David and Louise Turpin, who have been arrested for allegedly starving and abusing their 13 children, were reportedly planning to leave town hours after they were arrested.
An unnamed family friend told The Mirror that the Turpin family were preparing to abandon their California home of seven years.
“I saw them about 7 or 8pm on Saturday,” the source said.
“They said they needed to say ‘goodbye’ because they were getting ready to leave town.
“They didn’t say where or when they were going. I couldn’t believe it when I saw their pictures on the TV two nights later.”
Another source suggested the parents could have been planning something far more sinister, speculating if “the Turpins were saying goodbye for another city, or whether they were plotting to end their lives entirely”.
The news comes as a California judge has barred David and Louise Turpin of contacting their children for three years and keeping 90 metres away, the BBC reports.
The parents appeared in court on January 18 and plead not guilty to all charges. According to CBS News, they are facing 12 counts of torture, seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult, six counts of child abuse or neglect and 12 counts of false imprisonment. The father is also charged with one count of lewd act on a child.
Police discovered the Turpin children— aged 2 to 29—starving in their Californian after a 17-year-old girl managed to escape and call police.