The world watched in horror as police discovered 13 children being held captive for years — some shackled to their beds, all covered in their own filth. Now, the minister who married the accused monster parents — David and Louise Turpin — over 30 years ago is speaking exclusively to radaronline.com.
Joe Ellison, Pastor of the Mount Hermon Baptist Church in Virginia, didn't realize he was the one who married the house of horror couple until he observed his signature on the marriage certificate obtained by Radar.
"I didn't know or remember that I married them because I married a lot of people from West Virginia," Ellison said. "They were there for just a short time. I talked to them a little bit, had a brief little ceremony and signed the papers for them and sent them on their way."
Ellison explained that people come to Virginia from all over the country because it is an easier process compared to the other states.
"For many decades before then, and still today, people come from all over the southern part of West Virginia to get married in Virginia, because their state requires blood tests and a three days waiting period, which Virginia does not," Ellison told Radar. "So the Turpins were simply one of those many couples I married this way. Many folks were doing this for their second marriage or for the ease of the process, or limited finances, etc. The Turpins were not local people or members of my church."
The couple married in February 13, 1985 when Louise was only 16-years-old and David was 23 — eight years her senior.
"Perhaps at the time I said 'oh c'mon, 16!' But if you make yourself available to married people like this, it happens," he said.
In regards to their shocking arrest, he explained, "Being complete strangers to me really, I was surprised. Just from the monstrosities of their actions, I was like 'are you kidding me? how can somebody do that?'"
In the latest court hearing that took place, Wednesday, January 24, David and Louise Turpin were ordered to ban communication with their children for the next three years. They have pleaded not guilty to torture charges and remain in jail on a $12 million bail each.