The sister of the house of horrors mother-of-13 has spoken out in a new documentary claiming she had no idea her nieces and nephews were being abused.
Teresa Robinette was stunned when she received a call, telling her that her sister and brother-in-law, Louise and David Turpin, had been arrested for keeping their malnourished children shackled in their Perris, California home, reports Daily Mail.
"I really felt like I was waiting to wake up," Robinette revealed on new documentary Oxygen, The Turpin 13: Family Secrets Exposed. "Like I was having a nightmare. For a long time, I kept saying I wanted to wake up. I felt like it wasn't real.
"I kept saying, 'Is this real news?' Then I just got mad. My next emotion was anger… And I'm still mad."
Robinette says that until that moment, she's always thought of Louise Turpin as a "good girl" who never drank, did drugs or smoked - and rarely even cussed, Fox reports.
She never for a moment considered that her sister could be capable of the horrific cruelty she is accused of.
But she does admit she always wondered why Louise had distanced herself from her family.
She said that she met the couple's four eldest children in person, the rest she only saw over video chat. And as the years went on, even that video chat contact dried up.
"I don't even know if you can say any of us had a relationship with the children," she said. "Never in a million years had we thought she was abusing the kids."
"I would speak to Louise for hours, but it's like the kids were never there. As the children grew older, I started questioning Louise about why they didn't have cell phones so we can stay in touch. Even when we video chat, it would be short, sweet conversations.
"It came to a point when eventually she stopped letting them all come together. She would send a couple ones in, then send them out, and then get a couple more to come in. It got really strange. Then she would just start making up excuses of why she couldn't video chat. She would say, 'David and I are just so busy with 13 kids, we will get to it this weekend.' And then it just never happened. Then seven to eight years passed, and we didn't video chat or anything."
Robinette said that she and her half-brother tried to make plans to come and visit Louise so they could get to know their nieces and nephews.
But somehow, those plans were always cancelled by their sister.
"She would always come up with an excuse that something happened, that she had a bad dream about the flight, one of the kids got sick. She made up a big elaborate story about one of the girls who got into trouble with some friends one night, so she and David were aggravated.
"Everything she told us was a lie."
Robinette said she saw Louise around 1997-1998, before Louise disappeared and cut herself off.
Robinette, who said Louise grew up in a religious household with a preacher for a father, said her sister also announced at that time that she and her husband were tired of church and were looking into Mormonism and witchcraft.
"In our minds, we just felt she got far away from God."
Investigators say the Turpins, who lived in Texas for 17 years, had moved to California in 2010.
The authorities were alerted when the couple's 17-year-old daughter managed to escape and call the police.
Officers arrived to find children shackled to furniture, a filthy house that stank of feces and malnourished and abused kids. Their 29-year-old daughter weighed just 82 pounds when they found her.
Prosecutors say the children were strangled, beaten and weren't even unshackled to use the bathroom.
The court heard they were only allowed to take one shower a year and when they were interviewed, many lacked basic knowledge such as what medication was.
David and Louise are currently being held on $12 million bail and face up to life in prison if found guilty of torture and child abuse.
Robinette said she had spoken to Louise just once since her arrest - where she says she was able to give her a piece of her mind. Since then, she's refused to pick up the collect calls from the prison.
She is now focused on connecting with her nieces and nephews, and hopes she may even be able to adopt them.
Robinette, who lives in Tennessee, says she is planning a trip to visit the children soon.
"They're doing great," said their aunt. "They're OK. For what they've been through, they're doing well. They're happy. As for me? I'm OK as long as they're OK."
The documentary, hosted by Soledad O'Brien, also features interviews with Robinette's half-brother Billy Lambert, some of the Turpin's neighbors, and experts.
Meanwhile, their other sister Elizabeth Jane Flores, 41, from Cleveland, Tennessee, who was the one to tell Robinette the tragic news, said she had suspected something was wrong.
"Something didn't seem right about her parenting but never would I have expected it to be like this," Flores told DailyMailTV.
"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. 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."
Flores, a mother of seven, says their parents had even flown out to visit the family but the Turpins would not give them an address.
"She never let us talk to her kids. She wouldn't even accept my Facebook request. We all wondered what was going on. My parents booked several flights to go see them but when they got there they wouldn't tell them where to go and my parents left crying every time.
"They died before they got to see them again. It's just heartbreaking and I'm so embarrassed about all of this."
David Turpin, 57, and Louise, 49, have pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of torture, child abuse, dependent adult abuse and false imprisonment dating.
It has emerged the 13 siblings rescued will not live together again, despite pleading with the authorities to stay as a family.
The six Turpin children among the 13 found shackled at their home in Perris have been told that they will be split up into two foster homes, unless they are adopted by their aunt.
Meanwhile the seven adults, who have developmental issues, will be sent to an assisted living facility, CBS News reported.