On May 16, 2005, the bodies of Brenda Groene (40), Mark McKenzie (37), and Brenda’s son Slade Groene (13) were found inside their rural home in the Wolf Bay area of Idaho. It was immediately determined that Brenda’s two youngest children, Shasta Groene (8) and Dylan Groene (9) were missing from the home, and an Amber Alert was issued while a search of the nearby area began.
It was determined that a home invader entered the home, tied and bludgeoned Brenda, Mark, and Slade, and abducted Shasta and Dylan. For 7 weeks, authorities worked on the few leads they had but made little progress in finding the missing children or determining who the offender was. Then, on July 2, 2005, Shasta was spotted with an unknown adult male at a Denny’s restaurant in Coeur D’Alene. Several diners and a waitress called the authorities and stopped the adult male from leaving the restaurant after recognizing Shasta from the slew of media coverage surrounding the case.
The man was identified as 42 year old Joseph Duncan III, a convicted sex offender originally from Tacoma, Wa. Shasta was able to tell the story of what happened to her and her brother. After the murder of their family members, they were taken to a makeshift campsite in rural Montana. They were repeatedly molested by Duncan during the ordeal. During their time at the campsite, Duncan shot Dylan in the head at point blank range with a shotgun, then burned the remains. On July 4th, 2005, after Shasta’s rescue, Dylan’s remains were found and identified by DNA.
In October 2006, Duncan pled guilty to 3 counts of murders and was sentenced to 3 consecutive life sentences. Shasta went to live with her father and unfortunately has had several run-ins with the law as she’s grown older.