Youngest Turpin Siblings Detail Alleged Abuse in Foster Care

They claim in suit they were forced to overeat and then eat their own vomit
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2022 9:10 AM CDT
Updated Jul 20, 2022 10:00 AM CDT
Tortured Turpin Siblings Suffered Again After Rescue: Report
A police car drives past the home of David and Louise Turpin, where police arrested the couple accused of holding 13 children captive on Jan. 24, 2018, in Perris, Calif.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

Update: The six youngest Turpin siblings have sued Riverside County and foster care agency ChildNet, alleging that in the years after their 2018 rescue from their parents' Perris, Calif., home, they were subjected to "severe abuse and neglect" while in foster care. The suit claims the foster family they were placed with hit them (including with a belt) and forced them to overeat and then consume "their own vomit"; it also alleges that the foster father fondled them, reports ABC News. The siblings claim they told officials what was happening but weren't removed from the home, and that the county and ChildNet didn't report the alleged abuse to authorities. Two of the six siblings have aged out of foster care, and the remaining four are together in a new home. Our original story from July 13 follows:

After enduring years of torture and abuse, the 13 Turpin siblings of California's Riverside County were victimized again through the child welfare system, according to a report released Friday and presented at a public hearing Tuesday, where attendees voiced their fury. They accused officials of a "total lack of leadership" and one called on county supervisor Karen Spiegel to resign, per ABC News. Another wondered, "How many more children will be hurt or killed?" District Attorney Mike Hestrin told ABC last year that the victims of perhaps the worst case of child abuse in California history, rescued in 2018, were "living in squalor" in "crime-ridden neighborhoods" and were unable to access money set aside for their education. The county then hired a law firm to investigate.

The resulting 634-page report from a team led by former US District Judge Stephen G. Larson, who spent eight months looking into their experience, describes how the siblings suffered in an underfunded and short-staffed social services system—the Children's Services Division has a 40% vacancy rate, per ABC—with a lack of suitable foster families. Indeed, two of the Turpin siblings found themselves in the hands of an alleged abuser. Prosecutors have said the two girls were fondled and kissed by their foster father, Marcelino Olguin, who's alleged to have physically assaulted other children. He, his wife, and their adult daughter are all facing charges. A foster parent told another girl that she understood why her parents chained her up, ABC reported, per People.

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The outlet also described how the siblings, who spent most of their lives indoors, weren't taught basic lessons, like how to safely cross a street. "All too often the social services system failed them," the report reads, per the AP, noting "some of the older siblings experienced periods of housing instability and food insecurity." And "when they complained about their circumstances, they often felt frustrated, unheard, and stifled by the system." The report also notes the county's public guardian office only recently sought to obtain more than $1 million donated for the children. Riverside County says it's "committed to finding innovative solutions and implementing recommendations." Larson said Tuesday that "the situation was improving" before the investigation wrapped up. (More child abuse stories.)

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