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  • Writer's pictureMackenzie Mosieur

Deactivated Phone Saves 13 Siblings Being Held Hostage

Updated: Apr 14, 2020

As parents, it's your responsibility to care for and love your children. Unfortunately, we see that isn’t always the case in this world. David and Louise Turpin displayed this inhumane act of not caring for their children, when it was brought to light that they had been keeping their 13 children locked away in their home as prisoners. The couple beat and tortured the children, starved them, and left them chained to their beds for 20 hours a day. They were only allowed out of their room briefly to use the restroom, eat, and brush their teeth. They may have never been caught if it wasn’t for their 17-year-old daughter sneaking an old deactivated cell phone and making an escape through the window. On the phone with the 911 operator the young girl struggled to describe her location saying, “I’ve never been out.” The remaining siblings ranged from the ages 2-29 years old. She continued to describe some of the horrors that went on in the Turpin household, stating, “I can’t breathe because of how dirty the house is, we don’t take baths. I don’t know if we need to go to the doctor.” How heartbreaking to hear this kind of treatment inflicted on their own children.

When the police responded, one recalled that the 17 year old girl looked more like she was 10 years old. Due to malnutrition they were all very small. A medical director at Riverside University Health Systems tells us, “Children who have been malnourished over a prolonged period will have growth stunting.” She goes on to talk about the nutritional complications, and psychological damages resulting in this kind of abuse. No doubt the physical and psychological recovery will be a long road. Thankfully, David and Louise are facing the consequences of their horrendous actions.

Interviews with the neighbors reveal that no one had a clue this was going on. How lifesaving that deactivated cell phone proved to be for those 13 siblings! Who knows how much longer they would have had to endure this treatment if it wasn’t for this brave girl and that phone. The 911 Cell Phone Bank can’t stress enough the importance of an emergency line. As you can see, even when these phones are inactive they can save lives, in this case, 13 of them! If you or anyone you know is in need of an emergency phone, please contact us immediately. It can mean your life.

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