The eldest of the 13 California siblings allegedly found tortured last week was relentlessly bullied when she attended grade school, according to a former classmate, but maintained a “whimsical optimism to her that couldn’t be dampened.”
Taha Muntajibuddin attended kindergarten through third grade with the now-29-year-old in Fort Worth, Texas. Taking to Facebook, Muntajibuddin said he felt an “overwhelming sense of guilt and shame” after learning of the Turpin’s story as he realized that his bullied classmate had nowhere where she could feel safe.
“Of course, none of us are responsible for the events that ensued, but you can’t help but feel rotten when the classmate your peers made fun of for ‘smelling like poop’ quite literally had to sit in her own waste because she was chained to her bed,” he wrote.
“It is nothing but sobering to know that the person who sat across from you at the lunch table went home to squalor and filth while you went home to a warm meal and a bedtime story.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Riverside County police arrested the woman’s parents, David and Louise Turpin, last week after her 17-year-old sister reportedly escaped the Perris, California, home through a window and called police from a deactivated cell phone.
The couple is accused of starving their children, in addition to shackling them to furniture and only allowing them to shower once a year.
Authorities said the Turpin children have suffered physical and cognitive impairments due to years of neglect. District Attorney Mike Hestrin noted that the 29-year-old victim weighed 82 pounds when she was rescued.
Now a doctor in Houston, Muntajibuddin said the eldest Turpin child was “frail” and that she was the designated “cootie kid” and and bullied over her dirty clothes.
Despite her terrible school life–and unthinkable home life–Muntajibuddin said the Turpin girl was “one of the most pleasant people” he has ever met.
“She had this whimsical optimism to her that couldn’t be dampened, couldn’t be doused no matter what anybody threw at her,” he recalled.
Meanwhile, David and Louise Turpin have pleaded not guilty to multiple charges, including torture, abuse of a dependent adult, child abuse, and false imprisonment. They are currently being held on $12 million bail.
[Featured Image:Turpin family/Facebook]