Louise Turpin’s sister recently recounted her bizarre relationship with Louise in the years leading up to her arrest for allegedly abusing her 13 children.
Teresa Robinette decided to speak with the Oxygen network for “The Turpin 13: Family Secrets Exposed,” a documentary focusing on the child abuse case that grabbed international headlines. In it, Robinette explained that she was just as shocked as everyone else when the accusations came to light.
“I didn’t want people to think I had something to hide,” Robinette said of her decision to participate in the documentary, according to Fox News.
“If we didn’t come forward, people would have felt like we knew things and we were attempting to cover them up because I’m her sister… But there’s no way we would have stood for that. That’s why she distanced herself from us.”
Hosted by journalist Soledad O’Brien, the two-hour documentary, aired on Oxygen on Saturday, April 28. O’Brien highlighted several red flags involving Louise and David Turpin, who are accused of starving and abusing their 13 children.
Authorities said the Turpin children, who range in age from 2 to 29, have physical and cognitive impairments due to the years of neglect. The parents are also accused of limiting their children’s bathroom use and only permitting them to shower once a year.
Robinette said her sister began distancing herself from the family years earlier. She explained that they would video chat but, over time, the chats became further and further in between before they stopped altogether.
“I don’t even know if you can say any of us had a relationship with the children,” she explained. “You have to understand, I only met the four oldest children in person. The other children, I only met through video chat.
Along with Robinette, her half-brother reportedly tried to reach out to the Turpins but was met with a plethora of reasons for why they couldn’t see the children.
“[Louise] would always come up with an excuse that something happened, that she had a bad dream about the flight, one of the kids got sick,” Robinette said.
“She made up a big elaborate story about one of the girls who got into trouble with some friends one night, so she and David were aggravated… Everything she told us was a lie.”
Robinette went on to say that the last time she saw Louise was in 1997-98 and the last time she interacted with the children was in 2010. She claimed that 2010 was around the time Louise said she was cutting ties with the church. Investigators believe that 2010 is when the abuse began, she said.
Riverside police arrested the Turpins on January 15, after their 17-year-old daughter reportedly escaped from the Perris, California, home through a window and used a deactivated cell phone to call 911. The teen allegedly told officers that her parents were holding her and her 12 siblings captive and presented pictures that supported her story.
Robinette claimed that her ever-distant sister has called her several times since her arrest.
“I was really hoping she wouldn’t because I wasn’t planning on talking to her,” Robinette said.
“I’m still pretty mad. But I did accept one collect call from her. She called about a month ago. I did speak with her on the phone, but I just told her what I wanted to say. She’s tried to call me several times since then. I have not accepted them because I’m not paying to talk to her. I only wanted to pay for what I had to say to her.”
David and Louise have pleaded not guilty to multiple charges, including torture, assault, abuse of a dependent adult, child abuse, and false imprisonment. They remain jailed on $12 million bond each.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 14.
[Featured Image: Louise Turpin/Riverside County Sheriff’s Department]