HERMAN, Minn. — Two Minnesota girls who have been missing since 2013 were found at a horse ranch Wednesday afternoon, according to KMSP.
The girls, Gianna and Samantha Rucki, ages 17 and 16, ran away from their home in Lakeville, Minn., in April 2013, during a bitter custody battle. On Wednesday, police and U.S. marshals conducted a search at White Horse Ranch in Herman, Minn., hoping to find the two girls.
They found them there and less than four hours later, officers drove them back to begin the reunification process, according to the Star Tribune.
Police have accused the girls’ mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, of helping them disappear. Grazzini-Rucki was arrested in Florida last month and is being held on three counts of felony deprivation of parental rights.
The Star Tribune reported that evidence from a police search conducted at a St. Cloud woman’s home led them to the ranch. Authorities believe an “underground network of family court critics” were hiding the girls.
According to its website, the White Horse Ranch is a non-profit that helps abused children heal by working with horses.
The owner of the ranch, Doug Dahlen, told the Star Tribune he could not comment on the case.
David Rucki, the girls’ father, is working to find them a place to stay until the family is reunited.
He told the newspaper he is happy and relieved that the girls were found safe.
The girls previously accused their father of abusing them, but a psychologist determined that Grazzini-Rucki had brainwashed the children. Rucki also denied the claims and was awarded full custody of the children in November 2013.