Missing Minnesota sisters found safe after years: police

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 19, 2015 12:44 PM

(Reuters) - Two teenage sisters in Minnesota, who had been missing for more than two and a half years after running away in the midst of a custody battle between their parents, have been found safe on a horse ranch in the west central part of the state, police said.

Police, sheriff's officials and U.S. marshals executed a search warrant on Wednesday relating to sisters Samantha Rucki, 17, and Gianna Rucki, 16, according to police in Lakeville, Minnesota.

"Both Samantha and Gianna were found safe and in seemingly good health," police said in a statement.

Lakeville Police Lieutenant Jason Polinski said Samantha and Gianna Rucki had been missing since April 2013. He said police suspect an underground network of people critical of family court had been hiding the sisters.

Investigators were led to the ranch by evidence found during a search of the home of a Minnesota woman who supports a movement that believes family courts often give custody to abusive parents, Polinski said.

Polinski said that police had accused the sisters' mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, of helping them evade their father, but she has denied being involved with her daughters' disappearance.

Grazzini-Rucki was charged with three counts of felony deprivation of parental rights for her alleged involvement in her daughters' disappearance and was extradited from Florida, arriving in Minnesota earlier this month, Polinski said.

Police said charges may be forthcoming against others involved in the teenagers' disappearance. No further details were provided.

Officials said the sisters would be reunited with relatives in Dakota County, but they declined to be more specific.

(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales; Editing by Andrew Hay)