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CTX neighbors remember infamous couple accused of torturing their children

David & Louise Turpin
Posted at 9:36 PM, Apr 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-27 01:35:48-04

HILL COUNTY, TX — You've no doubt heard the story about the Turpin family of California, where the parents chained their children to the bed, malnourished and beaten.

But did you know the family lived in Central Texas for years?

The family spent years in Texas where no one ever suspected them of the horrors they committed.

David and Louise Turpin faced a judge for the worst kind of child abuse imaginable.

The main witnesses were their children.

"My parents took my whole life from me," said one child.

It was a crime that may have started in a nice house on a lonely dirt road in Hill County.

Neighbors noticed something strange about the children, soon after they moved in, including a conversation with the Turpin's oldest daughter.

"She turned around and said we're not allowed to tell our names, but if you listen to what we're saying, you might be able to figure out what our names are," said Shelli Vineyard.

She thought the family was odd, but never saw enough of them to realize how they lived their lives.

Neighbors say the Turpins lived in the Hill County house for years until they trashed it. They then proceeded to bring in a double-wide, and trashed it.

Hill County sheriff's deputies only answered two calls at the house over the years.

One involved a dog bite, and the other was because a family pig got away and ate a neighbor's dog food.

After the Turpin's arrest in California, investigators traveled to Texas.

"It was just a matter of looking over the property. They did want to run some cadaver dogs on the property,” said chief deputy Scott Robinson.

The dogs, trained to sniff out dead bodies, didn't turn up anything, but neighbors described an abandoned house with howling dogs that brought them to investigate.

"It was pretty nasty. There were dirty diapers and the dogs they left inside were feeding off the trash," Vineyard recalled.

They also saw ropes tied to the beds and every storage space locked down, much like the Turpin's California home.

Suddenly, everything about this secretive family made sense.

"If you were to run into a situation like that today... I would know what I was looking at now, yeah," said Vineyard.

Finally caught, the Turpins offered an apology.

"Want to say again how truly sorry I am for everything I've done to hurt them and I love them more they ever could imagine," said Louise in court.

An apology their children seemed to ignore.

"Now, I'm taking my life, back," said one girl.

A judge sentenced David and Louise to life in prison, where neighbors say, they belong.

"Oh, I think they need to stay in, for life," Vineyard said.

Despite their difficulties, five of the Turpin children made it to college. One has a job in a bike shop.