House of Horrors dad David Turpin kidnapped his tenth-grade sweetheart from her high school and took her on a wild 1,000-mile cross-country trip in a vain bid to elope.
He persuaded school employees in Princeton, West Virginia, to release 16-year-old Louise Robinette to him without her parents’ knowledge more than 30 years ago, two of Louise’s siblings have revealed exclusively to DailyMailTV.
And they got all the way to Texas before they were finally caught and returned home.
Louise’s younger sister and half-brother, Teresa Robinette and Billy Lambert, gave the full details of the twisted life of the California couple who have shocked America with the alleged years-long torture of their 13 children, who range in age from two to 29.
Authorities have charged the couple with 75 counts including torture, false imprisonment, child abuse and abuse of dependent adults. David Turpin, 57, also faces a charge of lewd acts with a minor. They are each being held on $13 million bail and deny all charges.
But both Billy and Teresa are adamant neither their sister nor her husband should ever see life outside prison walls again.
‘I hope they suffer as much, if not more, than those kids suffered,’ Teresa said in their extensive, exclusive joint interview.
‘I hope they torture my sister for the rest of her life.
‘I have four siblings now instead of five,’ she added. ‘She is off my family tree, she is dead to me. I couldn’t care less about speaking to Louise ever again.’
And Billy Lambert added: ‘I think they should get life. That’s not just spur-of-the-moment anger, I’m not changing that view.’
Teresa, 36, revealed how the marriage that for decades seemed so perfect, began in 1984. Her mother Phyllis had allowed 16-year-old Louise to date David even though he was eight years her senior.
But Phyllis Robinette was too scared to tell her preacher husband Wayne what was going on.
He only found out when David and Louise went missing and authorities at Princeton Senior High School were forced to admit that they had let David sign her out of school.
‘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.
‘They made it all the way to Texas before the police stopped them.’
Cops made 16-year-old Louise call home, Teresa recalled. ‘What was crazy was that after that my mom and dad sort of switched roles.
‘My mom, who had let them date, ended up being the one telling the police they had to send her home. She wanted her home right now, but my dad said, “No, she has made her choice, she should go off and live her life.”
‘He was angry at my mom for letting them date. He was so upset. He told her it was all her fault. He got on the phone and told Louise, “This is the life you want, you’re now an adult, I love you and I’ll always be your daddy, but now you can take care of yourself. If this is what you want, you go for it.”
‘So he let her marry him. 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.’
Teresa said her father’s anger at his wife welled up and within two years her parents had separated. Divorce followed and her father gave up his itinerant evangelical preaching.
‘He still went to church, he still lived for God, but he stopped preaching,’ she said. He went on to serve 26 years as chief deputy assessor for Mercer County, West Virginia.
Teresa was only three when her sister ran away. But the chaos that ensued is burned in her memory.
‘I remember my aunt crying and my grandma and my mom and my dad and my cousin Patricia and some other kids in our family, and we were all just crying,’ she said.
Louise’s attempted elopement and teenage wedding would not be the last time she broke her father’s heart. On his retirement in 2012, he told his local paper of his dream to go visit his daughter in California.
He wanted to go by train to replicate a trip his father had made in the 1940s. ‘[My dad] bragged on that trip the rest of his life,’ Robinette told the Princeton Times.
‘Getting to do the same thing would be pretty fun.’
But when he told Louise of his plan, she told him not to come, Teresa told DailyMailTV. ‘It really hurt him bad.’
Phyllis died in February 2016. Her ex-husband passed just three months later.
‘On their deathbeds both asked Louise to come to see them. She wouldn’t,’ said Teresa.
‘She didn’t show up to their funerals either. We told my mom she was coming and then we were at the hospital and me and my brother were getting ready to sign papers to take my mom off life support and I called her back and that’s when she told me she wasn’t going to be able to make it.
‘She said that they had prayed about it and she had a bad dream and she didn’t feel that she should make the trip.
‘Then when my dad died she said they couldn’t bring all the kids, and she didn’t want to make the trip because it was such short notice. David’s parents were at both funerals. Louise wasn’t at either one.’
Despite its rocky start, the marriage of David and Louise Turpin seemed perfect for years.
‘I just thought she had this richy life,’ Teresa said.
‘He earned good money. The day he came and picked her up from school, I was told he told her that if she would elope with him and marry him he would give her everything she ever wanted.
‘In the family, we always joked that Prince Charming had lived up to his end of the bargain.
‘She has the big house and she has all the cars and she didn’t have to work and she had the expensive clothes and purses and anything she wanted, so we thought she was living the high life.
‘I spoke to her about some financial problems I was having just six or seven months ago and she said to me several times that is one thing she could never understand.
‘She told me: “I can listen to you vent and I can let you vent but I will never understand it because we never had any money problems.”‘
What the family back east didn’t know was that the couple had lost one house to foreclosure and had declared bankruptcy in 2011. ‘We had no idea of any of this until last Sunday,’ said Teresa.
That was the day that police raided the couple’s four-bedroom house in Perris, California, and found many of the malnourished children shackled to their beds by chains, living in unimaginable filth.
Riverside County District Attorney Michael Hestrin alleged that the oldest child, a 29-year-old woman weighed just 82 lbs, and the 17-year-old who managed to escape and raise the alarm was initially mistaken for a 10-year-old.
Hestrin said the parents chained their offspring to their beds after they discovered one had previously tried to break out of the home on Muir Woods Road that the couple bought for $351,000 in 2014.
He said another child had planned to go with the 17-year-old but turned back because she was frightened of what her parents might do to them.
He said the youngest child, who was born a full decade after all the rest, was the only one that the Turpins did not starve.
And Teresa Robinette said her sister regularly sent her pictures of that little girl, but not the rest of her brood.
‘Last time I spoke to her on the phone was at Halloween,’ she said. Her sister told how she had gone trick-or-treating with the youngest.
‘I asked her why she didn’t take all of her kids. She said that they were older and had no interest in it.’
Billy, 30, a self-employed remodeler of mobile homes who lives in Hixson, Tennessee, said he was the last family member to speak to Louise. He had called her on Wednesday January 10, to talk about a possible trip out to California.
‘She told me she was getting ready to buy a school bus,’ he said.
‘Then she told me they wanted another child. I said are you serious? Why would you want another kid, haven’t you got enough? But she said: ‘Yes I want another child.’