David Allen and Louise Anna Turpin were arrested for child endangerment and torture when police found three out of 13 of their children shackled to furniture in their home. Kent Ripley, an Elvis impersonator and officiate, is telling all on his interaction with the children at the center of the twisted crime.
“I’m saddened and sickened,” Ripley told Radar. “You think you know people and something like this happens.”
Ripley officiated and performed at the couple’s vowel renewal ceremonies in 2011, 2013 and 2015 at A Elvis Chapel in Las Vegas. The children were present at the 2013 and 2015 events.
While Ripley found the family “unique,” he never noticed signs of abuse.
“They were quiet kids, but well behaved,” he said. “They didn’t seem afraid of doing anything out of line. They talked, smiled and laughed. They seemed to socialize with their siblings.”
As for the parents, he said they looked like people that “took care of their kids.”
“The parents never seemed to give the kids the evil eye or a dirty look,” he said. “The kids didn’t do anything that would’ve made them to do that. The kids didn’t seem uncomfortable or scared. They seemed like a happy and unique family.”
Although the children were skinny, Ripley never thought the parents starved the 13 children, who range from ages 2 to 29.
“There were receptions so there was cake and small snacks,” he explained. “I don’t think they scarfed down the food like they hadn’t eaten in months.”
He explained how he assumed the children were just “active.”
He admitted it was “a little strange” that all of the children wore the same clothes.
“If adults need help they need to ask for it,” he said. “It doesn’t make you less of a person by not asking for help. It makes you a better person. No one should treat anyone like that. You should treat your children with respect and care.”
On January 14, their 17-year-old daughter escaped from the home by climbing out of a window. She called 911 from a deactivated cell phone she found in the house of horrors. She told police her siblings “were being held against their will and some were being chained.”
During a press conference, Captain Greg Fellows said the Turpins are the “biological parents of all the children.” Although the investigation is in the early stages, they did not appear sexually abused.
“They described a foul smell inside the residence,” he said of the conditions of the home. “It was extremely dirty. Many of the children were malnourished.”
He continued, “When deputies went in, there were three individuals that were chained to some type of furniture in the residence.”
Seven of the adult children were admitted to the Corona Regional Medical Center.
“They’re stable and they’re being fed to try to reefed,” Mark Uffer, CEO of the Medical Center, said. “They’re comfortable and in a safe and stable environment. They’ve gone through a very traumatic ordeal. They’re very friendly, they’re very cooperative. They’re hopeful life will get better for them after this event.”
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