Within just hours of their arrest, David and Louise Turpin were packing up all their belongings and planning an interstate move.
The couple, who have been arrested and charged with torturing 12 of their 13 children, were planning to move from California to Oklahoma.
According to multiple sources who spoke to America’s ABC News, David had secured a transfer to the midwestern state through his employer, defence contractor Northrop Grumman.
The couple had already begun packing when they were arrested on Sunday, January 14.
“There were boxes in the house consistent with moving — concentrated in hallways, entryway and bedrooms,” a source told ABC News.
Photos taken of the house also showed boxes and tubs piled up in the hallways as if ready to be moved.
Just 12 hours before their arrest, David, 57, and Louise, 49, said goodbye to their neighbours.
“I saw them about 7 or 8pm on Saturday,” an unnamed neighbour told The Mirror.
“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.”
However, the family’s move would never eventuate.
In the early hours of the next day, the couple’s 17-year-old daughter finally escaped the ‘house of horrors’ and called the authorities. It’s believed she used a disabled mobile phone to call emergency services after sneaking out of a window at her parents’ house.
It was just after 6am and “in her mind, she was risking her life,” one police source told The Mirror.
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The responding police officer thought she was a girl, 10 years old at most. She led him to the house where she and her 12 siblings had been held captive by their parents, starving, filthy and in “horrific” conditions.
Police found the girl’s siblings starved and “shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings”.
“The victims appeared to be malnourished and very dirty,” the statement from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office said, AAP reports.
David and Louise were arrested that morning. They both pleaded not guilty to 12 counts of torture, seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult, six counts of child abuse, and 12 counts of false imprisonment.
David also faces an additional charge of performing a lewd act on a child.
It’s not yet clear whether the impending move played a role in the daughter’s decision to finally seek help. The family had moved several times before, twice in Texas and once in California.