KGUN 9News


Officers describe how girls looked and smelled

Posted at 5:40 PM, Nov 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-17 19:40:57-05
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - "It appeared they hadn't bathed in a long time." That's what a Tucson Police officer told the jury today as Fernando and Sophia Richter stood trial on charges of abusing and imprisoning their three daughters.
Just before Thanksgiving, two years ago, two of the three girls ran away from this house in Tucson.  They said they went out a window when their stepfather, Fernando Richter threatened them with a knife. 
The girls said they had been locked away and isolated for about two years.  Police found another daughter inside.
We expect the three girls to be on the stand tomorrow, if police testimony wraps up in time.   
On Tuesday, we heard from the first officers to reach the Richter house and talk to the girls. 
Tucson Police officer Michael Cuestas was first to the scene.
He testified it took ten minutes of pounding on the door before Sophia, then Fernando Richter answered.  He said they had bloodshot eyes and smelled intoxicated.
When he asked Fernando Richter if anyone else was in the house, he gave the name of two dogs but did not mention the third girl officers found when they searched the house.
The girls told police that to leave their rooms and use the bathroom they had to stand in front of surveillance cameras, sometimes, did not get permission, and had to use bottles or bags in their closets. 
Officer Cuestas said he saw surveillance cameras and what looked like bottles of urine throughout the house. 
Brandon Tatum was the second officer to the house.  He remembers when he saw the two girls who ran from the house. 
All the officers at the house remember music playing so loud no one could speak.  But they were able to shut off the music from inside the girls rooms. 
Fernando Richter's attorney Paul Skitzki told jurors Richters mother will testify that the girls were well cared for. He's asked all the officers if they noticed a smell in the house.  None of the officers remember a smell to the house but some of them said the girls smelled like they hadn't bathed in a long time. 
Late today we heard from a detective who did a detail search of the house.  He described a five gallon bucket with a foul smelling noodle mix, consistent with what the girls told police they were fed, and he said searching the bedrooms and clothes hampers he smelled a definite smell of urine.