HASTINGS, Minn. (AP) — Two teenage sisters from Minnesota who had been missing for more than two years will be sent to a program lasting several weeks that is aimed at bringing about a reunification with their father after a judge decided to take them out of foster care.
Before the girls disappeared in April 2013, they repeatedly accused their father of abuse. But a court-appointed psychologist concluded that their mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, had brainwashed them and a judge granted full custody to the girls’ father, David Rucki, after finding there was no credible evidence of abuse.
Samantha Rucki, 17, and her 16-year-old sister, Gianna, have been in foster care since they were found recently at a horse farm in western Minnesota. Their mother is accused of taking the girls to the farm in 2013 and is charged with six felony counts of deprivation of parental rights.
Judge Michael Mayer on Monday reaffirmed David Rucki’s full parental rights. Rucki said he will place the girls in an out-of-state program aimed at overcoming their resistance to a reunion.
“I’m going to try to move forward now and get the girls the help they need,” he said.
Mayer said he agreed with sending the sisters to the program, which he described as lasting six to eight hours a day for about six to 10 weeks.
The owners of the White Horse Ranch, Doug and Gina Dahlen, petitioned the court to send the girls back to the farm.
“We love the children and believe we can provide them the best environment under these current circumstances,” the Dahlens wrote in their motion.
“We have provided the children with a home and shelter and all the necessities of life including food, clothing, health care, education, religious upbringing, love, support and companionship,” the Dahlens wrote.
David Rucki objected, saying he is willing and able to care for his daughters.
Mayer noted that there was an ongoing criminal investigation against the Dahlens, and said the girls’ “life has become a circus.”
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