Sisters held captive adjust to new life

Sisters held captive adjust to new life
The sisters' great grandma speaks out on how the girls are adjusting to a new life.
The sisters' great grandma speaks out on how the girls are adjusting to a new life.

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Wednesday, Nov. 26 marks one year since three Tucson sisters escaped from being held against their will.

Police say the girls were held captive in a midtown home, confined to their bedroom with their every move being monitored by cameras

and only allowed to use the bathroom when granted permission.

Their mother, Sophia Richter, and step-father, Fernando Richter, face child abuse and kidnapping charges in Pima and Pinal counties.

One year later, the girls are adjusting to a new life.

The midtown neighborhood looks very much the same. The Richter home is now occupied by college students who know very little about what happened there, but others certainly haven't forgotten about one of the darkest days in recent memory.

Three sisters locked inside bedrooms, physically and emotionally beaten down. That is, until two of the girls escaped one year ago.

Fernando was reportedly in a drunken rage. Police say he kicked down their door and was coming at the girls with a knife when they managed to break through a window and get away.

Fortunately for them, they were able to find help in the house next door. The couple, who graciously let the girls in at four in the morning, called 911.

That neighbor spoke out Wednesday about those sister he said he'll never forget.

"I just remember that even despite the intense life they were experiencing, that they still had the capacity to laugh... and be as a child," he said. "I just hope that when people consider the chance to help another, that they go with their best instinct. That's the lesson we learned."

The girls' family also spoke out for the first time in a while on Wednesday.

Like any grandmother, Erma Ferris likes to talk about her grandkids and great grandkids.

"They're pretty sweet, loving girls," she said.

The girls lived with her for two months earlier this year.

"They're coping. They still have issues, but they're coming around real well."

The youngest two are in school, while the oldest, now 18 years old, earned her GED and has a job.

All three are getting counseling. Although things are looking bright, great grandma still has a heavy heart.

"I just think, 'Lord... Lord. How can such a terrible thing happen?' But, I just want to get on with life with the girls and do things we haven't been able to do with them for a long time."

She said the girls will spend Thanksgiving together.

"I'm happy with them and where they're at. And they're bonding. You know, they never really had the opportunity to do that."

"As for healing, there's still a long way to go. Ferris said the girls will once again have to relive the nightmare once the case heads back to court."

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