Jun 16, 2018

Sister: Perris torture case defendant’s journey to dark side included witchcraft

Sisters of Secrets: The Story of Sisters Leading Up to the Turpin Case Arrest

The Press-Enterprise
June 6, 2018

As a young girl, Elizabeth Robinette considered older sister Louise to be her best friend and protector. Even years later, as adults, Louise was emotionally and financially supportive as Elizabeth endured a difficult two-year separation from her husband.

But 10 years ago, Elizabeth noticed what she considered disturbing changes in Louise: She had begun drinking, smoking, partying, gambling excessively, cutting relatives off from her family, reading about Satanic religions and rituals and practicing witchcraft.

In Louise’s attempt to repair Elizabeth’s marriage, Louise said she could get Elizabeth’s husband to come home – by casting a spell, Elizabeth said.

That lifestyle change culminated in January 2018 with the arrests of Louise – now Louise Turpin, 49 – and husband David, 56, at their Perris home, where authorities said they starved, shackled and neglected 12 of their 13 children in a case being watched worldwide.

Elizabeth – now Elizabeth Flores – made these revelations in a just-published book, “Sisters of Secrets: The Story of Sisters Leading Up to the Turpin Case Arrest.”

The book had been in the works for two years and completed in the fall of 2017, Elizabeth wrote, but was pulled back from the publisher to be updated with more information about Louise.

Elizabeth said in “Sisters” that she wrote the book, quoting scripture extensively, to empower others to overcome adversity through faith, counseling and improving their self-esteem. Elizabeth wrote that she was sexually abused by an unspecified relative she called Papaw, lost a child to miscarriage, had a mother who prostituted herself and suffered through a rocky marriage that eventually was mended.

Elizabeth wrote that she didn’t notice anything specific that would explain the actions attributed to Louise and David by Riverside County prosecutors.

“The public has made comments that I should have seen something, but those two years of my marriage separation, I did see things. I saw a sister who stepped up to care for her sister and other children,” Elizabeth wrote.

None of Elizabeth’s’ statements about her sister could be confirmed or refuted. The Turpin’s legal team said it had not read the book and declined to comment or allow Louise to comment. Several family members of Louise and David did not respond to requests for comment on the book.
The Turpins are due back in court June 20 for a preliminary hearing, where a judge will determine whether there is enough evidence to hold them for trial. They have pleaded not guilty to a total of 92 felonies, including torture, child cruelty and false imprisonment. They are jailed in lieu of $12 million bail each.

A sister’s sacrifice

Elizabeth wrote that she remembered being abused by Papaw as young as 9. Sometimes, Louise would offer herself up in place of her younger sister.

One night, Louise, at age 16, confided to 8-year-old Elizabeth in their West Viriginia home that she was running away with 23-year-old David to get married. The next day, a tall man wearing a hat and fake facial hair checked Louise out of school. David and Louise drove away to Texas.

Years later, when Elizabeth was in college, she stayed with the Turpins one summer and noticed Louise was strict with the children.

Louise would set the table and call the children down one at a time. They would not eat until Louise gave them permission, and when they were done, Louise would tell them they could go back to their bedrooms.

“They were always stuck in their room,” Elizabeth wrote.

She wasn’t allowed to play with them. “She said she didn’t want my ways rubbing off on them because I didn’t believe the same as them,” Elizabeth wrote.

There were rules for Elizabeth, as well. She wasn’t allowed to have friends or give out the Turpins’ address and phone number. She could go only to work and back and had to be driven by Louise. She was kicked out after going to lunch with a coworker.

Loose with money

David and Louise enjoyed gambling, but David’s inability to pry Louise away from the Las Vegas tables and slots was a sore spot in their marriage, Flores wrote. Also, Louise would tell Elizabeth that whenever they planned to file for bankruptcy, she would first run up credit card bills that she knew they wouldn’t have to pay.

But then Louise would ask Elizabeth for money, saying she didn’t have enough to feed the children.

Around Louise’s 40th birthday, she and David went drinking and met a man who allowed himself to be videotaped having sex with Louise. David later watched the tape, Elizabeth wrote.

“I couldn’t figure out how David and Louise went from strong Christian backgrounds with morals and conscience to such an ugly, nasty and destructive lifestyle with no morals and conscience at all,” Elizabeth wrote.

Attorney for David Turpin of Perris torture case seeks dismissal of perjury charges

Louise continually denied Elizabeth’s requests to visit the family in Texas.

The girls’ father died in 2016. While on his deathbed, he asked to talk with Louise several times, but she wouldn’t take his calls.

“What I believe now is,” Elizabeth wrote, “she knew Daddy wanted to talk to the kids on Skype, and she didn’t want to have to tell him no.”

Louise didn’t attend the funeral. Her father was buried with family photos, including one of David and Louise’s 13 children.


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