Incredible CCTV footage has been released of the moment the Turpin children escaped the “house of horrors” in California last week.
In vision published this morning, the children are seen walking around the family’s silver van parked out front of their home.
Video shows one of the 13 children carrying a younger sibling, with another getting into the van.
Meanwhile, the sister of Louise Turpin, whose 13 children were allegedly shackled, tortured and starved, says Louise and husband David had begun experimenting sexually and with religion.
Teresa Robinette also told NBC presenter Megyn Kelly on the Megyn Kelly Today show that she, Louise and other family members had been sexually abused by a relative.
“That was a situation that was ongoing for me and my sisters,” Robinette told Kelly through tears.
The sisters used to be close, visiting and going to Disneyland, but in the past eight years, Louise would no longer allow Robinette to speak on Skype with the children, who are aged between two and 29.
Louise told Robinette she and David had stopped going to church and were also “sowing the wild oats they didn’t sow when they were younger” by starting to drink in bars while the oldest of their children looked after the youngest ones.
On one occasion Louise called Robinette to say she and David had met a man online, and the couple drove from Texas to Alabama to meet him in a motel, where Louise slept with him. Exactly a year later, the Turpins went back to the same hotel to sleep together in the same bed.
Robinette told Kelly of her nieces and nephews: “My main hope is that I can put my arm around them and just tell them that they have family that loves them that’s not deranged.”
However, she doesn’t plan to speak to her sister and brother-in-law, saying, “She and David are dead to me.”
David and Louise Turpin have pleaded not guilty in Riverside County, California, to multiple counts of torture, child abuse and false imprisonment. The couple moved to California from near Fort Worth, Texas, in 2011, but no reports about them were ever filed there.
A former neighbour in Rio Vista, Texas, tells the Los Angeles Times that the Turpins never socialised and rarely left their house. Ricky Vinyard says the Turpins kept lights on at all hours, blinds drawn. He says one Christmas they bought eight new children’s bicycles that sat outside, unused.
Since arresting David and Louise Turpin last week, authorities said they have learned the children were confined to the house, chained to furniture, starved and often deprived the use of a toilet. Some of the children were so detached they didn’t understand the concept of a police officer or medicine.
The Turpin siblings, seven adults and six children, will likely need years of therapy, psychological experts said.