15 Shocking Details Jordan Turpin — A Teen Who Was Held Captive For 17 Years Of Her Life — Revealed In A Recent Interview
This post contains mentions of child abuse and sexual assault.
In January 2018, teenage Jordan Turpin escaped her abusive home in the middle of the night, called the police, and rescued her 12 siblings who had been held captive by their parents for nearly 30 years.
The children were starved, beaten, and kept indoors by their parents, David and Louise Turpin.
Frederic J. Brown / AFP via Getty Images
Recently, Jordan Turpin (the sibling the police called) and older sister Jennifer sat down with Diane Sawyer on ABC's 20/20 to discuss their disturbing childhood and miraculous escape.
Here were some of the most shocking details the sisters shared:
1. Jordan Turpin had never spoken to anyone before the night she called 911.
"I tried calling 911, but I couldn't even get my thumb to press the buttons because I was shaking so badly," she recalls.
2. Before meeting the Rep. Anthony Colace, who was visiting that evening, Jordan had never spoken to a stranger before.
3. When she escaped, Jordan was afraid of being caught by her parents because "They would not care if they knew the police were coming. They would just kill them on the spot."
4. Jordan was once caught watching videos on the Internet and was choked to bed as a punishment. "I thought I was going to die," she said.
5. The family “lived in the dirt” until Jordan sometimes woke up breathing. The children never bathed either.
6. Parents bought tons of new kids' clothes and toys that went unused while the kids wore the same dirty outfits.
"They literally bought so many expensive clothes and toys and things that they would never use," explained Jennifer. "About a hundred different collector monopolies and something."
7. Turpin's mother, Louise, was only 16 when she married. The couple were deeply embedded in the Pentecostal community. They told people early on that God had called them to have as many children as possible.
Following her arrest, Louise's sisters announced that she had been sexually abused by a family member during her childhood.
8. Jordan had photos of her chained sisters on her cell phone and used them to convince the police officer that their story was true.
9. When the children were taken to the hospital, doctors found that they were so emaciated that they had "difficulty walking", "curvature of height", "nutritional deficiency heart damage" and more.
10. For years the children were only given leaves, grass, ketchup, mustard and ice cubes to eat while they lived alone in a trailer.
11. Parents often used the Bible to justify their abuse of children.
Jennifer said they told the kids that if they weren't listening, they had the "right to kill them".
12. Abuses included being thrown across the room, pushed down stairs, beaten with a belt or tent stick, and padlocked in dog houses.
13. The oldest Turpin child, Jennifer, attended school through third grade, but none of the other children ever went to school.
Instead, the parents registered the children at home. The children never received any proper education at home.
14. Jordan has a unique vocabulary and language pattern and had never heard of words like "medication" or "injury" before.
15.Jordan felt inspired to escape after secretly watching Justin Bieber videos on her brother's smartphone. The videos opened her eyes to how other children actually live.
"I realized there was another world out there," Jordan recalls. "I always thought, 'I want to be out there. I want to be like this. I want to experience that. I want to do this.'"
The full interview is now available on Hulu and the ABC website.
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