Child imprisonment menu: Pot roast for friends; noodles under the door for the kids

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Child imprisonment menu: Pot roast for friends; noodles under the door for the kids

By Craig Smith. CREATED Nov 29, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - While their children were eating scraps and noodles as prisoners in their own home, Sophia and Fernando Richter were sharing carefully prepared meals with their bartender. 
That's what we're hearing from that bartender as we dig deeper into the case.

The three girls told police about meals that were barely more than noodles and oil.  Two girls aged 12 and 13 escaped from the house early Tuesday.  Police say they found a 17 year old after they entered the house.
Now we hear people were getting lovingly prepared home cooked meals while the three girls ate whatever their parents slid under the door.

The Richters are eating from the jail's menu now.

But regulars at a neighborhood bar near the home are appalled to hear the Richters had children eating barely more than scraps while Sophia Richter shared nicely made home cooking.

"They made me pot roast and mashed potatoes, corn, homemade gravy, dinner salad and brought it in to me warmed up," says bartender Lori Holliday.

Lori Holliday says the Richters became regulars at the bar about four months ago.  We agreed not to identify the place.

Holliday confirms what others at the bar say: that Fernando Richter was strange and aggressive, while Sophia stayed close to him as if she was afraid he'd get into trouble if she didn't watch him.

"I actually had escorted him out the door on a number of occasions when he'd had a couple of shots he was just too much for me to handle sometimes."
But like everyone who knew the couple, no one says they could have connected the dots that would lead them to three girls captive in a filthy house.
The girls are safe, together in CPS custody.  We've heard that from relatives as well as police.

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

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Craig enjoys using innovative writing and visuals to make difficult stories easier to understand. As a newsroom manager at KGUN 9, Craig was part of the team that won three best newscast awards from Arizona Associated Press