SALT LAKE CITY — Elizabeth Smart responded to the shocking abuse case out of California this week, saying she doesn’t feel the suspects “deserve the title of parent” and encouraging empathy toward the victims.
David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, were booked into jail on suspicion of torture and child endangerment after their 13 children were found in a home in California in horrific conditions.
The siblings range in ages from 2 to 29 and were filthy and malnourished when found, and some were, “shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks,” according to police.
Smart posted about the case Wednesday ahead of an appearance on Good Morning America, saying she is deeply disturbed and heartbroken for the 13 victims.
She also spoke about the suspects: “I don’t feel they deserve the title of parent. Parents are people who love you, protect you, fight for you until the bitter end.”
As for the 17-year-old girl who escaped and went for help, Smart said the teen is a brave and courageous hero.
Smart also shared a message for those watching and reading the coverage of the case, encouraging them to have more empathy for the victims and ending with a message of support for the siblings.
“And for everyone watching or reading about their story before you ask the question that begins with the words, “why didn’t you…” STOP. Victims rarely if ever hear the question, they hear “you should have…” “you didn’t try hard enough…” none of us have the right to be a backseat driver here and say what they should have done, or what you would have done. The truth is simple…they SURVIVED, and none of us know what “we would have done…” because none of us are them. To those brave siblings know that there are many prayers being said for you from Utah.”
The full post from Smart is embedded below: