An Arizona mother and stepfather were being held on kidnapping and child abuse charges Tuesday for allegedly imprisoning their three girls — who were found malnourished in a filthy home and hadn't bathed in months, police said.
Tucson police said officers responding to a 911 call found two girls, 12 and 13 years old, at a neighbor’s house at about 4 a.m. Tuesday. The girls told officers they had escaped their home after their stepdad kicked in the door to their bedroom and attempted to attack them with a knife, police said.
The girls also said, according to police, they had been held prisoners in the bedroom they shared for about two years.
When officers went to the house they discovered their sister, 17, locked in another bedroom, police said.
At a news conference on Tuesday night, Tucson police Capt. Mike Gillooly said all three of the girls were extremely dirty and malnourished and stated they said they had not bathed in several months.
“It was alleged by the little girls that they had been imprisoned in their bedrooms for approximately the last two years,” Gillooly said.
“They were kept in filthy living conditions and alleged only being fed once a day,” said a Tucson police statement.
The stepfather, Fernando Richter, 34, was booked into the Pima County Jail in Tucson on charges of kidnapping, sexual abuse of a minor and physical and emotional child abuse.
The mother, identified as 32-year-old Sophia Richter, is also charged with kidnapping and both physical and emotional child abuse.
The three girls were removed from the home.