The California couple accused of starving and torturing their 13 children has ties to the Tennessee valley.

Louise Turpin and her husband, David, are being held on a $9 million bond.

Teresa Robinette and her brother haven't spoken with their sister, Louise Turpin, in years. Robinette said Turpin cut off all contact with her family after she left home at 16 to get married.

"You know my parents before they died in 2016 begged to see her even on their death bed. They requested to see her. She didn't even show up to either of their funerals," Robinette said.

Robinette lives in Blountville, which is more than two thousand miles from the Southern California home. Another sister lives in Cleveland. Inside, authorities said they found filth and some of Turpin's children chained to furniture. All 13 were malnourished.

"We are as hurt and shocked and angry and disappointed as everybody else," Robinette said.

The Turpin's 17-year-old daughter is the one who alerted authorities. She escaped out of a window and called 9-1-1.

Police said the couple's children range in age from two to twenty-nine years old.

"I always made comments to Louise when I did talk to her about, gosh they're so skinny, you know, and she would laugh it off, well David's so tall and lanky, they're gonna be like him," Robinette said.

Police arrested Turpin and her husband.

Their children were taken to the hospital and are now with adult and child protective services. It's a new reality Robinette is having trouble understanding.

"Across the United States, you can't really do anything, you know, for your nieces and nephews. There's no words," Robinette said.

The children's parents remain in jail on charges of torture and child endangerment. Both are expected to be in court on Thursday.