ALEXANDRIA, Minn. – Minnesota authorities on Wednesday located two teenage sisters from Lakeville who have been missing for more than two years.
The girls were found at a horse farm in western Minnesota after police executed a search warrant, Lakeville police Lt. Jason Polinski told the Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1LmB61t ).
Gianna and Samantha Rucki, now 16 and 17 years old respectively, hadn't been seen in public since April 2013 after disappearing in a custody dispute. The girls' mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, was arrested last month in Florida but has declined to provide information on their whereabouts to investigators.
"Both Samantha and Gianna were found safe and in seemingly good health at the residence where the Search Warrant was executed," Lakeville police said in statement Wednesday. "The sisters will return to Dakota County where the unification process can begin."
Grazzini-Rucki is in the Dakota County jail after her arrest on charges of felony deprivation of parental rights.
In November 2013, a Dakota County judge granted the girls' father, David Rucki, full custody of his children.
Police believed an underground network of family court critics was hiding the Rucki sisters.
Polinski said evidence obtained from a search of a woman's home in St. Cloud led them to the White Horse Ranch. The woman is a supporter of the "Protective Parent" movement that argues the family courts are broken and frequently award custody to abusive parents.
On its website, the White Horse Ranch describes itself as a nonprofit where abused children and horses come together: "Broken children and hurting horses are able to bring each other to a place of healing through God's unconditional love."
Its founder and president is Gina Dahlen, who lives at the ranch with her husband Doug, according to the website.
A woman who answered Dahlen's phone Wednesday identified herself as someone with the family and told the Star Tribune: "We respectfully ask you to back off." Then she hung up.
The White Horse Ranch website went offline mid-afternoon Wednesday.
The father, David Rucki, said Wednesday that he wasn't ready to give a statement.
In an interview in April, Grazzini-Rucki denied having anything to do with her daughters' disappearance.
Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com