Seven of the ‘House of Horrors’ siblings finally left a hospital after two months of treatment, and received a very warm send off by the staff who had been caring for them.
David, 57, and Louise Turpin, 49, are accused of holding their 13 children essentially hostage, and malnourished them for years before a daughter escaped and called the police.
Since then the elder children of the bunch have been receiving treatment, and love, from the staff at the Corona Regional Medical Center.
In the two months, hospital staff nursed the children whose ages range from 18 to 29 back to health, introduced them to entertainment and new technology, and then threw them a lovely going away party.
‘It was emotional for the staff and emotional for them,’ Mark Uffer, the hospital’s chief executive officer told People. ‘This has been their home away from wherever they were at before, so it was a little bit tough for them and the staff.’
The seven siblings were taken Thursday to their new home in an undisclosed rural part of California. There, they have been reunited with their family’s dogs and are, for the first time in their lives, able to make decisions for themselves.
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Uffer says that the decision to move the children from the hospital was made by their lawyer, Jack Osborn, who has been appointed to represent their interests.
‘It was a very touching experience for all of the staff,’ Uffer says of treating the Turpin children — affectionately dubbed ‘The Magnificent 13’ by their supporters. ‘If you asked the nurses, they would all tell you it was a life-changing experience.’
The hospital planned a going away party for the siblings, who left last Thursday, and are now being housed in an undisclosed location.
‘We served them lunch and had cake for them,’ Uffer said. ‘The nurses that provided the care for them and the physicians that provided care for them actually got to spend time with them before they left.’
They had pizza and sandwich during the sweet farewell.
‘They got to sing on a karaoke machine — they love to sing and love to interact with people,’ Uffer says.
‘They can sense people that actually care for them so they were very attached. They were able to sing. It was like a birthday party environment. They made gifts for each one of us, little crafts for each one of us. They made bracelets out of beads that they gave to all the nurses. They had little scrapbooks that they wanted us to all write messages in before they left so they had something to remember us by.’
When the news broke of their parents arrests, donations poured in for the 13 Turpin kids.
‘We had a lot of donations of crafts — people sending PlayDoh and sent crayons and coloring books and things they could entertain themselves with,’ Uffer says.
‘There were beads with initials. They would take the stretchy twine they make bracelets out of and would make one for me saying, ‘Outstanding CEO’ or ‘Coolest CEO Ever,’ something like that. One of them had my initials on it. I have three or four bracelets they made me over the time they spent here. They gave them from their hearts … that is all they had to give.’
Uffer said he was disappointed the staff won’t be able to interact with their favorite patients now that they’ve left the hospital.
‘It is a little bit disturbing for us because again, they are so close to us and we are so close to them,’ he says.
‘We were hopeful we could do a transition with them and get them to their new place and wanted to send the nurses and therapists out to make sure ‘This is where you are going to be staying,’ ‘Here’s our phone numbers,’ ‘You can call us anytime,’ ‘We will call you once a week.’ But we have no idea where they are at.
‘From the environment they came from, they had become very attached to the nurses and me,’ Uffer reveals. ‘They truly loved the people they were interacting with over the last two months.’
Being under the care of the hospital was transformative for the siblings, but they seemed scared to go out into the world.
‘They were tearful and I think a little bit afraid but at the same time they were hopeful that the environment they were going to would allow them to get on with their lives,’ Uffer says.
‘We are hopeful that occurs. I told them we weren’t going to say goodbye — we are going to say ‘Until we meet again.’ We are hopeful it wasn’t a goodbye.’
It seems the siblings had grown particularly fond of Uffer specifically. W
He recalled coming back from a trip to a sweet surprise with sticky notes in his office.
‘The notes said things like they love us, they are going to miss us, thank you for caring for them,’ he says.
‘I have a picture with one of my horses and one of them wrote ‘Green Acres is the place for Mark Uffer. Cute little things like that. They do have good senses of humor. They are very loving — you can tell they are just hungry for attention. They realize when people generally care for them. They don’t embrace everybody the same way. It was a very select group of nurses and leadership that took care of them and they were very aware of that.’
Despite what they went through, Uffer said the children were charming and loving.
‘They were genuinely capable of feeling love and genuinely capable giving it back,’ Uffer says. ‘That is what is so heartbreaking. We only read what the parents allegedly did to them so when you see them and interact with them on a day-to-day basis, you find it really hard to understand how seven young adults and six children could have been so abused yet so capable of giving love back. The parents had to have had their heads screwed on backwards in order to treat these people that way.’
Meanwhile, their parents David and Louise are behind bars on charges including torture, child abuse, and false imprisonment.
and are enjoying the chance to pick their own bedding and have their own closet space
They have pleaded not guilty.
