Elizabeth Jane Flores, the aunt of 13 siblings allegedly tortured and held captive by their parents in their Southern California home, revealed in a tearful interview with Good Morning America that her family tried "for years" to get in touch with the mother, Louise Turpin, 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,” Flores said.
Louise Anna Turpin, 49, was arrested on Sunday along with her husband, David Allen Turpin, 57, after their 17-year-old daughter fled their Perris, California home and called police on a deactivated cell phone. The Turpins, who were arraigned in court yesterday, have been charged with 12 counts of torture, seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult, six counts of child abuse or neglect and 12 counts of false imprisonment. Medical personnel treating the children revealed that they had likely been starved and tortured for many years
"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 David and Louise Turpin for a few months while attending college. At the time, the Turpins only had four children and the eldest was in elementary school. "I thought they were really strict, but I didn't see any type of abuse," she said of the Turpins. "Now that I'm an adult, I look back, I see things that I didn't see then."
She too had to follow strict "rules" and was "treated like one of the kids" while living in her sister's home, Flores added. She also said she had "uncomfortable" experiences with her brother-in-law but never shared them with anyone because she was "young" and "scared."
"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."
Flores said she saw Louise frequently in 2008 while she and David lived in Texas only a few hours away from where Flores and her family lived at the time, but Louise would always come to her house, never the other way around.
"I was only allowed in the driveway," she said. "There was never any children, it was just always her and David. I would always say, 'I wish you would bring the kids.'"
When asked why Flores and the rest of Louise's family never called the police over the Turpin's suspicious behavior, she explained that their extreme privacy had gone on long before they ever had kids and had seemed normal by then.
Flores said her mother once drove for hours to visit the family in Texas at one point, but she was not welcomed into the house either. A few years later, Flores said, her father bought a plane ticket to go see the family but his daughter told him not to come, insisting she would visit them instead. The family never showed up and didn't answer any phone calls, Flores said.
"When that happens for 20 years ... you don't think it's abnormal. You just think that they were always funny and private anyway, even before they had children," she explained. "They shut us out years and years and years ago."
Flores said she still loves her sister, but she wants explanations and cares primarily for the children.
"I want her to know that she's still my blood and I love her. I don't agree with what she did and her actions have made the whole family suffer. But I want her to know that I'm praying for her salvation and that we do love her," Flores said. "I love Louise, but the kids are my concern."
See Flores' tearful interview with ABC News in the video below: