House of Horrors Family Left Behind a 'Filthy' and 'Barracks'-like Home in Texas: Neighbors
David and Louise Turpin face numerous criminal charges in connection with what authorities have called the "depraved" treatment of their 13 children
Years before the Turpins were found in squalid conditions in a suburban home in Perris, California — with their children allegedly starved and held captive inside — the family lived in Rio Vista, Texas, and neighbors say they left behind similar “filth.”
One local resident who lived nearby says that after the Turpins were gone from their residence, following foreclosure, a startling amount of garbage was found in their wake. So too were the family pets.
“We open the door and the dogs came flying out,” neighbor Shelli Vinyard recalls to Soledad O’Brien in Oxygen’s upcoming The Turpin 13 special, which is exclusively previewed below.
“They had been living off the trash and dirty diapers that they’d left in the house to eat,” Vinyard says.
Her daughter, Ashley Vinyard, remembers a similar scene inside the home in Rio Vista. Amid the mess were apparent examples of how the family had maintained its isolation.
“The living room was set-up like a makeshift school, with a broken chalkboard set up against it and there wasn’t like crayons, there wasn’t coloring books, there wasn’t toys. It was just filth and trash,” Ashley says. “The carpet had been ripped up and plywood had been laid down and you could still see — even the plywood was stained and gross.”
Ashley continues in the clip: “The bedrooms where the kids were clearly living were set up I guess like bunks, just like a barrack[s]. Just one bunkbed right after the other right after the other, and in the other room it was the same way.”
Another Rio Vista neighbor previously told PEOPLE that he also saw troubling signs at the Turpin residence after they were gone, such as “padlocks on everything: the refrigerator, the closets, the toy boxes, the bathrooms. There were also ropes tied to the bed.”
Echoing a question that would make headlines in early 2018, Ashley wonders in The Turpin 13, “How could it go unnoticed when you foreclose on a property?”
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Eventually, Turpin parents David and Louise, 56 and 49, respectively, would be arrested on numerous criminal charges in connection with what authorities have called the “depraved” abuse and imprisonment — even torture — of their children.
The 13 Turpin kids ranged in age from 2 to 29 at the time of their parents’ arrest, which came after one of the teenage siblings fled through a window out of the house and called 911 early on Jan. 14.
Only the youngest child appears to have been somewhat spared the violence and extreme malnourishment, according to authorities.
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David and Louise have pleaded not guilty and one of their attorneys has publicly noted that both are presumed innocent until convicted. Beyond that, the defense has not commented specifically on the case to PEOPLE.
Last month, the seven adult Turpin siblings left the medical facility where they had been recovering for two months to move into an undisclosed location in California. (The status of the six younger kids, who were being treated in a separate facility, is less clear.)
“They are all bright and articulate and incredibly eager to study,” one of the adults’ attorneys told PEOPLE. “The thing they want more than anything else is an education.”
The Turpin 13: Family Secrets Exposed airs Saturday (6 p.m. ET) on Oxygen.