(PERRIS, Calif.) — The aunt of 13 siblings allegedly abused and held captive by their parents in a Southern California home says her family tried “for years” to get in touch with her sister but “she just shut us out of her life.”
“I want to reach out to the kids, I want them to know that for years we begged to Skype, we begged to see them, the whole family,” Elizabeth Jane Flores said tearfully in an interview Wenesday on ABC News’ Good Morning America with co-anchor Robin Roberts.
Flores’ sister Louise Anna Turpin, 49, was arrested Monday along with her husband, David Allen Turpin, 57, for allegedly holding their 13 children “shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings” inside their home in Perris, California, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
The siblings, ages 2 to 29, “appeared to be malnourished and very dirty,” the sheriff’s department said.
“I was shocked because my sister and I haven’t really had a sister relationship for about 20 years. So other than maybe like a call every once in a while, and sometimes those calls are like a year apart. So I was shocked, I was devastated,” Flores said. “We were never allowed to be a part of their lives.”
Flores said she lived with her sister and brother-in-law for a few months when she was in college. At the time, the couple only had four children and the eldest was in elementary school, Flores said.
“I thought they were really strict, but I didn’t see any type of abuse,” she said of the parents.
She too had to follow strict “rules” and was “treated like one of the kids” when she lived with her sister, Flores added. She also said she had “uncomfortable” experiences with her brother-in-law.
“He did things that made me feel uncomfortable,” she said. “If I were to get in the shower, he would come in there while I was in there and watch me, and it was like a joke. He never touched me or anything.”
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