Triple Homicide, Double Kidnapping: What Happened To The Groene Family?
Over 15 years after her family was murdered and she was abducted from her home, Shasta Groene shares her story.
Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from "People Magazine Investigates: Groene Family Massacre")
In May 2005, a triple homicide and double kidnapping shocked the community of Kootenai County, Idaho.
Brenda Groene, 40, her boyfriend Mark McKenzie, 37, and her 13-year-old son, Slade, were found bound with duct tape and brutally beaten to death in their Wolf Lodge home. When investigators arrived, they noticed Brenda’s other two children, 8-year-old Shasta and 9-year-old Dylan, were not in the home.
At first, they thought the children must have been staying with their father, or had run out of the home to escape the killer, but after talking to family and searching over 400 acres of land looking for the missing children, their concern grew.
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Days turned into weeks as local law enforcement, along with the FBI, continued the search for the children and the killer. Two months into the investigation, in July 2005, a waitress at a Denny’s in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho noticed a young girl sitting at a table with a middle-aged man. When she went to take their order, she immediately recognized that the situation seemed odd.
The girl looked like she hadn’t been bathed in a while and the man wouldn’t take his eyes off of her. The waitress also recognized that the girl resembled Shasta, who had been all over the news. She told her manager, who called the police. Shortly after, the police arrived and arrested convicted sex offender Joseph E. Duncan.
While Shasta had survived 48 days held captive by Duncan, police soon found out that her brother, sadly, had not. Shasta told police that Duncan shot Dylan to death in front of her.
Later, police also found out that Duncan had randomly driven by the Groene’s home, where he saw Shasta and Dylan playing in the yard. Then he stalked the family, making his plan to break into the home and kidnap the children.
With Shasta's help, investigators were able to dig deep into her captor's past, which revealed more children that fell victim to this serial killer's twisted mind and mission to exact revenge on society.
To hear from Shasta about what she went through at the hands of Duncan and how she survived it all, stream People Magazine Investigates: Groene Family Massacre on discovery+.