(TUCSON, Ariz.) — Two Arizona girls who were allegedly held captive in their home hadn’t seen their elder sister for two years because she was locked in another bedroom, police said.
The girls — ages 12, 13 and 17 — told police they hadn’t bathed in four to six months and that they were held captive in their suburban Tucson home where they said they were fed just one meal a day.
“They were kept in filthy living conditions separately and told patrol officers they had not seen each other in almost two years and were kept separate within the bedrooms within that house,” Mike Gillooly, a captain with the Tucson Police Department, said at a news conference.
The two youngest sisters escaped from the home early Tuesday morning when police said the girls’ stepfather, Fernando Richter, 34, attempted to break into their bedroom while brandishing a knife.
The girls ran to a neighbor’s house, Gillooly said, where an unidentified neighbor called 911. When officers entered the home, Gillooly said they found the oldest sister locked in a bedroom.
Richter and his wife, Sophia Richter, who is the girls’ mother, were arrested and booked into Pima County Jail on child abuse and kidnapping charges, according to Sgt. Chris Widmer of the Tucson Police Department.
Widmer said Fernando Richter faces an additional charge of sexual abuse with a person under 15 years of age.
The Richters have not yet entered pleas and it was unknown if they had hired an attorney.
Detectives were seen at the family’s single-story home on Tuesday removing bags of evidence from the home. Police said the investigation is ongoing.
A judge set bail of $100,000 for the stepfather and $75,000 for their mother at a brief court appearance today.
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