The grandfather of the 13 siblings who were allegedly abused and kept shackled to their beds says that he always thought his son, the father of the 13 kids, was a good dad.
"He was a fine person," James Turpin told the Bluefield Daily Telegraph from his home in Princeton, West Virginia. "He did an outstanding job and worked in school, and the last time we were out there was about six years ago. The kids were fine. They were healthy and nothing was wrong."
James said his son, David Turpin, and his wife Louise would take the kids on vacations to places like Las Vegas and send James and his wife, Betty, photos after the trips.
"I cannot understand," James Turpin said of the situation. "I'm going to talk to the kids as soon as they let me. I'm getting ready to make a call."
James and Betty also told ABC News that they were "surprised and shocked" to hear the news. They said they spoke to David once or twice a month, though had not visited their son or their grandchildren in four or five years.
On their last visit to Perris, about 27 miles south of San Bernardino, the grandparents said the children — ages 2 to 29 — "looked thin," but seemed like a "happy family."
David and Louise Turpin were arrested Monday on charges of suspicion of torture and child endangerment. Their 17-year-old daughter escaped from the house and dialed 911, telling police that her 12 siblings, ages 2-29, were being held captive by their parents and that some were locked to their beds by chains and padlocks.
James and wife Betty Turpin's lawyer released a statement that the couple had no idea how their son was treating their grandchildren.
David Turpin grew up in West Virginia but moved away after graduating from Virginia Tech, and all 13 were his biological kids with Louise, according to James.
Louise's sister Teresa Robinette said she knew David's history and that he "was raised in a very wealthy home, church." Louise's other sister, Elizabeth Jane Flores, said that she was not allowed to visit the family.
Flores told The Daily Mail, "Something didn't seem right about her parenting but never would I have expected it to be like this."
"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," Flores added. "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."
A former neighbor said the kids were forced to march around for hours in the middle of the night.
"I thought they were like a cult," said a man named Mike, who lived across the road from the allegedly abusive Turpin family in the town of Murrieta for several years before they moved in 2014.
"They would march back and forth on the second story at night. The light would be on the whole the time, and they would be marching the kids back and forth," Mike told the New York Post.
He said he'd often see the Turpin siblings being marched through the upstairs rooms between midnight and 3 a.m.0comments
James and Louise Turpin are charged with nine counts of torture and 10 counts of child endangerment. They are being held on $9 million bail each and are expected to appear in court Thursday.
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