A man accused of keeping his stepchildren locked in their bedrooms for nearly two years has been found incompetent to help in his defense.

Doctors appointed by a judge to determine whether Fernando Richter, who faces child abuse and kidnapping charges, is able to stand trial were split in their findings.

Because of that, Pima County Superior Court Judge Deborah Bernini ordered Richter be treated in Pima County Jail until he can be restored to competency and face trial.

Richter and his wife, Sophia Richter, stand accused of child abuse for holding Sophia Richter’s children from previous relationships in near-prison like conditions in their west side duplex.

Police reports and court documents say the couple kept the girls locked in their bedrooms rarely allowing them to bathe and only letting them out only to use the toilet.

The girls escaped in November and fled to neighbor’s house who called police.

Read more about the case here and here.

Contact reporter Patrick McNamara at 573-4241 or pmcnamara@azstarnet.com. On Twitter @pm929.