When Parents Decide A Nocturnal Lifestyle Is Best For Their 13 Children

Locked inside a normal-looking house of horrors

David Allen Turpin and his wife, Louise Anna Turpin with their 13 children — image from ABCnews

In January 2018, thirteen children were rescued from a family headed by David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin. The family was pretty much nocturnal. They did normal daily activities during the night and slept in the morning.

This habit stemmed from the parent’s fear of the world. And they literally passed it on to their children. They lived in seclusion from the rest of the world. The children were homeschooled, and the family formed their own religion.

As if that was not enough, the family’s children endured a lot of abuse at the hands of their parents. The children were malnourished and suffered severe development issues. All of them, aged from two to twenty-nine at the time of the rescue, were entirely dependent on their parents for survival.

A Couple With A Dark Distrust Of The World

David and Louise met at a church when they were around twenty-four and sixteen years respectively. Louise was brought up in a rigorous family that banned watching television, dating, and having friends. Despite that, David and Louise dated, and Louise’s mother knew about their relationship. She, however, hid it from her strict husband.

The two, David and Louise, got married at a small ceremony and relocated to Fort Worth, Texas. And, the couple shared very strange things in common. They always tried to hide from the world. They were afraid of everyone and didn’t fancy social interactions. They were paranoid about almost everything and trusted no one.

At one point in 1995, Louise’s sister, Elizabeth, lived with the family. At that time, the Turpins only had four children. And Louise’s sister described what she experienced during her stay as not normal. For instance, she noticed that the Turpins were extremely strict. The eldest daughter was treated in a very terrible way. She had to beg her parents for food, and she was always kept away from the family.

“She was kept in her room a lot and they would let her come down to eat meals. Before she sat down she had to get permission and she wasn’t allowed to talk to me without permission.” — Elizabeth

With time, the Turpins quit going to church because they couldn’t trust anyone anymore. Instead, they were experimenting with different religions and decided to make their own new hybrid religion.

In 1999, the family moved to Rio Vista. During that time, the family resorted to homeschooling their children. Their neighbors often noticed that there was something wrong going on in the Turpins household.

For example, the family never answered the door even though they would be home. Nocturnal became the family’s default. Neighbors noticed the Turpins children marching late at night back and forth in a “commanded” manner. In addition, the Turpins children did their house chores at night, and they participated in yard work in the early morning hours.

They Relocated and Abandoned Their Children

The children were beaten, locked up in a 35-square-foot cage, and sometimes locked in a dog kennel.

In 2006, when Louise had her twelfth child, she and her husband took their youngest two children and moved to a rented apartment forty miles away. They left their two oldest children in charge of the other children. This went on for almost four years.

The Turpins moved again to California in 2010. When the new owner moved into their old house in Rio Vista, he noticed scratches on the walls. He initially believed they were from animals but later suspected the Turpins’ children marked them. The old house also had feces on the walls and the smell of urine everywhere.

During their stay in California, the children were kept tied to their beds using chains and ropes for days up to months at a time. The children were not allowed to visit the bathroom. They would relieve themselves at the positions they were tied.

One Daughter Escaped and Saved The Others

On July 24th, 2018, one of the Turpins’ daughters managed to escape from the house. Equipped with an old cellphone, she called 911, which led to the immediate arrest of David and Louise.

When the Turpins’ children were discovered, they were severely malnourished. Most of the children appeared seven years younger than their actual age. It was discovered that the Turpin’s parents would put food in front of their children and order them not to eat it as a way of torture.

And, in addition, they had all been massively brainwashed and controlled all their lives to the extent that they largely depended on their parents. The Turpins’ children were afraid of the outside world.

The children’s parents would buy toys for the children but never allowed them to open them. The children rarely showered in their life( they showered once a year). The Turpins children had also never visited a doctor or a dentist their entire life.

The only thing that the children were allowed to do was write journals. And, from these, the police were able to discover a lot of details of what was happening behind the closed doors of the Turpins.


Upon rescue, the adult siblings were taken to Corona Regional Medical Center, and the rest of the children were taken to the pediatric unit at Riverside County. The children were later placed in two different foster homes.

David and Louise were charged with seventy-five counts that included torture, child abuse, and abuse of dependent adults. They were both sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after twenty-five years.

Ref: David and Louise Turpin, 60 Minutes Australia