As investigators continue to delve into the Turpin family, new details about the couple accused of abusing their 13 children are emerging. As People reports, 56-year-old David Turpin and 49-year-old Louise Turpin were married when she was just 16 and he was 23.
The two are believed to have grown up in Princeton, West Virginia. They wed in Pearisburg, Virginia, on Feb. 11, 1985, per the court clerk’s office in Giles County, Virginia. Louise’s half-brother Billy Lambert shares that she met her future husband in church and the two “ran away” to get married when she was a teen. They apparently returned back home when authorities found them. At that point, Louise's father signed off on the wedding and made it legal.
The Turpins lived in Texas and later California. Through the course of their 32 year-long marriage, they renewed their vows at least three times.This information was provided by an Elvis impersonator who officiated the renewal ceremonies.
Kent Ripley, the impersonator, spoke to People in light of allegations that the Turpins kept their kids hostage. “I definitely didn’t want people to think that I saw something and didn’t say something,” says Ripley. He first performed a marriage renewal ceremony on Oct. 29, 2011. The ceremony at the Elvis Chapel in Las Vegas featured the couple (the kids were not in attendance). Ripley sang “Love Me Tender” and then “Viva, Las Vegas.”
In 2013, he performed another ceremony in which their daughters were bridesmaids and flower girls while their sons wore suits. The family all sang "Hound Dog." Ripley says that the family seemed totally normal and loving, albeit noticeably big. “They didn’t stand out as a couple as being weird or odd,” he says. “In our profession, we see people, we talk to people all the time from all over the world. Why would these two people look any different or act any different?” Although the children were discovered last week by authorities as malnourished and weak, the impersonator says that they looked fine. “They didn’t appear to be unhealthy,” he says of the kids. “I saw a family that was growing up together, that probably didn’t have a lot of social interaction, but that’s not always a bad thing when the world has bad things.”
Video footage from the various renewal ceremonies has surfaced.
Following their capture last week, the Turpins were each charged with multiple felony counts of torture, child abuse, abuse of dependent adults and false imprisonment.The father was also charged with one count of a lewd act on a child by force. The couple has pled not guilty. If convicted, they face up to 94 years to life in prison.
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