The grandmother of the 13 siblings who were allegedly starved, tortured and held captive in their parents’ California home is speaking out. Betty Turpin is in “total shock” after her 57-year-old son David Turpin has been arrested, and could now face torture charges along with his 49-year old wife Louise Turpin.
“We don’t believe anything until we find definite proof,” Betty Turpin, 81, told TIME. “It’s just a one-sided story. You can’t always go with that.”
Over the weekend, a 17-year-old girl escaped from her Perris, California home to report horrific abuse that she and her 12 siblings were enduring. Police found her siblings, some of them allegedly shackled to furniture. The 13 victims, ranging in age from 2 to 29, were found so severely malnourished to the point that even the adults looked like children.
Betty's not buying it. She’s defending her son.
“He’s very likable,” she said. “Raised in a Christian home all his life. Gone to church all his life.”
She called her son a college-educated man who was raised well.
She also said he and his wife were a “highly respectable family,” in an interview with CNN. In that interview, she said that David and Louise were very protective of their kids.
"They all dressed alike when they went out," she said, adding that the parents would line the children up by age. One parent would stand in the front of the line, and one at the back for "protective reasons,” according to the children’s grandmother.
The parents are being held on $9 million bail apiece. It is unclear if they have obtained attorneys who can speak on their behalf yet.