Parents Gone Bad: 3 Girls Held Captive in Own Home for 2(+?) Years [Add’l Details]

Police responded to a home in the 2800 block of North Estrella Avenue, near North Stone Avenue and East Glenn Street, at about 4 a.m. Tuesday on reports of a domestic violence incident, said police Capt. Michael Gillooly.

When officers arrived they discovered two girls, ages 12 and 13, who said they were in a bedroom in the house when their stepfather kicked in the door and threatened them with a knife. The girls told officers they ran out of the house and went to a neighbor’s house. The neighbor called 911.

… All three sisters were dirty and malnourished, he said. They told police they were only fed once a day.

They told officers they hadn’t taken a bath in four to six months. The two younger sistes said they hadn’t seen the 17-year-old sibling in about two years.

He said the two younger sisters were kept separate from the older girl. They were kept in separate bedrooms, Gillooly said.

… Later Tuesday, police said the girl’s mother Sophia Richter, 32, and their stepfather, Fernando Richter, 34, were arrested and booked into the Pima County jail. The two are facing three charges each of kidnapping, child abuse with emotional abuse and child abuse with physical abuse.

Fernando Richter is also facing one count of sexual abuse of a child under 15.

…A resident who has lived in the neighborhood for about five years said she didn’t know anyone was living in the home, which is set back from the street.

Tucson police: Mother, stepfather arrested in child abuse case. Arizona Daily Star, 11/26/2013.

Additional details from Police say Arizona couple held three teen girls captive for two years in ‘house of horrors.’ The Raw Story, 11/28/2013:

They were forced to listen to intolerably loud music or white noise and were only allowed to go to the toilet if they had permission, which was not always granted. In order not to raise suspicion, their bedrooms and the whole house had been sound-proofed.

The girls escaped the house when the 12- and 13-year-old broke out of their bedroom window early on Tuesday morning and ran to a neighbour’s home.

…The girls, who Alice described as “distraught and hysterical”, said they had run away from home because their stepfather had kicked in their bedroom door and was trying to assault them with a knife.

Alice, who had no idea children had been living next door, took the girls in and called the police.

When police entered the house they discovered a third sister, who had not been aware of the officers’ arrival because of the loud music.

…Police are combing through 18 months of diary entries written by the eldest victim as they build up a criminal case against the couple.

“It did contain a lot of information that I feel will be useful in helping us to determine the method and length of the imprisonment,” Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor told a news conference on Wednesday.

Tucson police chief: Evidence supports girls’ claims of imprisonment. Arizona Daily Star, 11/28/2013:

[Chief Roberto Villaseñor] said the music could not be heard from the outside because the rooms were soundproofed, including with towels stuff under the doors and the duct work was sealed.

… Villaseñor said the home where the girls lived was had alarms and numerous locks on doors and windows. The bedroom doors where the girls said they were imprisoned were also on alarms that sounded when they were opened.

… After they were evaluated, the three girls were cleaned up, fed and reunited Tuesday night. The chief said it was obvious from their reactions that the older sibling had not seen the younger siblings in some time.

He said the 17-year-old girl had a satchel in which officers found a journal. He said the teen had kept a detailed journal dating back about 1.5 years that police are now reviewing.

He said the girl also kept a picture of singer Enrique Iglesias in the satchel.

Villaseñor said the girl told officers the picture was “her most prized possession.” The photo was returned to the girl Tuesday night.

Mother who kept girls captive had lost, regained custody. Arizona Daily Star, 11/29/2013:

According to court documents, the couple had been dating since 2003 and wed in 2010. There is no indication they have children together.

Just days after her 15th birthday in 1996, Sophia Richter, then Sophia Pulido, gave birth to her eldest daughter. The baby’s father was a minor too.

In 2002, Sophia Richter wed the father of her two younger daughters. They filed for divorced less than a year later.

Richter was granted custody of her two younger daughters in May 2003, but by December 2003, the custody agreement was modified, giving the father sole custody, documents from Pima County Superior Court state.

…In 2006 Richter filed to regain custody over the objections of the paternal grandparents.

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