Shackled kids were going to move to Oklahoma 'within days' of parents' arrest
District Attorney Michael Hestrin speaks on charges against David and Louise Turpin, who are accused of abusing 13 children, in January 2018.
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — Thirteen malnourished siblings were rescued from their Perris home just days before their parents planned to move the family to Oklahoma.
Multiple sources told ABC News that the Turpin family was moving "within days" of the Jan. 14 discovery that led to the arrests of David and Louise Turpin.
“There were boxes in the house consistent with moving — concentrated in hallways, entryway and bedrooms,” a source told ABC News.
Sources said David Turpin had received a transfer through his employer, defense contractor Northrop Grumann. The relocation would have been the latest move for the family, who spent about 10 years in a small Texas community before moving to Murrieta and then Perris.
The parents were arrested on suspicion of child abuse and torture after one of their children, a 17-year-old girl, escaped through a window and alerted police. The escape had been planned for two years, officials said, but it wasn't clear if it was expedited because the family was preparing to relocate.
Authorities say the siblings, who range in age from 2 to 29, were beaten, choked, starved and punished by being chained up for weeks or months at a time.
David Turpin also is charged with one count of lewd conduct with a child and the parents pleaded not guilty to all accusations. Both suspects are being held in lieu of $12 million each and face up to life in prison if convicted.
On Wednesday, a Riverside County Superior Court judge ruled that the parents are not allowed to come within 100 yards of the victims for the next three years, unless they're in court.
The case, which as gained national and international attention, shed light on a family that has had little interaction with neighbors in Southern California and Texas. Most people have said the family kept to themselves and there has only been a handful of accounts from people who had extensive communication with family members.
One example came from a neighbor who lived across the street from the family in Perris. She told the Los Angeles Times that the family participated in a community holiday decorating contest two years ago.
They built a Nativity scene in their front yard, with hay for the manger, the Nativity star in a window and Santa Claus and his sleigh near the garage.
David and Louise Turpin were present with five of their children when the contest winners were announced, Salynn Simon, who lived across the street from them, told the newspaper. Louise Turpin introduced her to the children and said one of the boys was in his mid-20s.
“I told him ‘You look so young, you look 15,’” Simon recalled, adding that Louise Turpin mentioned she and her husband would take their older children to Las Vegas.
Simon told the Times that she often waved hello and goodbye to the Turpin family. Sometimes she took them their mail, and last year, when Simon’s daughter was selling Girl Scout cookies, Louise Turpin bought eight or nine boxes, Simon said.
Contributing: The Associated Press. Follow Colin Atagi on Twitter: @TDSColinAtagi