TUCSON – Three sisters who police said were imprisoned for up to two years in their bedrooms were under 24-hour camera surveillance and subjected to music playing in their rooms at all hours, according to new details released Wednesday by authorities.
Tucson police said they arrested the girls’ mother and stepfather Tuesday on suspicion of child abuse and imprisonment.
Officials reported that the sisters — ages 12, 13 and 17 — appeared “extremely dirty” and told police they hadn’t bathed in four to six months.
The two younger sisters were in a separate room from the 17-year-old and hadn’t seen her in months, the girls told authorities.
Both bedrooms had alarm systems and shuttered vents. In addition, the spaces between the bedroom doors and the floor were blocked off.
“It seemed to be a way of soundproofing the rooms,” Tucson Sgt. Chris Widmer said.
The girls were also kept in filthy living conditions and were being fed only once a day, officials reported. Child Protective Services took custody of the girls, Widmer said.
On Tuesday morning, police went to a home in midtown Tucson after receiving a domestic violence call that involved a knife.
When officers arrived, they found the two younger sisters, who had somehow made it to a neighbor’s house, saying that their stepfather had attempted to break into their bedroom with a knife.
That’s when the two girls told authorities that they had been imprisoned in their bedrooms for at least several months and possibly up to a couple of years.
Officers also discovered the older girl still in the house, according to the statement.
Widmer also said that the family had just moved into the home in August.
The mother and stepfather were booked into Pima County Jail.
The stepfather, 34, was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, emotional child abuse, physical child abuse and sexual abuse with a person younger than 15.
The mother, 32, was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, emotional child abuse and physical child abuse.
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