Update 1:07 a.m. EST: As more details emerge of the three girls living in captivity in a Tucson home, reports say the captive siblings were kept in a bedroom equipped with locks, alarms and video camera surveillance focused on the girls' beds. News 4 Tucson reported, citing local police, that air ducts in the room were sealed off and vents were covered while towels were placed under doors, possibly to sound-proof the rooms. The Los Angeles Times reported, citing Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor, that the three girls have been transferred to a group home.
Update 9:40 p.m. EST: The three sisters imprisoned for possibly two years in a Tucson, Arizona, home were forced to listen to a constant barrage of music and white noise, all day and all night, police said Wednesday, according to CNN.
This psychological torture is the latest allegation in a case that erupted early Tuesday morning when two of the girls, ages 12 and 13, sprinted to a neighbor's house to escape their stepfather, who was wielding a knife, Police Chief Roberto Villasenor said in a news conference.
Three Tucson girls -- sisters ranging in age from 12 to 17 -- who claimed they were imprisoned in their bedrooms by their parents for two years escaped early Tuesday morning, prompting a child abuse investigation by the Arizona city's police.
The allegations led to the arrests of a Tucson couple – 34-year-old stepfather Fernando Richter and 32-year-old mother Sophia Richter – on charges of child abuse and imprisonment, according to the Tucson Police Department. The stepfather was also charged with sexually abusing one of the girls.
The girls, ages 12, 13 and 17, were found malnourished and dirty and were living in filth, police said in a statement.
Around 4:02 a.m. Tuesday local time, police arrived at the Tucson home to respond to a report of domestic violence involving a knife. Police spoke to the 12-year-old and 13-year-old, who said they ran to a neighbor’s house and claimed Fernando Richter tried to break into their bedroom while holding a knife.
The girls also claimed “they had been imprisoned in their bedrooms for at least the last several months and possibly up to two years,” according to the police statement.
The 17-year-old sister was still in the house at the time police interviewed the two younger girls. That’s when officers entered the home and located her.
“All three girls were extremely dirty and stated that they had not bathed in four to six months,” the statement said. “They were kept in filthy conditions and alleged only being fed once a day.”
The imprisoned Tucson girls were removed from the home and the Richters were placed into custody, police said.
The Richters both face three counts of kidnapping, three counts of child abuse/emotional abuse and three counts of child abuse/physical abuse. Fernando Richter was also charged with one count of sexual abuse with a person under 15 years of age.