Public records show that the couple own the house where the children were found and that it was registered with the state Department of Education directory as the location of the Sandcastle Day School, a private, non-religious, co-ed K-12 campus. There were six students enrolled — one each in the fifth, sixth, eighth, ninth, 10th and 12th grades. David Turpin is listed as the principal.
According to ABC News, David Turpin’s parents, James and Betty Turpin of West Virginia, said they were “surprised and shocked” at the allegations. They said that they had not seen their son and daughter-in-law in four or five years.
According to his parents, David Turpin and his wife are deeply religious Pentecostals, but they did not have a church in the area and David's parents knew of no friends that the couple had.
When the grandparents last visited California about four or five years ago, they thought the children seemed thin but they appeared to be a "happy family," they said.
The Turpin Family, Facebook
Public records indicate the family have lived at the house for several years after moving from Texas. Records also indicate that the parents filed for bankruptcy twice, most recently in 2011.
Ivan Trahan, the couple's bankruptcy attorney in 2011, said he was shocked at news of the arrests.
“To me and my wife, Nancy, who was with me during the interviews, we always thought of them as very nice people who spoke highly of their children,” Trahan said. “They seemed like very normal people who fell into financial problems.”
Trahan said that David Turpin worked as an engineer at Northrop Grumman, an aeronautics and defense technology company, and had a “relatively high” income, but that his large family's expenses were over than $1,000 a month more than he earned.
The Turpin's home is in a nice neighborhood, according to the LA Times, with a nativity star placed in one window, and a van and three newer model Volkswagens parked in the driveway.
Kimberly Milligan, 50, who lives across the street, said that she used to see a woman outside the Turpin's home with an infant, but eventually stopped seeing the child. Over the years, Milligan says she sometimes saw three other children who looked like preteens coming out of the house to get into a car with their parents.
Milligan found the family strange and noted, along with several other neighbors, that the children she saw were very pale. She says she often wondered why, if there were so many children in the house, they never came out to play: “You know something is off, but you don’t want to think bad of people.”
About two years ago, Milligan said, she came across the preteens putting up Christmas lights at the home and said hello to them. “They looked at us like a child who wants to make themselves invisible,” she said.
After the arrests, Milligan struggled with the reality that such cruelty went unnoticed in the neighborhood. “We’re not acres apart,” she said. “How did no one see anything?”
Anyone with additional information was asked to contact Master Investigator Tom Salisbury at the sheriff’s station in Perris at (951) 210-1000, or by email at PerrisStation@RiversideSheriff.org