Security footage of the moment children from the house of horrors were rescued has been revealed as more details about parents David and Louise Turpin come to light.
The footage shows the children walking around the family's white van after being rescued by police.
One of the older children is holding one of the younger ones before getting into a vehicle.
The footage has been released as reports surface Mr Turpin was a "cult leader".
A cult expert lawyer says the father was the leader of his own conservative Christian sect with a subservient wife and 13 children worshipping him in the house of horrors.
The claim surfaced as people searched for reasons why David and Louise Turpin allegedly chained and starved their family inside a suburban Californian home for years.
Neighbours in the Riverside community of Perris knew the family was abnormal.
All 13 children had names beginning with the letter "J", were thin, ghostly white and subservient to their parents.
If strangers spoke to them, they would not respond and often fled inside the house.
United States lawyer Ambrosio Rodriguez has prosecuted a similar case in which children were starved, beaten and either drugged or subdued.
He warned as more facts emerge the Turpin case "will only get more creepy".
He told The Sun that what motivated the Turpins to live a secluded life could lie in David Turpin's desire to be a "mythical leader".
Parents convicted in similar cases exerted control over their children though intimidation, psychological and physical coercion, and frequently possessed their own belief system, Rodriguez said.
"They develop a kind of cultish doomsday type of religion where the father becomes this mythical leader and the mother and children's duty is to serve the father," he said.
Rodriguez is an experienced sex crime, domestic violence and specialist family lawyer who worked for 13 years in Riverside, California.
He successfully prosecuted Jessica Banks, a pastor and mother, imprisoned for life for beating, starving and drugging her five adopted daughters, aged four to 11.
Banks was the pastor of the Word of Life Apostolic Church, and the girls were "homeschooled", but really kept locked up in Banks' unheated garage in Riverside County.
Similarly, the Turpin children were denied food, proper education, television, friends and access to the outside world.
"I've seen this movie before," Rodriguez said.
"It's going to get more creepy and make our skin crawl. And at the end of it, we're all going to be asking the same question: 'How did this happen in front of us and no one noticed?'."
The signs were there at previous addresses occupied by the Turpins, whose neighbour in the Californian suburb of Murrieta, Mike Clifford Jnr, said he saw the kids marching up and down inside their two-storey house.
He said they were moving "military style", late at night which made him think they were part of "some kind of cult".
"At night time all the kids would walk back and forth on the second storey," he told Sun Online.
"I'd never see them during the day except I saw two of the sisters go check the mail once."
Outside the tiny Texan town of Rio Vista, where the Turpins lived until 2010, one neighbour thought their house was a kind of cult centre.
"I thought it was like a religious compound over there," Shelli Vinyard told CBS 11.
When she asked one of the girls her name, the girl replied they weren't allowed to tell people their names.
After that, the children wouldn't play with Ms Vinyard's kids as they had previously.
Dr Allen Keller, who runs the Bellevue-New York University Centre for Survivors of Torture, said children like the Turpins would be almost powerless to defy their parents.
Individuals held under such conditions often become so physically and emotionally weak "that they are unable to free themselves, even if an opportunity arises", Keller said.
"The abuser has basically taken complete control of them. It is a state of severe helplessness."
Child trauma specialist psychiatrist Dr Bruce Perry praised the courage of the 17-year-old daughter who managed to escape and alert police on January 14, leading to her parents' arrest.
Perry led a team of therapists that interviewed surviving children from the Branch Davidian cult in Waco, Texas in 1993.
He said that failure to act on abuse was a coping mechanism, whether it be a response to off-colour jokes, sexual harassment or just staying in a bad marriage.
"This happens all the time," Perry said, adding that the courageous teenager had probably only broken free after several missed attempts which had made her work up the courage to act.
"The number of individuals who would immediately respond to an opportunity where they could get away is very small compared to the number of people who would have that paralysis and insecurity and confusion about what to do," he said.
"It's pretty remarkable that she'd do that ... the power that must have been exerted to keep an entire family like that for so long must have been pretty sophisticated."