Turpin Sisters Who Escaped Calif. 'House of Horrors' Speak Out: 'Only Word I Know to Call It Is "Hell"'

The 13 Turpin siblings escaped their Perris, Calif., home in 2018

Two sisters from the Turpin family, who were tortured and imprisoned by their parents inside their California home for years before their 2018 escape, are speaking publicly for the first time on a new 20/20 special.

The 13 siblings, who ranged in age from 2 to 29 at the time they were rescued from what became known as the "House of Horrors," endured regular beatings, starvation and strangulation at the hands of their parents, which prosecutors described in court as "severe, pervasive, [and] prolonged."

They escaped the Perris home on Jan. 14, 2018, after their 17-year-old sibling called 911 and revealed the abuse, saying, "My two little sisters now are chained up."

In a 20/20 special airing Friday, Nov. 19 at 9:01 to 11 on ABC, the sibling who placed the 911 call, Jordan Turpin, speaks out alongside one of her sisters in an exclusive interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer.

In a trailer of the episode, which is shown below, Jordan chokes up while describing the terror of placing that call: "My whole body was shaking," she says. "I couldn't really dial 911 because…."

Explaining her decision to call authorities, Jordan tells Sawyer, "I think it was us coming close to death so many times."

She adds, "It was literally now or never."

Another Turpin sibling also speaks in the episode, saying of their living conditions, "The only word I know to call it is 'hell.'"

Diane Sawyer special event - The 'House of Horrors' Turpin siblings are speaking out in a new 20/20 special
The Turpin sisters speak to ABC's Diane Sawyer. Christina Ng/ABC News

The sister emphasizes the fortitude she and her siblings have shown: "They're strong. They're not broken. They've got this," she says.

Parents Get 25 Years to Life in Prison

In 2019, the Turpin parents, David and Louise Turpin, were sentenced to 25 years to life in prison after each pleaded guilty to 14 felony counts including cruelty to an adult dependent, child cruelty, torture and false imprisonment.

They are both eligible for parole in 22 years.

David and Louise Turpin.

Their children confronted them in court before they were sentenced. One daughter, identified in court as Jane Doe No. 4, told the packed courtroom that her parents had taken "my whole life away from me, but now I am taking it back."

She said she was in college, lived independently and had friends.

"I believe everything happens for a reason," she said. "I fought to become the person I am. I saw my dad change my mom. They almost changed me but I realized what was happening and I immediately did what I could to not become like them. I am a fighter. I am strong and I am shooting through life like a rocket."

The couple's son, Joshua, said he was studying software engineering at a nearby college and had recently learned how to ride a bike. But he told the court he still had nightmares.

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"I cannot describe in words what we went through growing up," he said. "Sometimes I still have nightmares of things that had happened — such as my siblings being chained up or beaten — but that is the past and this is now. I love my parents and have forgiven them for a lot of the things they did to us."

Before he was sentenced, David Turpin's attorney read a prepared statement from him, which said he "never intended for any harm to come to my children…. I hope the very best for my children in their future."

Louise Turpin, who read her statement in court, tearfully apologized.

The Turpin family
The Turpin family. David-Louis Turpin/Facebook

"I want to say I am sorry for everything I have done," she said. "I love my children so much… I pray for my children every day. I am truly sorry for everything I have done to hurt them. I love them more than they can ever imagine."

911 Call Leads to Escape

Jordan called 911 at 5:53 a.m, after she crawled through the window of her home to escape.

"I just ran away from home because I live in a family of 15 and we have abusing parents," she told the dispatcher.

The Turpin family
The Turpin family.

She added, "We live in filth," saying, "Sometimes I wake up and can't breathe because of how dirty the house is."

She used a deactivated cell phone to place the call, putting in motion a plan she and her sisters had devised more than two years before.

"Our parents don't let us move out," Jordan said. "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, Jordan 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," Jordan says. "I don't know anything about the streets or anything."

"Escape from a House of Horror - A Diane Sawyer Special Event" airs on 20/20 Friday, Nov. 19 (9:01-11:00 p.m. EST), on ABC.

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to http://www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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