CRIME
11/27/2013 11:33 am ET

Arizona Parents Held 3 Girls Captive In Home For 2 Years: Police

Three girls -- aged 12, 13, and 17 -- were allegedly held captive in their Arizona home for more than two years by their parents, Tuscon police say.

The girls’ stepfather, 34-year-old Fernando Richter, and their mother, 32-year-old Sophia Richter, are being held at the Pima County Jail on three charges each of kidnapping, child emotional abuse and child physical abuse.

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

Police first discovered the girls after the two younger sisters climbed out of their window and ran to a neighbors home after their father allegedly assaulted them with a knife, Captain Gillooly said in a news conference.

The neighbor who called police on behalf of the girls said they were "hysterical and visibly shaking," Tuscon News Now reported.

When investigators arrived at the girls’ home to respond to the report, they also found the girls’ 17-year-old sister locked in another bedroom.

The two younger sisters told police that they hadn’t seen their older sibling in about two years, the Arizona Daily Star reported.

All three sisters were found dirty and malnourished and told police they hadn't bathed in four to six months. The girls also said they were fed only once a day, according to police.

"They were kept in filthy living conditions and kept separately," Gillooly told journalists. "They told officers they had not seen each other in two years and were kept separately in bedrooms in that house."

A neighbor who has lived in the area for about five years said she wasn't aware of anyone living at the home, per the Daily Star.

"We are doing all we can to make sure these kids are kept safe," Gillooly said at the news conference.

The imprisoned girls' mother and stepfather are due in court later on Wednesday.

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