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Updated Dec 10, 2013 - 2:01 pm

Arizona couple indicted in child-imprisonment case

PHOENIX — A man and woman from Arizona were indicted on charges that they
imprisoned the woman’s three daughters inside their Tucson home.

The indictment publicly released Tuesday charges 34-year-old Fernando Richter
and 32-year-old Sophia Richter with kidnapping and child abuse. They were accused of
keeping the three girls locked in their rooms at the Tucson home during a
three-month period ending on Nov. 26, when police discovered their captivity.

Authorities are investigating whether the girls — 17, 13 and 12 — were
imprisoned earlier in a home in the Pinal County community of Catalina, about 20
miles north of Tucson, where the family had lived from March 2011 to August
2013.

The Pima County Attorney’s Office said in a statement that the majority of the
crimes committed in the case happened in Pinal County. Pinal County Attorney
Lando Voyles said his office is reviewing the police reports for possible
prosecution.

The Richters have
remained in a Pima County jail since their arrest two weeks ago.

Fernando Richter, the girls’ stepfather, is also charged with aggravated
assault on two of the girls and aggravated assault on a police officer, who came
to the home after police were alerted.

Investigators said the two younger girls escaped through the window of the
bedroom they shared and alerted a neighbor after their stepfather tried to break
down the door to their room.

Police later discovered the 17-year-old was being held separately from her
sisters in another room. The three girls were malnourished and dirty and told
officers they hadn’t taken a bath in up to six months.

While in jail since his arrest, Fernando Richter was booked on suspicion of
aggravated assault on a Pima County jail officer who had asked him on Sunday
night to take down wet paper that Richter had posted on a window of his cell
door, said Pima County Sheriff’s spokesman Tracy Suitt.

Suitt said Richter broke jail rules by posting the wet paper, which prevented
officers from seeing inside his cell, and refused an order from the jail officer
in question to remove the paper. Richter then grabbed the officer, so other
officers joined in to take control of and handcuff Richter. No one was injured,
Suitt said.

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