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3 Girls Say They Were Held in Tucson Home for 2 Years

Tucson police investigate the scene of a child abuse call that began early Tuesday.  (Mike Christy, AP)
Tucson police investigate the scene of a child abuse call that began early Tuesday. (Mike Christy, AP)
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Updated: 11/27/2013 9:55 am
TUCSON, ARIZ. – Two filthy, malnourished girls told police they escaped from a Tucson home where their parents had imprisoned them for two years and a third sister was rescued from inside the house, police said. The parents were arrested, CBS news affiliate KOLD reported Tuesday.

The two younger sisters, ages 12 and 13, escaped from the home in midtown Tucson and ran to a neighbor's house for help, Tucson police Capt. Mike Gillooly said. When police arrived around 4 a.m., the girls said their stepfather had tried to attack them with a knife.

When police went to the home on North Estrella Avenue to investigate, they found a third girl, age 17, locked in a bedroom, Gillooly said.

Police said the girls' stepfather, Fernando Richter, 34, and mother, Sophia Richter, 32, were arrested 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.

All three girls were malnourished and filthy, Gillooly said. They said they hadn't bathed in four to six months.

The two younger girls said their older sister was kept in a separate bedroom and they hadn't seen her for two years, Gillooly said.

"I can assure you we're doing everything we can to make sure these kids are kept safe," Gillooly said.

A resident who has lived in the neighborhood for about five years told the Arizona Daily Star she didn't know anyone was living in the home, which is set back from the street.

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