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26th Jan 2018

A classmate of one of the Turpin children has spoken out about her

They were rescued from the family home in California earlier this month.

Anna O'Rourke

A classmate of one of the Turpin children has spoken out about her

The story of the Turpin family is one of the saddest cases of child abuse to come to light in decades.

The thirteen children were rescued, and their parents arrested, after they were found in appalling conditions in the family home in Perris, California.

Aged between 2 and 29, but appearing lot younger due to malnourishment, the children were chained to beds.

They had been denied food and medical care and were subjected to regular punishments for acts including washing their hands above the wrist.

A classmate of one of the Turpin children has spoken out about her

Now a classmate has revealed that signs of the neglect the children suffered were there for years.

In an upsetting Facebook post, Taha Muntajibuddin, who was in school with Jennifer, spoke about what she was like.

“Jennifer Turpin was the one girl at Meadowcreek Elementary that nobody wanted to be caught talking to.

“Every grade level had a designated ‘cootie kid’ and she held the title for our year.

“She was a frail girl, had pin-straight hair with bangs, and often wore the same purple outfit. She was often made fun of by the other third graders because her clothes would sometimes look as though they had been dragged through mud, which she would also smell like on most days.”

Taha went on to say that long after they’d left school, he thought of her and went to look her up on social media but couldn’t find her.

A classmate of one of the Turpin children has spoken out about her

He thought she might be the sort who would, as an adult, be “living her best life, showing up all of us gawky third graders” and that she’d use the schoolyard insults as motivation to become successful later in life.

Those third graders couldn’t have imagined what life was actually like for Jennifer, he continued.

“You can’t help but feel rotten when the classmate your peers made fun of for ‘smelling like poop’ quite literally had to sit in her own waste because she was chained to her bed.

“It is nothing but sobering to know that the person who sat across from you at the lunch table went home to squalor and filth while you went home to a warm meal and a bedtime story.”

A classmate of one of the Turpin children has spoken out about her

Taha said that despite her horrific home life, Jennifer was “one of the most pleasant people I have had the opportunity to meet” and had a “whimsical optimism to her that couldn’t be dampened.”

“That cheerful disposition is what makes me certain that Jennifer will prevail. That one day, I’ll remember to Facebook stalk her, and see that she is living her best life.”

The lesson here, he concluded, is to teach our children to be kind and to look out for others who look isolated.

“A simple act of kindness and acceptance may be the ray of hope that that person needs. Befriend the Jennifer Turpins of the world.”

A classmate of one of the Turpin children has spoken out about her

The children’s parents, 56-year-old David and 49-year-old Louise Turpin, are accused of multiple counts of torture, false imprisonment and other charges against their children.

David was also charged with one count of a lewd act on a child by force.

They both deny all charges.

The couple were yesterday barred from contacting any of the children or coming within 100 yards of them for three years by a California judge.