Torturous abuse by Pentecostal parents -- and the daring escape that saved these sisters' lives
Jennifer and Jordan Turpin ABC News

Two sisters are telling their story after escaping years of sadistic abuse by their parents, who chained their children to beds for months at a time and denied them food, education and medical care.

Jennifer and Jordan Turpin told ABC News how their parents, David and Louise Turpin, abused them and their 11 siblings across multiple states and more than a decade, which they justified with Bible verses.

"They loved to point out things in Deuteronomy, saying that, 'We have the right to do this to you,'" said Jennifer Turpin, now 33, "that they had the right to even kill us if we didn't listen."

Jennifer, the eldest child, said she lived with her parents in a nice neighborhood in Fort Worth, Texas, where her father worked as an electrical engineer, but the house eventually became filled with trash and infested with mold, and her mother started having violent mood swings.

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"I never knew which side I was going to get of her," she said. "If I was going to ask her a question, [is] she going to call me stupid or something… and then yank me across the floor or [is] she going to be nice and answer my question."

Her parents, who were originally from West Virginia and grew up in the same conservative pentecostal church, pulled her out of school in third grade and moved the family several times to increasingly isolated properties in Texas before moving in 2010 to California, where David Turpin worked as an engineer for Northrop Grumman.

"There was a lot of starving," said Jordan Turpin, now 22. "I would have to figure out how to eat. I would either eat ketchup or mustard or ice."

Louise Turpin ran up massive credit card debts, according to bankruptcy documents, and the daughters said she bought children's clothes, games and toys but hoarded them and refused to let her children touch them, but they established a link to the outside world after their parents started leaving for long stretches of time but left a cell phone behind to bark instructions -- such as orders to lock up younger siblings in dog kennels.

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"You're torn, you don't know what to do," said Jennifer Turpin. "I was on the brink of suicide. I wanted to just end it all. All of my pain, everything."

The children secretly watched movies or listened to music on the flip phone, and Jordan Turpin eventually got hold of an old smartphone that she used to watch Justin Bieber videos and communicate with other fans, one of whom encouraged her to run away and report her parents to the police.

"I did tell him that I didn't really go to school, and I wasn't allowed to go in the backyard or front yard and that I'm always kept inside, and I told him how we eat and how we're not allowed to get out of bed," Jordan Turpin said. "He was like, 'This isn't right, you should call the cops' … I was so happy to hear him say that because I was like, 'I was right. I was right that this situation is bad.'"

Jordan Turpin slowly plotted her escape, and she finally slipped out a window in January 2018, a day before her family planned to move again, and called 911 -- and her parents were arrested within two hours.

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"I knew I would die if I got caught," Jordan Turpin said. "I think it was us coming so close to death so many times. If something happened to me, at least I died trying."

David and Louise Turpin pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including torture and false imprisonment, and were sentenced in 2019 to 25 years to life in prison, while Jordan Turpin received her high school diploma and is now taking college courses, and Jennifer Turpin is working at a restaurant and writing Christian pop songs.

"I'm so thankful just to walk… [to] take an hour-long walk with my music," Jennifer Turpin said. "These little things I think… are things that people take for granted."