Disturbing details have emerged about two California parents who allegedly tortured and held their 13 children captive.
Allen Turpin, 57, and his wife, Louise Anna Turpin, 49 were arrested and charged with torture and child endangerment after police discovered the 13 children starving and chained to their beds on Sunday.
Louise’s sister, Elizabeth Jane Flores, told Good Morning America that she had stayed in the family’s four-bedroom home in Perris for two months when the parent's had just started their family.
“I was treated like one of the kids, kinda, so I had rules,” she alleged.
“I thought they were really strict but I didn’t see any type of abuse.
“Now that I’m an adult and I look back I see things I didn’t see then.”
Ms Flores also said her brother-in-law, David, would watch her while she showered.
“If I were to get in the shower, he would come in while I was in there and watch me,” she alleged. “It was like a joke. He never touched me or anything.”
Louise's other sister Teresa Robinette told NBC’s Today show that the siblings "weren’t allowed to watch TV. They weren’t allowed to talk on the phone, have friends over, stuff like that. Normal things that kids do".
According to a police statement, the Turpin children were allegedly kept in dirty and foul-smelling surroundings.
"Further investigation revealed several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings, but the parents were unable to immediately provide a logical reason why their children were restrained in that manner,” a police statement reads.
Police were alerted to the Turpin home after one of the children, a 17-year-old girl, allegedly escaped on Sunday morning and used a mobile phone she had found in the house to call authorities, The New York Times reports.
“Deputies located what they believed to be 12 children inside the house but were shocked to discover that seven of them were actually adults,” a police statement reads.
“The victims appeared to be malnourished and very dirty.”
According to The Guardian, some of the children were allegedly chained to beds. Police said some of the siblings told officers they were starving.
Images obtained from a Facebook page that appears to have been set up by the parents show the siblings dressed in matching outfits at a wedding and in Dr Seuss-style shirts.
Police are yet to provide a reason why the children were held captive or reveal how long they had been held. Neighbours have told local media that the Turpins rarely came outside.
David and Louise Turpin’s bail has been set at $13.1 million each; the couple is due in court on Thursday.