Turpins feared living in damaged apartments in ‘high risk’ neighborhood – San Bernardino Sun

Newly unsealed court documents reveal for the first time how some of the adult Turpin children wound up in such poor living conditions that Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin described them in a national television interview as “squalor” and “crime-ridden neighborhoods.”

Those adults, documents show, grudgingly accepted housing in an apartment complex they considered to be in bad condition and in a dangerous neighborhood. The documents did not name the location.

After the 13 children of David and Louise Turpin were rescued in January 2018 from their Perris home, where all but the youngest suffered years of physical abuse and neglect, the seven who were adults at the time went to live together in an undisclosed location. The six minors were placed in foster care, and now three members of a foster family stand accused of abusing several of those boys and girls.

Jack Osborn, the attorney appointed by the court to protect the interests of the seven adults under the conservatorship of the Riverside County Public Guardian, wrote in a Jan. 30, 2019, court filing that two weeks earlier, he learned from Jessica, Jennifer, Julianne, Joy, Jonathan, Joshua and Jeanetta that their lease was not being renewed. Deputy Public Guardian Vanessa Espinoza had told them they would be moving by Feb. 1.

Five of the Turpins were tasked with finding a new place, Osborn wrote. They found six apartments that they considered suitable, but Espinoza rejected them all, saying five were outside of Riverside County and the sixth cost too much.

“Espinoza reportedly then transported the three siblings to an apartment complex that she located and found to be suitable,” Osborn wrote. “The three siblings reported that the neighborhood appeared high risk, and the apartment that was shown (two bedroom) was in a state of disrepair.”

Espinoza couldn’t be reached for comment Friday, May 19. A spokesman for the Public Guardian, Robert Youssef, declined to answer questions, citing the investigation into the Turpins’ care.

Espinoza promised the Turpins that the apartment would be repaired, Osborn wrote. The Turpins told Osborn that they accepted the apartment with the expectation that other apartments would be considered.

But those visits never took place.

Jack Osborn, an attorney with Brown White & Osborn who represents the interests of the Turpin adults in their conservatorship case, wrote in a court filing that his clients grudgingly accepted what they considered substandard housing in 2019. (File photo by Brian Rokos, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

The same day that the rundown apartment was viewed, Espinoza completed the rental application and paid the security deposit, Osborn wrote. She rented a two-bedroom apartment for Joshua, Jennifer and Jeanetta and a one-bedroom apartment for Joy and Jessica. It was a “done deal,” Espinoza told them.

Joy and Jessica visited the apartment the next day and said the apartment rented for them was “in poor shape and required significant cleaning.”

Julianne and Jonathan would not be accompanying their siblings. Julianne had “special needs,” Osborn wrote, and that she would be placed in a board-and-care facility, as would Jonathan.

“While the (Turpins) are unhappy with the planned move into the apartment complex and the process undertaken, they are resigned to the choice made by the Public Guardian,” Osborn wrote. “In their view, cooperating with the Public Guardian will result in an earlier termination of the temporary conservatorship. However, each of the (Turpins) expressed grave concern and frustration regarding the planned separation of their family.”

Julianne objected to the plan as she wanted to live with at least two of her siblings, Osborn wrote. Julianne can perform many of the tasks of independent living, he wrote, and Joy and Jessica offered to assist her.

“The siblings assert that immediate separation from her brothers and sisters will continue the trauma that she has suffered. Julianne’s siblings further assert that throughout her life, no matter the hardship or abuse, it was Julianne who never complained and always followed the ‘rules’ of the house. Family members believe that this willingness to accept hardship has resulted in some significant developmental issues,” Osborn wrote.

Some of the Turpins were physically and cognitively stunted, county officials said, because of a diet that consisted largely of “freezer food” in once-a-day feedings and a lack of education.

Osborn, in a separate filing, initially objected to the new housing plan, but dropped that protest when the Public Guardian promised that Julianne would get to regularly visit her siblings.

No other documents addressed the move. It was unclear Friday, May 20, why the county objected to housing the Turpins in a different county, what authority Espinoza had to control the location and what the budget was for housing. Osborn could not be reached for comment Friday.

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