Shasta Groene Details Kidnapping Ordeal
The 8-year-old says her captor molested her and missing brother Dylan
Shasta Groene, the 8-year-old rescued from a wanted sex offender on Saturday morning in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, has told police that Joseph Edward Duncan III was the man who entered her home, tied up her family and took her and her 9-year-old brother, Dylan, to at least two remote campsites, PEOPLE reports in its upcoming issue.
The little girl also says her captor repeatedly molested her and Dylan – who authorities believe was killed, according to court papers filed July 5.
Shasta was found at a Denny’s restaurant, where a waitress spotted her having breakfast with Duncan. Shasta’s mother, Brenda Groene, 40; her boyfriend, Mark McKenzie, 37; and Shasta’s brother Slade McKenzie, 13 (one of Groene’s five children), were found killed in their home. The three victims had been bound and beaten to death.
On Monday, two days after Shasta’s rescue, police – acting on tips – also discovered human remains in western Montana. DNA tests will show if they are Dylan’s.
At his court hearing Tuesday, Duncan gulped, sniffled and finally wept as a district court judge arraigned him on two felony counts of kidnapping with intent to commit rape – one each for Shasta and Dylan – and ordered him held without bail, PEOPLE reports. In Idaho, the charges, if convicted, could lead to the death penalty.
For now, investigators are gently questioning Shasta, who is being kept for observation at the Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur d’Alene. It was there that she was reunited with her father, Steve Groene, who works at a recycling center.
Spokesmen for the FBI and Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office tell the Associated Press that they are balancing concerns for her well-being with the needs of the investigation, but it will be a medical decision when she will be released.
Despite her ordeal, Shasta is “thrilled” by the deluge of stuffed animals sent to her by well-wishers, her great-aunt Sue Torres tells PEOPLE. “The whole room is full, and she just beams.”