PERRIS, Cal. (ABC News) – A son and daughter of David and Louise Turpin spoke out in court for the first time Friday as their parents were sentenced for torturing and imprisoning them for years.
“Now I’m taking my life back,” a daughter — one of the Turpins’ 13 children — said in court. “I’m a fighter. I’m strong and I’m shooting through life like a rocket.”
“I’m in college now and living independently,” she said. “I love hanging out with my friends and life is great. I believe everything happens for a reason. Life may have been bad, but it made me strong. I fought to become the person I am.”
“I saw my dad change my mom,” she said, visibly shaking and clutching tissues. “They almost changed me.”
The Turpins abused 12 of their 13 children, including in some cases shackling them and beating them routinely, prosecutors said. They pleaded guilty in February to charges including torture and false imprisonment.
David and Louise Turpin were sentenced Friday to 25 years to life.
A Turpin son said in court Friday, “I cannot describe in words what we went through growing up. Sometimes I still have nightmares of things that had happened, such as my siblings being chained up or getting beaten. But that is the past and this is now.”
“I love my parents and have forgiven them for a lot of the things that they did to us,” he said. “I have learned so much and become very independent.”
He said he learned how to ride a bike, and since then he rides everywhere.
“I live in an apartment and go to a nearby college. I am getting a bachelor’s degree in software engineering, and after I get my bachelor’s degree I’m going to get a job as a software engineer and go to school part-time to get my master’s degree.”
That son also read a statement in court on behalf of one of his sisters: “I love both of my parents so much. Although it may not have been the best way of raising us, I’m glad that they did, because it made me the person I am today. I just want to thank them for teaching me about God and faith. I hope they never lose their faith.”
Louise Turpin’s lip quivered and both parents wiped tears from their eyes as the statement was read.
“I pray often for them,” that daughter’s statement continued. “I am doing well. I’m going to college full time. I have an apartment … we are not supposed to necessarily understand God’s will. But we are only to follow and to trust in him.”
A lawyer read a statement on behalf of another daughter who asked the court to remove the restraining order so she could visit her parents.
“I want the court to know our parents loved each other and loved each of their children,” the statement said. “I remember our mother sitting in her recliner saying, ‘she don’t know what to do.’ She didn’t want to use rope or chain, but was afraid her children were taking in too much sugar and caffeine. “
David Turpin said in a statement to the judge on Friday: “I never indented for any harm to come to my children. I’m sorry if I’ve done anything to cause them harm… I love my children and believe my children love me. …I hope the very best for my children in the future.”
Louise Turpin said in court, “I’m sorry for everything I’ve done to hurt my children. I love my children so much… I look forward to the day I can see them, hug them, and tell them I’m sorry.”
The couple was arrested in January 2018, after their 17-year-old daughter escaped their Perris, California, home and called 911.
The never-before-heard 911 call exclusively obtained this week by ABC News reveals that moment she turned her parents in.
“My parents are abusive,” the 17-year-old told the dispatcher. “My two little sisters right now are chained up right now… they’re chained up to their bed.”
The 17-year-old alleged that she and her siblings would be chained up for one or two months and only freed to brush their teeth or use the bathroom, an officer who interviewed the teen testified.
The teen said she and her siblings never ate breakfast and would only eat peanut butter, bologna, a frozen burrito or chips for lunch and dinner, the officer testified.
When rescued, all the children except for the youngest, a toddler, were severely malnourished, prosecutors said. The eldest victim — a 29-year-old woman — weighed only 82 pounds.
The 17-year-old Turpin daughter told the dispatcher that she and her siblings lived in filth and that she hadn’t bathed in nearly one year.
“Sometimes I wake up and I can’t breathe because how dirty the house is,” she said.
The teen said she hadn’t been to a doctor in five years and had never been to a dentist in her life.
The adult Turpin children are now healthy, their lawyer, Jack Osborn, told reporters Friday.
“All of them are doing really well physically,” Osborn said. “That’s a miracle.”
“They want to be normal adults — going to Target, going to baseball games,” he said. “We are confident — given what they’ve been through and how resilient that they are — that they’re going to be really successful.”