House of horrors father David Turpin kidnapped his wife Louise as a 16-year-old to force her into marrying him and took her across state lines before she was ordered back home.

Then called Louise Robinette, she was a 10th grader at Princeton Senior High School in West Virginia when she met 24-year-old David Turpin.

But the family believed Turpin was a "Prince Charming" who lured Louise away with the promise of a rich and "perfect" life.

Prosecutors said the 17-year-old girl that escaped 'had been working on a plan with her siblings to escape this abuse for more than two years'. Photo / Supplied
Prosecutors said the 17-year-old girl that escaped 'had been working on a plan with her siblings to escape this abuse for more than two years'. Photo / Supplied

Louise did everything to keep her family at a distance, discouraging visits from her parents and maintaining the facade that she had a wealthy existence and wanted for nothing.

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The arrest of Louise and David Turpin for allegedly torturing, chaining and holding captive their 13 children in a suburban Californian home has astonished and horrified Louise's family.

They have revealed that the 17-year-old who escaped from the Turpin house to alert police of the siblings' captivity was only a year older than when her mother ran away.

Louise was the eldest of three daughters to Wal-Mart clerk and church singer Phyllis and her preacher husband Wayne Robinette.

In old photos of her not long before she was willingly kidnapped, or eloped with David Turpin, Louise was a slight girl with big brown eyes.

In one particular photo, Louise bears an uncanny resemblance to two of 10 daughters and three sons she had with Turpin.

Back when she was growing up with two younger sisters, Elizabeth and Teresa, in Princeton.

David Turpin was a computer engineering student at nearby Virginia Tech university.

Teresa, now aged 36, told the Daily Mail that back in 1984, oddly for a devout Pentecostal family, Louise was allowed a secret liaison with Turpin, eight years her senior.

Teresa said it was her mother Phyllis who gave the nod to the union, but kept it from husband Wayne.

"My mum allowed Louise to date David secretly because she loved him and he was from a Christian family and she trusted Louise," Teresa said.

The secret was blown apart when David turned up at Louise's school in his car and signed her out and they "ran away" to Texas.

After a 1600km road trip, police caught up with the pair and made Louise phone home and Phyllis insisted she return immediately.

Wayne Robinette was angry the relationship had been kept secret from him, but told Louise she had made her decision and was "now an adult".

Louise and David were married in a small family church wedding.

Phyllis and Wayne Robinette's marriage did not survive, and Phyllis went on to have three more children, Billy Lambert and Alene and McCeary Lee.

Alene told news.com.au that she knew little of Louise's life because she had gone away so young. Louise and David went off after their marriage to live in Texas. Their two eldest children, Jessica and Joshua, were born in the late 1980s.

Teresa said her father Wayne gave up evangelical preaching, and worked as a draftsman, county surveyor and assessor for Mercy County, around Princeton.

From the distance of Louise's family, her marriage to David Turpin seemed "perfect".

The couple lived outside Fort Worth and in the tiny town of Rio Vista in Texas.

Father Wayne Robinette, centre, was angry the relationship had been kept secret from him, but told Louise, far right, she had made her decision and was
Father Wayne Robinette, centre, was angry the relationship had been kept secret from him, but told Louise, far right, she had made her decision and was "now an adult". Photo / Supplied

More children were born and Teresa says she believed they lived a comfortable life and wanted for nothing.

David Turpin worked for aerospace and defence technology company Lockheed Martin, which has a major aeronautics division in Fort Worth.

He left in 2010, but also twice worked as a computer engineer for Northrop Grumman, which is the world's fifth largest defence contractor.

'WE THOUGHT SHE WAS LIVING THE HIGH LIFE'

Teresa Robinette, who was three years old when her sister eloped with Turpin, believed Louise had a "richy life".

"I was told [David Turpin] told her that if she would elope with him and marry him he would give her everything she ever wanted.

"In the family, we always joked that Prince Charming had lived up to his end of the bargain.

"She has the big house and she has all the cars and she didn't have to work and she had the expensive clothes and purses and anything she wanted, so we thought she was living the high life."

Filth left by the Turpins inside one of the homes they occupied in Texas. Photo / CBS11
Filth left by the Turpins inside one of the homes they occupied in Texas. Photo / CBS11

Louise went to lengths to conceal that everything was not ideal.

David Turpin filed for bankruptcy in 2011, and the bank foreclosed on one of the Texas houses they lived in.

The couple had credit card debts and left the state of Texas owing medical expenses.

Two houses in Texas showed signs of the Turpins caging up their children: scratch marks on the walls and vents in the closets which may have been used to lock up individuals.

Reports that Louise Turpin dreamt of becoming a TV reality star like Kate Gosselin of the show Kate Plus 8 are the reason given for them leaving Texas for California.

But apart from moving closer to Hollywood, the couple might have been escaping debts and the ugly truth about what went on inside their home.

One of the Texas houses was left piled high with rubbish and hoarded goods.

The Turpins had never paid for their children to go to the dentist, or in the last four years to see a doctor.

The Turpins had never paid for their children to go to the dentist, or in the last four years to see a doctor. Photo / via Facebook
The Turpins had never paid for their children to go to the dentist, or in the last four years to see a doctor. Photo / via Facebook

With David Turpin as the self-appointed principal of their home schooling operation, Sandcastle Day School, they were unsupervised and accountable to no one.

But the children did not appear to do much schooling and despite the parents' massive video collection, were not allowed to watch TV, or enjoy more than one daily meal.

Louise kept up the veneer of success and respectability, however.

Teresa told the Daily Mail that as recently as the middle of last year, she revealed her own financial problems to Louise, who responded that she could not understand that.

"She told me: 'I can listen to you vent and I can let you vent but I will never understand it because we never had any money problems'."

Louise also deflected any plans to visit.

Wayne Robinette was reportedly very hurt after his 2012 retirement when Louise turned down his offer to take a train trip and visit her.

When Louise's 12th child was born in 2015, she posted a photo of the little girl on Facebook.

Louise's mother Phyllis responded on September 4, 2015: "She is so precious and so cute. I love you all."

Phyllis then added another post: "Would love to come and see you all."

Phyllis never made the trip.

Five months later, she was dead. Louise failed to attend her mother's funeral and then her father's when he died in May 2016.

Billy Lambert revealed that Louise called him to find out if there was any possible inheritance money due to her.

Another solution to the Turpins' secret money problems, Mr Lambert says, was for Louise to have a 14th child and get a TV show.

Louise Turpin revealed this to Mr Lambert via Skype days before her January 14 arrest, but would always make up an excuse why the kids could not come to the computer.

"She thought the world would be fascinated by their lives," he told express.co.uk.

"They thought it would make them millions and household names.

"They didn't care about the kids — it was all about them."

Riverside County District Attorney alleged that the oldest child, a 29-year-old woman weighed just 37kg. Photo / Supplied
Riverside County District Attorney alleged that the oldest child, a 29-year-old woman weighed just 37kg. Photo / Supplied

At some point, the Turpins had begun tying up their children as punishment.

When one of them made a failed attempt to escape, the couple employed chains and padlocks to restrain them.

Two Sundays ago, the Turpins' 17-year-old daughter carried out a plan two years in the making and escaped from a window of their Perris, Riverside County house and used a deactivated phone to call police.

Authorities have charged the couple with 75 counts including torture, false imprisonment, child abuse and abuse of dependent adults.

David Turpin, 57, also faces a charge of lewd acts with a minor.

The pair are being held in Robert Presley Detention Center, 95km east of Los Angeles, on $13 million bail each.

Both have denied all the charges against them.