Turpin siblings case: Independent investigation states ‘all too often the social services system failed them’

A new report released Friday details the findings of an independent investigation of Riverside County’s handling of the Turpin siblings who managed to escape a "House of Horrors," after suffering abuse and neglect for years.

Hilary Potashner, representing famed judge Stephen Larson and his law firm, was hired to complete the investigation. The findings were expected to be released in late May at the earlier due to the fact that the law firm faced numerous obstacles, which included getting. Records from probate and juvenile courts. In addition, Potashner said in late March that many of the county’s records of the Turpin case remained sealed, and it took numerous court appearances to get some of them released.

The assessment released Friday said in part:

"With respect to the Turpin siblings, we conclude there were many times over the last four years that they received the care they needed from the County. This was not always the case, however, and all too often the social services system failed them. Some of the younger Turpin children were placed with caregivers who were later charged with child abuse. Some of the older siblings experienced periods of housing instability and food insecurity as they transitioned to independence. Some of the Turpin siblings found it too difficult to access the funds intended for their use. Many were caught in the middle of confusing and complicated legal proceedings. When they complained about their circumstances, they often felt frustrated, unheard, and stifled by the system."


The investigation was launched in November 2021, when two of the Turpin siblings claimed on a national TV show that they were living in dangerous places and not given access to the large amounts of money raised by the public for their care. The investigation was to look not only into those allegations but into the system as a whole.

The 13 Turpin siblings were rescued from their home in 2018, after years of neglect at the hands of their parents, including being chained to their beds for months at a time. David and Louise Turpin pleaded guilty in 2019 to years of torturing and abusing 12 of the 13 children and have been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

In response to the report, Riverside County Supervisor Kevin Jeffries said the following in a newsletter:

"The long-awaited report on the County’s handling of the Turpin Children is finally going to be released and discussed at the BOS Meeting on July 12th. The Bad News: The Courts have ordered it redacted/censored to the point of uselessness to the general public. The Good News: County leaders are finally allowed to read the unredacted document and will be able to make changes (or continue changes) to improve our bureaucratic systems moving forward."