US couple guilty of kidnapping, abusing and imprisoning daughters: Reports

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - A jury convicted an Arizona couple on Friday (Dec 4) of kidnapping and abusing their three daughters, imprisoning them and forcing them to urinate and defecate in their closets, local media reported.

Fernando and Sophia Richter were found guilty in Pima County Superior Court on six counts each of kidnapping and child abuse, NBC television affiliate KVOA said.

Fernando Richter, the girls' stepfather, was also found guilty on two counts of aggravated assault.

The abuse, which lasted up to two years, ended after two of the girls escaped the home through a window in November 2013 after Fernando Richter tried to break down their bedroom door with a knife in his hand, Tucson News Now said.

The girls were denied bathroom breaks, having no option but to use closets instead, and said the couple monitored them via cameras 24 hours a day, according to KVOA.

They were also fed the same "disgusting food" day after day, made to drink bath water out of moldy plastic jugs, and hit with belts and spoons, according to Tucson News Now.

Sentencing for the couple is set to take place on Feb 16.

After this trial is over, they will be tried in Pinal County, where the family lived for several years and where similar crimes are believed to have been committed.

Sophia Richter faces six counts of child abuse and three for kidnapping there, according to KVOA.

The stepfather faces charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault, child molestation and sexual abuse.

Prosecutors say he had sexual contact with his middle stepdaughter at some point between January and August 2013.