WEST COAST ONLY
"20/20" Reports on Two Teenage Sisters Who Disappeared for Two and a Half Years
"20/20" Airs Saturday, March 25 on ABC
Did a bitter divorce and custody battle drive two teenage sisters to disappear for two and a half years so that they would not end up living with their father, whom their mother alleged was abusive? Elizabeth Vargas' report airs on SATURDAY, MARCH 25 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT) on ABC.
Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and David Rucki's two teenage daughters vanished from their Minnesota home in April 2013. At the time, Sandra and David were embroiled in a contentious custody battle, with Sandra alleging that David had been physically abusive to her and the children. Police quickly suspected that Sandra knew more than she was saying about where her daughters were, but she insisted she had nothing to do with their disappearance.
Police then began to float an unusual theory: could Sandra have hidden her daughters away, with the help of a network of family court critics who believe judges routinely punish mothers who allege abuse by placing their children with dangerous fathers? Sandra was eventually arrested and charged with six felony counts of deprivation of parental rights. While in jail, her two daughters were discovered by police. The girls had been hiding for two and a half years, living on a rural horse farm in northern Minnesota.
"20/20" has exclusive television interviews with Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, the girls' mother who has now been convicted of the charges against her, and with their father, David Rucki. The hour also includes an interview with the owners of the horse-farm where the Rucki girls lived, who also faced charges. They talk about why they agreed to keep the girls for so long. Also interviewed is Sandra and David's oldest son, Nico, who tells a very different version of life inside the Rucki home. (Rebroadcast. ABC OAD: 4/8/16)
"20/20" is anchored by Elizabeth Vargas and David Muir. David Sloan is senior executive producer.