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Family court critics may have hidden Minnesota girls missing for 2 years

Their mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, was arrested in October on deprivation of parental rights charges.

By
Ed Adamczyk
Minnesota police found two sisters in apparent good health who had been missing since April 2013. File photo by Carl Ballou/Shutterstock
Minnesota police found two sisters in apparent good health who had been missing since April 2013. File photo by Carl Ballou/Shutterstock

LAKEVILLE, Minn., Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Two teenage sisters found safe in Minnesota after disappearing two years ago may have been kept in hiding by an advocacy group critical of family courts that award custody to abusive parents.

Samantha Rucki, 17, and her sister Gianna, 16, were found Wednesday in good health at a horse farm in Grant County in west-central Minnesota.

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They are returning home to southeastern Minnesota after Lakeville police found evidence in the St. Cloud, Minn., home of Dede Evavold, a leader in a local "protective parent" movement. The group advocates changes in family law and suggests family courts often award custody of children to abusive parents.

The teens were discovered at a ranch that promotes itself as a non-profit agency where "broken children and broken horses" are healed.

In October, the girls' mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, was charged with deprivation of parental rights. She could face additional charges for the girls' alleged abduction and hiding. The girls had not been seen in public since they left their home during their parents' bitter custody dispute.

Lakeville police believe Grazzini-Rucki, the girls' mother, aided her daughters in leaving their father, and said in an October statement that "the act of taking the girls, as well as the continued act of keeping the girls in hiding, has involved a network of individuals."

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The statement followed the arrest of Grazzini-Rucki in Florida on the parental rights deprivation charge. The woman's attorney said she did not want her daughters to be found.

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