Inside child abuse suspects' former home - Tucson News Now

Inside child abuse suspects' former home

Catalina, Arizona (Tucson News Now)-Police continue to investigate a Tucson woman and her husband who are now accused of imprisoning the woman's three daughters for two years.

Fernando and Sophia Richter are each charged with three counts of kidnapping, child abuse-emotional abuse, and child abuse-physical abuse.

Fernando also is charged with sexual abuse of a minor under the age of 15.

We're also digging deeper into the locations where police say the Richter family previously lived.

Police say they had been living in the midtown home where the girls were found since August.

Before 2011, they had also lived at a home on March Place in Tucson.

From about March of 2011 to August they had lived in a home in Catalina, just north of Tucson.

It's in a newer neighborhood of single family homes.

We spoke with neighbors and with the family that is now renting the home.

The young family moved in just last month.

The neighborhood is in shock.

People we talked with said there was no indication anything might be terribly wrong in the Richter home.

"They seemed like really nice people. You know, normal people," said Aaron Ruiz.

So, it came as a shock to Ruiz that something terrible might have been going on right next door in the home where police say the Richters lived with Sophia's three daughters.

"We never seen them. Never heard any girls or kids or nothing," Ruiz said.

However, inside the home, now occupied by the Brogdon family, there are clues that something was not right.

Mario Brogdon took us on a tour of the house, pointing out alarms that were in certain parts of the house when his family moved in.

"You barely tap the window," Brogdon said as he gently touched the kitchen window, setting off an ear-splitting alarm.

Brogdon showed us alarms in the two front bedrooms and in the bathroom closest to those bedrooms.

He told us there were no alarms in the master bedroom.

Something else.

When Tucson police detectives showed up Tuesday night to look at where the Richters once lived, they were very interested in those two smaller bedrooms, the ones that had alarms on the windows.

"He (the detective) came looking for things mounted, like security devices through the house," Brogdon said.

It's easy to see where walls and door had once held something that's not there any more.

Brogdon said police looked at patches and holes in the walls of the bedrooms.

"Holes in the walls where things may have been mounted. Holes in the doors where maybe locks had been. But they didn't come out and say, 'Oh, there were kids locked in those rooms,'" Brogdon said.

Brogdon points to a spot where a bedroom door had been repaired.

"Something was patched here and repaired . You can see the gloss and then and then the flat paint. So I'm thinking a lock. And all the doors at the bottom have marks from--I don't know--girls kicking the doors," Brogdon said.

And again, Brogdon said the master bedroom which had no alarms, also showed no signs of holes or patches.

He said the police also went into the backyard, asking about anything unusual.

"Detectives were asking if we found any objects when we moved in. And, no. I guess they asked about any holes, anything. I told them my dog chose a pot to dig a hole. She never dug at our last house. Ever. She chose that spot between the oleanders," Brogdon said, pointing to bushes that were against the patio wall.

Asked if police dug there, Brogdon said, "They came and they looked and they were on their knees looking, trying to see."

Brogdon expects detectives will return.

The neighborhood is reeling, still in shock.

People here still can't believe it.

Aaron Ruiz said he was shaking as we talked with him.

"Ugh. It pisses me off. I'm kind of angry right now. You know what I'm saying. Like I say, I didn't know anything about it. If I would've known, I would've done something about it. That's for sure, you know. But I didn't know," Ruiz said.

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