House of Horrors Husband Courted Wife When He Was a Teenager and She Was 10, Her Sister Says

Louise Turpin saw the much-older David as a way out of an allegedly abusive home life, her sister said

The relationship between David and Louise Turpin, the parents accused in the abuse and torture of their kids in a California house of horrors, began when the teenager David began courting his future teen bride when she was just 10 years old, her sister says.

“That’s when he says he had noticed her,” Elizabeth Flores, Louise Turpin’s younger sibling, said in a broadcast that aired Wednesday on The Dr. Oz Show. Louise is now 49 and David is 56.

“Louise said that she remembered him making passes at her as young as 10 years old,” said Flores.

“He started holding hands with her shortly after that, but I know by the age of 12, Louise had told my grandmother that she was going to marry him,” Flores added. “They officially started dating, to where my parents knew, at the age of 15.”


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Flores said David disguised himself and posed as Louise’s father to check his girlfriend out of high school before the pair ran away before being located and returned to Princeton, West Virginia.

They threatened to flee again until securing written permission from Louise’s father that allowed Louise to marry David at age 16, according to Flores.

“She told me the reason why they eloped was because she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that mommy and daddy would not allow her to marry him,” said Flores, who has written a new memoir, Sisters of Secrets, about the sisters’ upbringing in a setting that Flores portrays as abusive and examines the path to Louise’s criminal charges alongside her husband.

The Turpins have pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of torture, child abuse and false imprisonment of their kids after their emaciated 17-year-old daughter fled through a window of the family’s suburban Perris, California, home on Jan. 14 and called 911.

The girl told authorities, who allegedly found some of the children chained to furniture and soiled from their own waste, that she and her 12 siblings — then ages 2 to 29 — had been held captive and subject to starvation and beatings by their parents.

David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin
From left: David and Louise Turpi. Riverside County Sheriff's Department (2)

“It’s just hard to fathom,” Flores told PEOPLE about the allegations against the couple. “You don’t want to believe that your sister would torture anybody.”

David and Louise’s Parents Were ‘Close Friends’: Sister

On Dr. Oz, Flores said: “My parents and [David’s] parents were really, really, really close friends, best friends. He probably actually held her as a baby. I remember David talking about the first time he was interested or had feelings for Louise was when Louise was 10 years old, so it made David 17.”

Flores said that young Louise saw David as her ticket out of their environment when the two were dating, and then were married.

“He was going to be an engineer and he was going to make over a hundred thousand a year,” she said. “She was going to have a really big, nice house. She was going to have everything she ever dreamed of … because of the money, because that’s all she talked about.”

With David and Louise jailed on $9 million bond each, their seven adult children moved together in March to a shared house, each with their own room, in an undisclosed location after leaving a medical center where the siblings had been receiving care, the children’s attorney, Jack Osborn, said recently.

“They’re joyful, warm, considerate,” Osborn told ABC News. “It’s fun to be around them. Of course, they’re really full of joy about their life and the things they get to experience right now.”

The parents face life in prison if convicted of the crimes against their children.

Relatives say David understands the seriousness of the allegations but that Louise seems in denial, showing zero remorse for her alleged crimes.

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