911 after escaping the house. She had never spoken to anybody before on the phone, she said, and was shaking.
Abused Turpin kids now 'betrayed' by social services system
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — The 13 Southern California siblings rescued three years ago from horribly abusive conditions that included being locked in their home for years, shackled to beds and starved by their parents have been failed at different points by a social services system that was supposed to help them transition to new lives, according to an investigation by ABC News. The network reported Friday that Riverside County has hired a private law firm to look into allegations that the adult and minor children haven't received many basic services.
Seeing her siblings suffering, she said she felt like she had to do something.
"I had to make sure that if I left we wouldn't go back, and we would get the help we needed," she said in a tearful interview. "Because if we went back, there's no way I would be sitting here right now."
When she escaped, Jordan told a sheriff's deputy that her sisters and brothers, who ranged in age from 2 to 29, had been starved, chained to beds and forced to live in squalor. The children slept during the day, were active a few hours at night and had minimal education.
Body-worn camera footage from the deputy who rescued the siblings shows him talking to Jordan, who nervously says she's never talked to anyone outside the home. When the deputy asked if she was taking any medication, Jordan said she didn't know what that word meant.
When the 13 siblings were rescued, all but the 2-year-old were severely underweight and hadn't bathed for months. Investigators concluded the youngest child was the only one not abused by their parents, who have since been sentenced to life in prison.
In the days after their release, the adult and minor children were taken to hospitals for treatment. Donations and support poured in from around the world.
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But since that time, the adult siblings have faced challenges accessing social services and even money that was donated for their care. The money was placed in a trust controlled by a court-appointed public guardian.
Joshua Turpin, 29, told ABC News he couldn't access funds to cover transportation needs and when he asked for help from the county's deputy public guardian assigned to his case, "she would just tell me, 'Just goit.'"
"I called the public guardian's office and she refused to let me request for a bike," he said.
In a statement, Riverside County Executive Officer Jeff Van Waganen said his office has hired a law firm run by former federal Judge Stephen G. Larson to analyze the services provided and the quality of care they received. A report is due by the end of March.
"The County of Riverside is committed to conducting a thorough and transparent review of the services provided to the Turpin siblings and to improve and strengthen the County's child welfare and dependent adult systems," the statement said.
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