More details have been revealed about parents who were accused of abusing their 13 kids, keeping them shackled up in “foul” conditions in Southern California, according to the parents.
David Turpin’s parents James and Betty Turpin told ABC News that the parents thought that “God called on them” to have so many children.
The children were given “very strict homeschooling,” the grandparents said.
They said that David and Louise were members of the Pentecostal faith, but they didn’t go to a church in the area.
The grandparents, however, said that they are “surprised and shocked” at the allegations against them.
The grandparents added that the couple had no friends or community that they were aware of.
David, they said, worked as an engineer, having graduated from Virginia Tech.
Officials said on Monday, Jan. 15, that the couple abused their own progeny—ages 2 to 29—by withholding food and keeping them chained inside their dark and filthy Perris, California home.
Officials were alerted after their 17-year-old daughter escaped the home and called authorities via a cellphone.
David and Louise were arrested on torture and child-endangerment charges. They’re being held on $9 million bail each, according to local officials.
“Deputies located what they believed to be 12 children inside the house, but were shocked to discover that seven of them were actually adults,” police said in a statement. “The victims appeared to be malnourished and very dirty.”
The girl, who officers had initially thought was about 10 years old, contacted police on Sunday after escaping the one-story house, Reuters reported.
Neighbors said the Turpins and their children rarely emerged from their unkempt home in the new built development of closely spaced single-family houses.
Police said six of the couple’s children were minors, while the other seven were over 18.
The siblings told officers that they were starving and police did not give the parents’ motive for holding the children captive.
A Facebook page that appeared to have been created by the parents showed the couple dressed in wedding clothes, surrounded by 10 girls in matching purple plaid dresses and three male children in suits.
California state records list David Turpin as the principal of the Sandcastle Day School, with its address at the Turpin house, according to Reuters.
Records show the Turpins filed for bankruptcy in 2011. Nancy Trahan, who works in the Temecula, California, law office that handled the bankruptcy, said the couple were friendly and spoke highly of their children.
Reuters contributed to this report.