Parents David and Louise Turpin face life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years after pleading guilty to abuse
An audio tape has been released to the public of the 911 call made by a 17-year-old girl escaping her parents’ abuse in what became known as the California House of Horrors.
“My parents are abusive,” a girl tells the dispatcher, sounding much younger than her 17 years, in the voice recording obtained by ABC News. “My two little sisters right now are chained up … they’re chained up to their bed.”
The Turpin parents, who pleaded guilty in February to multiple felony counts including child cruelty, torture and false imprisonment, will be sentenced Friday in Riverside Superior Court. The two each face life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
At the time of the 911 call on January 14, 2018, their children ranged in age from 2 to 29.
“I live in a family of 15 people and our parents are abusive,” the 17-year-old girl tells the 911 operator after fleeing through a window of her family’s suburban Perris home, according to audio of the call that first was played in court in June 2018, as previously reported by PEOPLE.
“We live in filth,” the caller says in the recording. “Sometimes I wake up and can’t breathe because of how dirty the house is.”
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The girl’s sisters and one of her brothers were all chained to their beds, she says on the call, in response to the dispatcher’s questions.
“Our parents don’t let us move out,” the girl says. “Some of us have asked for jobs and they said that would never happen.”
Though she spoke in detail about life behind closed doors in the Turpin family, the girl seemed at a loss to answer basic questions about the wider world, such as where she lived. Instead she read her address from a piece of paper she carried with her.
“I haven’t been out. I don’t go out much,” the girl says. “I don’t know anything about the streets or anything.”
“I don’t know what medication is,” she says at one point, noting, “We don’t really do schools. I haven’t finished first grade and I am 17.”
Officers who responded to the call found a scene of squalor inside the Turpin residence, with some of the children chained to furniture. Prosecutors said the parents beat, strangled and starved the kids in an intensifying cycle of abuse dating back to at least 2010 when the family lived in Texas before moving to California.
Among other disturbing behavior, prosecutors alleged the children were forbidden to shower more than once a year and none had ever seen a dentist.
“This is among the worst, most aggravated child abuse cases I have ever seen,” Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said at a press conference after the parents’ guilty pleas were announced.
One reason his office pursued the plea agreement was to ensure the victims didn’t have to testify about the abuse they suffered, he said.
“We decided that the victims have endured enough torture and abuse,” he said. “I personally met with the victims and, rest assured, they all are relieved to know this case has been resolved. The defendants in this case essentially accepted the maximum punishment under current California law.”
In January, Jack Osborn, the attorney for the seven adult children told NBC that the siblings were “not bitter. They really take every day as it is, as a gift.”
Osborn said the children “came from a situation that seemed normal to them. And now they’re in a new normal. And so I think they may spend a long time processing the two.”