The sister of Louise Turpin, who, along with husband David Turpin, allegedly kept 13 of their children shackled in a dingy California home, has spoken out.
Elizabeth Jane Flores, 41, from Cleveland, Tennessee, told the Daily Mail that she hasn’t seen her sister in 19 years, but they still kept in touch by telephone. Turpin refused to invite her over to their home and never allowed her to speak to her nephews and nieces.
“Something didn’t seem right about her parenting but never would I have expected it to be like this,” she said.
She said, “We have been so worried about them because it’s been so strange but there was nothing we could do. They wouldn’t let anyone visit and we didn’t know their address. I haven’t seen her in 19 years. We would talk on the phone from time to time, but every time I would ask to talk to her kids, she wouldn’t let me.”
Flores said their parents had flown out to visit their family but Louise wouldn’t give them their address.
“She never let us talk to her kids. She wouldn’t even accept my Facebook request. We all wondered what was going on. My parents booked several flights to go see them but when they got there they wouldn’t tell them where to go and my parents left crying every time. They died before they got to see them again. It’s just heartbreaking and I’m so embarrassed about all of this,” she said.
Louise and David Turpin were arrested and charged with child endangerment and torture on Sunday when their 17-year-old daughter, whom officials thought was only 10, escaped their Perris, California, home and contacted authorities, according to police. They’re now being held on $9 million bail each.
The 13 kids were aged 2 to 29. They were taken to a hospital and were given food and drink.
The children were, as police said, “shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings.”
“The victims appeared to be malnourished and very dirty,” a news release from police said.
Flores, who is an author and Christian motivational speaker, said she was a victim of child abuse, but she never mentioned her sister, according to the Mail.
Neighbors, meanwhile, revealed that the kids rarely left the home. When they did, the children appeared pale and acted in an odd manner.
“Why don’t we ever see the kids?” Kimberly Milligan, 50, who lives across the street from the family, said she asked herself, according to Reuters. “In hindsight, we would have never thought this. But there were red flags. You never don’t hear or see nine kids.”
Police are due to hold a news conference at 10 a.m. PST on Tuesday, Jan. 16, about the case.
Reuters contributed to this report.