Now the seven siblings, who range in age from 18 to 29, are relishing the independence they have long been denied, according to their lawyer Jack Osborn.
The siblings, who are still under the state’s care, have been reunited with the family dog and are enjoying the chance to pick their own bedding and have their own closet space.
Other new experiences have included picking citrus, making ice cream sundaes with hot fudge, and preparing Mexican food.
It is a world away from the frozen food they were fed in the House of Horrors – if they were fed at all.
Authorities said the siblings were routinely starved by their parents. All children, except for a two-year-old toddler, were found severely malnourished.
The eldest of the siblings, a 29-year-old woman, weighed only 82lb when she was rescued by police.
They are now looking forward to reuniting with their younger siblings, who are currently being cared for in two foster homes.
Osborn said the older siblings are also hoping to become independent, getting their drivers licenses and eventually finding careers and spouses.
David and Louise Turpin were arrested in January after their 17-year-old daughter escaped from the family home in Perris, California, and called 911 on a deactivated cell phone.
Police discovered the 12 other siblings at the home amid the stench of human waste.
The couple are being held on $13million bail and, if convicted, they face up to life in prison.
Louise Turpin’s uncle, James Taylor, 67, spoke with DailyMail.com at his home in Princeton and said his family were blindsided by reports of the abuse that his great-nieces and nephews had suffered.
The victims, who range in age from two to 29 years old, were chained to their beds as punishment and weren’t even unshackled during bathroom trips, prosecutors said.
District Attorney Michael Hestrin revealed that the children were kept up all night and slept during the day in a suspected attempt to avoid any outsiders witnessing the abuse.
They were regularly beaten and occasionally strangled, he also alleged during a press conference in January.
None of the children have ever seen a dentist and none have seen a doctor for four years, Hestrin said.
Some of the children did not know what a police officer was when they were rescued and many are mentally impaired as a result of what prosecutors called ‘severe, prolonged and pervasive abuse’.
While the children starved, the parents bought food including pumpkin and apple pie and kept it out on worktops for them to look at and desire, Hestrin said.
According to Hestrin, the abuse began in 2010 and has intensified ever since. At the time, the parents would tie the children up as punishment with rope, he said.
When the children managed to escape, their parents moved on to using chains and padlocks.
‘Everybody is shocked that this even happened,’ Taylor said. ‘What made them do it? I wouldn’t treat an animal like that.’
Taylor said that it had been a ‘few years’ since Louise Turpin brought some of her children to West Virginia to meet family.
‘I haven’t seen her in so long, we lost contact. It was years ago that she lived here. She ran off with David and got married when she was 14 or 15,’ he said.
‘She didn’t even come to my mom and my sister’s funeral. I thought that was kind of strange. But if they had those kids all chained up that’s probably why they didn’t come.’
Taylor said that he was close to Louise’s mother, Phyllis Robinette, before she passed away in February 2016 at the age of 66.
Taylor said that he believed Louise spoke to her on a daily basis.
‘Phyllis planned on going down there [to California] but they kept making excuses. I see why now.’
Taylor said he was particularly shocked because he believed that David Turpin was educated and had a high-paying job, giving the impression that he was taking good care of his family.
The great-uncle said that he had not spoken to any of his great-nieces and nephews but was relieved to hear that they were being well cared for.
‘I had a hard time dealing with the details but then I saw on the news that they were getting money and clothes,’ he said. Fundraising efforts have netted hundreds of thousands of dollars for the siblings.
He said that the family, who still lived in West Virginia, would welcome the children with open arms should they ever want to visit.
‘I would love to see them,’ Taylor said.
James Turpin, the father of David Turpin, told DailyMail.com he has recently spoken to some of his grandchildren and said they are ‘doing just fine’.
Turpin, 84, who lives in the small town of Princeton, West Virginia, with his wife Betty, 81, said that he also hoped to visit his grandchildren in California.
As the adult siblings become accustomed to life on their own, their younger siblings are being introduced to experiences other children may take for granted – like toothbrushes, Harry Potter and iPads.
A preliminary hearing for the Turpins’ trial is set for May 14.
Evidence against the couple includes videos, audio recordings and physical evidence of the years of abuse.
Earlier this month it emerged that the 17-year-old girl who had escaped from the home had shared videos of herself singing on YouTube.
The teen, who posted the clips under an alias, revealed the squalid conditions inside the home as a result.
In one clip, obtained by GMA, a huge pile of dirty clothes are seen in the corner of the room.
She was also seen playing with two small dogs – which were found well-fed and in good health by rescuers, in stark contrast to the condition of the children.