TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Two people face kidnapping and abuse charges after three girls told police they had been imprisoned by their parents in their midtown home for possibly up to two years.
Police say the girls' stepfather, 34-year-old Fernando Richter, and mother, 32-year-old Sophia Richter were booked into Pima County Jail on three charges each of kidnapping, child abuse/emotional abuse, and child abuse/physical abuse. Fernando Richter was also charged with one count of sexual abuse with a person under 15 years of age, according to police.
According to TPD Capt. Mike Gillooly, the girls were siblings, aged 12, 13, and 17.
Gillooly said the children have been removed from the home.
Gillooly said the two younger girls escaped to a neighbor's house and said their stepfather allegedly had kicked in their bedroom door and threatened them with a knife.
Patrol officers responded to the residence in the 2800 block of North Estrella Avenue, near East Glenn Street and North Stone Avenue, at about 4 a.m. after receiving a 911 report of a domestic fight involving a knife, Gillooly said.
Police found the third girl in one of the home's bedrooms. According to police, all the girls were malnourished and extremely dirty and they said they hadn't bathed in four to six months.
The girls allege that they were only fed once a day.
Gillooly said the girls were found in filthy living conditions and the younger girls had been kept separate from the 17-year-old. He said they told police the younger girls hadn't seen their older sister in two years.
The neighbor who called police described the girls as small and unkempt. She said they were hysterical and visibly shaking. The neighbor did not want to be identified.
Neighbors said they were unaware that any children lived in the house.
The investigation is in its initial stages.
"I can assure you we're doing everything we can to make sure these kids are kept safe," Gillooly said.