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Jinger Vuolo: Duggar family fled Arkansas in dead of night when scandal broke

In 2015, Josh Duggar was accused of repeatedly molesting five underage girls including four of his sisters.
/ Source: TODAY

Jinger (Duggar) Vuolo isn't holding back in her new book, "The Hope We Hold,” which she co-wrote with her husband, Jeremy.

In chapter eight of the book, Vuolo, whose childhood with her 18 siblings was chronicled in TLC's reality show "19 Kids and Counting," recounts how she felt when molestation allegations against her older brother, Josh, became public knowledge in 2015.

"My brain hadn't quite caught up to the reality of what had happened in a few short hours," Vuolo wrote. "Intimate details about our lives were splashed across a magazine page and all over the Internet for anyone and everyone to read. I felt shell-shocked, as if a bomb had exploded."

The sixth Duggar child of 19 shared that she felt like she was living in a nightmare that she wished was not her reality.

"One of my siblings had made some sinful choices, but it had all been years ago. It had been awful, but we had dealt with it as a family. We'd sought the Lord, took the necessary steps to move toward healing, and offered up our forgiveness. Now that it was out in the public, the old wound was open again, raw, painful."

The star of TLC's “Counting On,” revealed that because paparazzi had camped outside the family's home, known as ”the Big House,” Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar told family members to pack a bag and load up the family bus.

"We were getting away for a few days until this all died down, they said, to a place with plenty of land to run around outside without anyone seeing us," she wrote. "It would be the perfect place to escape the cameras without being cooped up inside for the foreseeable future."

Vuolo said she did not know how long she would be gone or what she would be doing.

"All I knew is we were leaving — that night. I felt like an Israelite fleeing Egypt under the cover of darkness," she wrote.

To conceal their plan, Jim Bob situated the family's bus against the home with the bus' door facing the house to avoid the paparazzi being tipped off.

"By the time we left, the photographers were asleep, and nobody noticed when the bus pulled out of the driveway and headed down the road in the dark of night," Vuolo shared. "The bus engine rumbled and my brothers and sisters chattered noisily, but I barely noticed. My mind raced with questions I couldn't answer. How do we go forward? I thought.

"People outside my close circle now knew details about my life that I had never chosen to share. Details that I had never wanted to share. And there would be fallout. That goes without saying when you lead a public life. I just didn't know how far it would go."

At the time, Jeremy was not yet dating Jinger, but was friends with her sister Jessa, and her husband Ben.

The Vuolos wed in November 2016 and are parents to two daughters, Felicity and Evangeline Jo.

Following Josh Duggar's arrest on April 30, 2021 on charges related to child sex abuse images, the Vuolos were the first to speak out, posting identical statements to social media.

The Duggar family did not respond to requests from TODAY for further comment.