Mom suspected in 2013 disappearance of Minnesota girls arrested in Florida

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A Lakeville mother suspected in the 2013 disappearance of her two teenage daughters was arrested in Florida over the weekend.

The girls, Samantha and Gianna Rucki, haven't been found, Sun This Week reports.

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was arrested Sunday morning on an out-of-state warrant and is being held in the Osceola County Jail, according to jail records.

She was charged via warrant in Dakota County with three counts of felony deprivation of parental rights, the criminal complaint says. A warrant for her arrest was issued in August after new evidence linked her to the girls' disappearance, the Star Tribune reported.

The girls, now 17 and 15, disappeared from Lakeville in April 2013 while their parents, Grazzini-Rucki and David Rucki, were involved in a bitter divorce and custody battle, reports note.

 Samantha (left) and Gianna Rucki. (Photo: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)

Samantha (left) and Gianna Rucki. (Photo: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)

Grazzini-Rucki accused her ex-husband of abusing her and the girls, however David Rucki, who has custody of them, denies the allegations and says she brainwashed their daughters, the Star Tribune says.

Lakeville police have said they don't believe the girls left on their own free will. Investigators have followed numerous leads since the girls disappeared, but they turned up empty, with police noting people who may know more about the case won't talk to them.

But new information last spring prompted police to renew their efforts to find the girls, WCCO reported. Dale Nathan, an Eagan attorney whose license was suspended, told the Star Tribune back in April that the girls left from their aunt's house on April 19, 2013, and got into their mother's car.

A witness, identified as "DN" in the criminal complaint, told a similar story to police in an interview in June, the complaint says. DN says he was in the car when Grazzini-Rucki picked up the girls the day they went missing.

Grazzini-Rucki denied helping the girls flee and maintains she doesn't know where they are.

Officials are now hoping to extradite Grazzini-Rucki to Minnesota to face charges, the Star Tribune says. There is no firm timeline for when she could be brought back, it will depend on if she fights extradition, Dakota County officials told BringMeTheNews.

“The most important thing to me is that they find the girls,” David Rucki said, according to Sun This Week. “I think Sandy’s in the place where she needs to be, where she can’t cause any more harm. Now we can concentrate on just trying to find those girls.”

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