Tucson couple accused of child imprisonment face new charges

Posted: Updated:
Fernando Richter and Sophia Richter By Mike Gertzman Fernando Richter and Sophia Richter By Mike Gertzman

FLORENCE, Ariz. -- A husband and wife accused of imprisoning the woman's three daughters inside their Tucson home are facing new charges in Pinal County.

Fernando Richter, 34, and Sophia Richter, 32, pleaded not guilty Friday in Pinal County Superior Court to multiple counts of charges that include child abuse and kidnapping. Fernando Richter also is charged with aggravated assault, child molestation and sexual abuse.
The charges stem from alleged incidents that took place between March 2011 and September 2013 in Catalina, Ariz., where the family lived before moving to Tucson.

Pinal County prosecutors said allegations in the new child abuse charges include unreasonable confinement and emotional damage.

A judge ordered Fernando Richter held without bond. Sophia Richter's bond is set at $100,000.

"Our children depend on us, as parents, to protect them and provide for them in a safe environment," Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles said in a news release. "No child should live in fear and our youth represent one of our most vulnerable groups in society. Law enforcement and investigators must act swiftly and decisively to ensure safe surroundings and the best interests of a child."

Tucson police arrested the couple on Nov. 26 after two of the girls escaped through a window and went to a neighbor's house. The neighbor called 911.

Fernando Richter and Sophia Richter were indicted in Pima County on kidnapping and child abuse charges accusing them of keeping the girls locked in their bedrooms. They pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.