Eight-year-old abduction victim Shasta Groene has been released from Idaho’s Kootenai Medical Center – five days after she was found at a restaurant with a convicted sex offender who allegedly took her and her 9-year-old brother, Dylan, from their home some seven weeks earlier, says Kootenai County sheriff’s Capt. Ben Wolfinger
Shasta’s father, Steve Groene, 48, tells the Associated Press that his daughter is doing well: “Certainly more than we could hope for. She’s very upbeat, she’s pretty healthy, she’s glad to be home.”
He also said that after leaving the hospital, Shasta would benefit from a large extended family. “This is all so incomprehensible,” he said. “It will take quite a lot of time for us to even realize what happened here.”
Shasta is believed to be the sole survivor among the five people in her home the night authorities allege Joseph Edward Duncan III appeared and bound the older family members.
Shasta’s 13-year-old brother Slade, her mother, Brenda, and her mother’s boyfriend, Mark McKenzie, were beaten to death. Their bodies were found May 16.
Brother Dylan was abducted with Shasta and is believed dead. Remains found at a remote western Montana campsite are being analyzed for positive identification.
Duncan, 42, is charged with two counts of first-degree kidnapping (a charge that can carry the death penalty in Idaho), and authorities have said they believe he was responsible for the attacks on the family. Sheriff Rocky Watson said he believes the motive was to acquire the children for sex.
Duncan’s first opportunity to enter a plea is expected to be at a preliminary hearing July 19.