On today’s episode, 5/01/2018, of True Crime Tuesday of Dr. Oz, he goes behind the scenes in an attempt to shed some light on the story that has America stunned. How could 13 children be held captive and abused in their home by their own parents for so many years?
Oz sent crime correspondent, Melissa Moore to Princeton, WV, the town where the Turpins met and both grew up. Moore took Louise’s sister [Elizabeth] and her cousin [Patricia] along and discussed their childhoods. The newspaper reporter [Greg Jordan] that has been covering the story there says the town is still in shock. Elizabeth remarked how Louise protected her and would cover her ears from the abuse of the fighting their parents did in front of them. Louise was raped by a family member when she was young and this was never dealt with. After Louise was married, their parents divorced and their mother turned to prostitution. Elizabeth said their entire childhood was one of shame and they were made fun of at school. She sat crying the entire episode saying, “I have very few good memories of our childhood.”
Elizabeth says the night before Louise left town she promised to buy nice things for her even though Louise was only 16 at the time. She seemed to be full of hope for a better future. Her cousin, Patricia, says she left town from the secrets of abuse. She felt Louise was running toward a new life to push the pain of the past away.
Elizabeth and Patricia took Moore to the original House of Terror where their grandparents had lived and where their grandmother walked in on their granddad raping Louise. He had also abused the cousins, and other family members. Their mother allowed it for money. Their granddad was at the house and everyone got very nervous about confronting their dark past. Patricia got out of the car and confronted him for 30 minutes but told him he would be accountable for everything he had done but she had to forgive him to move on with her life and to be able to help other women. She carried her Bible with her…saying she “armored up!” She asked him what he remembered and he said nothing and denied everything. When she got home, she decided to press charges because she felt she had to do this to get redemption for all those he had abused. She believes he knows.
Elizabeth said being just a few feet from the man that Louise had protected her from by giving herself, made her literally cringe. Her kids are not allowed to talk to him. In 2016 she was at her mom’s funeral. Louise was not there. Her granddad paid for the funeral. At the funeral, he asked her to come over later and give him a tight hug which was the cue she received as a child–to sexually abuse her.
Moore says she is still amazed at their bravery. Oz discussed with Brian Russell, PH.D. childhood abuse and how it can warp an adult’s sense of involvement with their own family. Everyone feels this surely added to Louise’s mental state but her own sister says, “I don’t know how she could have turned out this way. She always fought for the weak but how she could have harmed her own children….something terribly went wrong.” She read a story that she had written about how Louise had protected her so many times. Elizabeth says she visited Louise twice in prison and at first she denied the abuse but on the second visit she didn’t. Russell says denial is a part of memory suppression and even protecting the abuser but suggests Louise is not planning on using this in her own defense.
Sisters of Secrets– The life story of a Christ-following girl had been written. It was sent to the publisher just a week before the horrific event on January 15, 2018. Her story of surviving abuse, to holding fast to her faith, to be an overcomer was now forever changed. Her older sister, Louise Turpin, had been arrested on child abuse charges including shackling, starving, and torturing her own children. The case that shocked the world brought a flood of repressed memories to Elizabeth Flores, the sister of Louise Turpin. Her story now had to be infused with the secrets that started to come out. Secrets of a sisterhood. Secrets buried long ago that could no longer remain buried.
Dr. Oz has been intrigued with the story of the Turpin family and discussed the family’s take, and the progress of the children in pre-aired episodes. He continues to follow this story in hopes this will never happen to another innocent child again.
Photo courtesy of Oz.com