Joseph Edward Duncan III is the murderer and kidnapper who attacked a Wolf Lodge Bay family in May 2005.
Kootenai County deputies discovered three dead on May 16, 2005. Brenda Groene, 40; her fiance Mark McKenzie, 37; and her son, Slade Groene, 13, were bludgeoned to death. An Amber Alert was issued the next day for Brenda Groene’s two youngest children, 9-year-old Dylan Groene and 8-year-old Shasta Groene.
The murders and children’s disappearance launched the biggest investigative effort in Kootenai County’s history, at one point involving more than 100 FBI personnel and more than 80 investigators from several other agencies.
Shortly before 2 a.m. on July 2, Shasta was recognized by workers and patrons at the Denny’s in Coeur d’Alene, and her kidnapper, Duncan, was arrested without incident.
Duncan, 42 at the time, was a federal fugitive and a Tacoma native who had spent much of his adult life in Washington state prisons for sex crimes against children. He was on the run from a child molestation charge in Minnesota when he drove past the Groene home on Interstate 90 east of Coeur d’Alene and spotted Shasta and Dylan playing outside.
Over the July 4 weekend, investigators found Dylan Groene’s remains at a campsite near St. Regis, Mont.
On Oct. 16, 2005, Duncan pleaded guilty to three counts of kidnapping and three counts of murder in the deaths of Brenda Groene, Mark McKenzie and Slade Groene. He was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences for the kidnappings. The sentences for the murders were undecided, pending federal prosecution.
More than two years later, after numerous legal delays and psychiatric evaluations, Duncan acted as his own lawyer as he pleaded guilty to 10 federal counts, including the kidnapping of the two children and Dylan’s murder, on Dec. 3, 2007.
On Aug. 27, 2008, a federal jury sentenced Duncan to death. The decision ended the state’s earlier case, with a judge imposing three more life sentences for those murders. Later, Duncan was given three more life sentences, for a total of nine, for his federal crimes.
Duncan pleaded guilty in the death of Anthony Martinez, a 10-year-old California boy, adding his 10th life sentence on March 15, 2011. Duncan has also been linked to the 1996 slayings of two young half-sisters in Seattle.
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25 trouble-free years end
July 10, 2005 in Idaho on Page A13 DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – It was at a school playground in a rural Minnesota town where Joseph Edward Duncan III is believed to have resumed his criminal sexual behavior nearly …
Duncan case goes into prosecution
July 9, 2005 in City on Page A1 A dramatic week of revelations in the Groene killings and missing children’s case ended quietly with officials protecting remaining details of the investigation for upcoming court proceedings. Those court proceedings …
Groenes picked at random
July 8, 2005 in Idaho on Page A1 Authorities are now backing what some kin of the triple-homicide victims thought all along – that the killer had picked the Groene family at random for his crimes. Sheriff Rocky …
‘We have the right guy’
July 7, 2005 in Idaho on Page A1 Investigators linked Joseph Edward Duncan III Wednesday to the slaying of Shasta Groene’s family, saying the convicted sex offender is the only person responsible for the killings and the kidnapping …
Board found Duncan not a threat
July 7, 2005 in City on Page A4 Fifteen years ago, Washington drew both fire and praise for its civil commitment law, which allows the state to hold violent sex predators even after they’ve served their prison sentences. …
Victims’ father wants sex predators off the streets
July 7, 2005 in Idaho on Page A1 Steve Groene called on the public Wednesday to lobby their congressmen, their senators and “even the president” to keep sexual predators off the streets. “People need to start complaining to …
The Scene: Remains thought to be Dylan’s lay at remote Montana camp
July 6, 2005 in Idaho on Page A1 ST. REGIS, Mont. – The dead end of a nameless, nearly overgrown logging road deep in the backcountry of Western Montana is believed to be the site where investigators found …
Duncan’s History: By age 17 he fit definition of a ”sexual psychopath”
July 6, 2005 in City on Page A1 TACOMA – Long before Joseph Edward Duncan III crossed paths with the two Idaho children he’s now accused of kidnapping, it was clear that something was seriously wrong with him. …
Chilling details emerge
Investigation turns to Dylan
July 4, 2005 in Idaho on Page A1 With a suspect in custody and one kidnapping victim safe at Kootenai Medical Center, investigators are sorting through a “mountain” of new evidence in an effort to find 9-year-old Dylan …
Dad says reunion a high point of life
July 4, 2005 in Idaho on Page A1 Steve Groene says being united with his daughter, Shasta, on Saturday was “one of the happiest moments of my life.” Groene made his comments during an exclusive interview with Fox …
Shasta must overcome grief, trauma
July 4, 2005 in Idaho on Page A6 Now that Shasta Groene has been found, the 8-year-old has the dual challenge of overcoming intense grief over her loss, and her exposure to violence, according to victims’ advocates. “Often …
July 3, 2005 in Idaho on Page A1 Shasta Groene, missing for more than six weeks from a grisly murder scene near Wolf Lodge Bay, was found alive and safe Saturday, but her brother, Dylan, was still missing …
Tense late-night drama ends quietly, safely
July 3, 2005 in Idaho on Page A10 Customers and workers at the Denny’s Restaurant in Coeur d’Alene where Shasta Groene was rescued early Saturday say they tried to stay calm during the moments before police arrived, despite …
‘My intent is to harm … then die’
July 3, 2005 in Idaho on Page A1 Joseph E. Duncan III, the man found Saturday with 8-year-old Shasta Groene, was a promising computer science student with a dark secret: He was on the run from sex crimes …
Suspect created Web log
July 3, 2005 in Idaho on Page A10 Joseph Edward Duncan III, the man accused of kidnapping 8-year-old Shasta Groene and a registered sex offender, was the apparent author of a blog, or Web journal, that began in …
Deaths spur change in Groene son
June 29, 2005 in Idaho on Page B1 The possibility that drugs were a factor in the slaying of his mother and younger brother has Jesse Groene wanting to go straight, he told Judge John Mitchell in court …
Dad’s Day wish is for kids’ return
Firm offers billboards to help search
June 3, 2005 in City on Page B3 Three billboards in the Inland Northwest are being donated by Lamar Advertising to display photos and descriptions of the two missing children from North Idaho. Authorities continue to follow leads …