David and Louise Turpin, the married couple accused of abusing their 13 children in a house of horrors in California, dreamed of having their 14th children and becoming reality television stars.
Louise’s half-brother, Billy Lambert, told PEOPLE that his half-sister wanted to expand their family and had tried to get pregnant previously. “She has had three miscarriages,” Lambert said, adding, “She had still always wanted a big family.”
In fact, Louise, who had her first child at age 20, had admired another large brood on screen.
“She had mentioned the Kate Plus 8 show, that it was a cool reality show. I think deep down that is what she wanted,” Lambert recalled of discussing Kate Gosselin‘s TLC reality program with his half-sister. (Gosselin is a mother of sextuplets and twin daughters.)
“The last conversation we had on the phone she had mentioned David is looking into a school bus because their 15 seat van is filled up,” Lambert said of the Turpins, adding that his half-sister told him that she had already discussed it with her doctor.
“She said, ‘We are in perfect health, our bodies are okay.’ She said, ‘Her doctor said her body was okay, it was fine.’ To me it was strange,” he admitted.
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David and Louise have 13 children ranging in ages from 2 to 29, according to investigators. The pair was taken into custody after one of their kids, a 17-year-old girl, escaped the home on Jan. 14 and called 911.
Authorities said they found the Turpin children “severely malnourished” from lack of food, with some in chains, according to prosecutor Michael Hestrin, who told reporters last week that it appears “no one noticed what was happening.”
A motive has not been publicly confirmed.
“I have disowned in my opinion,” Lambert told PEOPLE. “She had hurt the family not just herself and the kids. We have had numerous people sending us crazy messages that we knew. If we knew we would have stopped it ourselves.”
Hestrin said Thursday that David and Louise, who both pleaded not guilty to their charges, face 12 counts each of torture as well as seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult, six counts of child abuse or neglect and 12 counts of false imprisonment.
David is additionally charged with one count of lewd act on a child under the age of 14 by force, fear or duress.
The couple is not charged with torturing their 2-year-old as the toddler, for some reason seems to have been fed enough though “we don’t know why,” Hestrin said.
Anyone with information about the Turpin family is urged to call 888-934-KIDS.