The siblings, who ranged in age from 2 to 29 at the time of their 2018 rescue, lived off of bologna and peanut butter sandwiches while their parents ate take out. They weren’t allowed to exercise and were forbidden to socialize with each other — and when they were caught trying to take food, they were chained to their filthy beds.
But in the early morning hours of Jan. 14, 2018, two of the Turpin siblings decided to escape their Perris house. One went first, and two minutes later, the other followed. One got lost and returned to the house, but the other called 911 — bringing the police and ultimately, freedom.
Now, more than two years later, with their parents imprisoned after pleading guilty in 2019 to multiple felony counts including torture and false imprisonment, the Turpin siblings have new lives and are looking forward to their futures.
“They’re all happy,” Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Kevin Beecham tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “They are moving on with their lives.”
One sibling has graduated from college, and several go to school and have jobs.
“Some of them are living independently, living in their own apartment, and have jobs and are going to school. Some volunteer in the community. They go to church,” says Beecham.
For more on how the Turpin children are taking back their lives, subscribe now to PEOPLE or pick up this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday.
The six youngest siblings have been adopted and are adjusting well.
“The younger ones didn’t have as many years of abuse and neglect, so they are able to rebound a little better,” he says.
Other siblings, he says, are in group homes.
“They are receiving really good help,” he says. “With therapy, counseling and a lot of psychological assistance, they’re exponentially in a better place than they were before.”
Beecham says all 13 siblings see each other regularly. “They still meet with each other, all 13 of them, so they’ll meet somewhere kind of discreet,” he says.
Some of the siblings have even changed their names.
“It would be difficult for them to carry that name, that label of being a victim, forever,” he says.
Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
But, Beecham, who worked closely with the siblings and saw them twice a month when he was preparing a case against their parents, says the siblings still live with the memories of their abuse.
“They still can’t look at peanut butter or bologna,” he says. “I made the mistake of mentioning peanut butter during one of our meet-and-greets, and one of the girls almost threw up. And when they’re at the grocery store, they can’t look at peanut butter. They can’t even go down the aisle where there’s peanut butter.”
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.