A former classmate of the oldest Turpin child said the girl was bullied in elementary school for smelling bad and was referred to as the “cootie kid” in third grade.
Authorities rescued 13 Turpin children, aged two through 29 years old, out of their home in Perris, Calif., on Jan. 14. Officials charged the parents, David and Louise Turpin, with 12 counts of torture, 12 counts of false imprisonment, seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult and six counts of child abuse or neglect.
Taha Muntajibuddin, a former classmate to Jennifer Turpin, said he is filled with “guilt and shame” after being complicit to bullying the girl in their Fort Worth, Texas, elementary school, reported the Daily Mail.
“Jennifer Turpin was the one girl at Meadowcreek Elementary that nobody wanted to be caught talking to,” Muntajibuddin wrote in a Facebook post Jan. 18.
“She was a frail girl, had pin-straight hair with bangs, and often wore the same purple outfit,” he wrote. “She was often made fun of by the other third graders because her clothes would sometimes look as though they had been dragged through the mud, which she would also smell like on most days. I distinctly remember my entire third-grade class scoffing at her one day because our teacher had asked her to discard a scrunchy she had used to tie her hair out of a discarded tin foil wrapper from an old Hershey’s bar.”
Authorities said that when the 29-year-old was rescued she appeared much younger and only weighed 82 pounds.
Muntajibuddin also posted a yearbook picture of himself and the Turpin girl.
“Of course, none of us are responsible for the events that ensued, but 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,” he wrote.
“Jennifer, despite being vehemently vilified by her peers, was still one of the most pleasant people I have had the opportunity to meet,” he added.
The 13 children are currently in the hospital. A 17-year-old daughter escaped through a window to use a deactivated cell phone to call 911 on the day of their rescue. The girl claims she planned her escape for over two years.
The parents are both being held on a $12 million bail. They will face their next hearing Feb. 23.
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