Pure Evil: Washington Serial Killer Was Killing in 2005, Murdered Idaho Family
It's one of the most horrific and tragic events in Idaho's history.
In 2005, Joseph Edward Duncan III brutally murdered a Coeur d'Alene family, before kidnapping the surviving two children. It was an act of pure evil.
Joseph Edward Duncan was convicted of molesting two boys earlier in 2005.
Joseph Edward Duncan's criminal history began in Tacoma, more than two decades before he was finally put away for good. In 1978, he sexually assaulted a young boy at gunpoint. Duncan was only 15 years old. This would begin a span of violent crimes of a sexual nature, something Duncan seemed to take great pride in. He told a therapist that by the time he was 16, he had sexually assaulted more than a dozen young boys.
In 1980, Duncan was sentenced to 20 years in prison after he kidnapped and sexually assaulted a teenage boy in Tacoma. He had also stolen guns from nearby homes. Duncan would be released six years early in 1994. It is believed that Duncan killed three people while still on parole, including two young Seattle girls. He would return to prison in 1997 only to be released again in 2000. They should have kept him behind bars.
When Duncan was released in 2000, he would move to North Dakota. He was again in police custody in 2005, when he was accused of molesting two boys while in Minnesota. After being bailed out, Duncan skipped town and a federal warrant was issued. While traveling through Idaho, Duncan spotted two children playing in the yard. He would survey the home.
One family was left brutally murdered near Cour d'Alene, Idaho.
On May 16, 2005, Brenda Groene, boyfriend Mark McKenzie, and Brenda's son Slade were found murdered in their home near Cour d'Alene. Two children were nowhere to be found. The home had been broken into in the middle of the night.
The nation held its breath as the search for Shasta and Dylan Groene began.
Shasta says she and her older brother Dylan were fortunate to have never seen their family's murder, having been whisked away to a red Jeep Cherokee moments before. It was a long six weeks on the road with their abuser, as Shasta and Dylan were subjected to multiple instances of sexual abuse. Dylan was tragically murdered, having been shot in the stomach and head, although Duncan claims the first shotgun blast was an accident.
How did Joseph Edward Duncan get caught?
Nearly two months after the murder of her family, eight-year-old Shasta Groene was seen in a Cour d'Alene restaurant with an adult man. Employees at the local Denny's recognized Shasta and Duncan was arrested.
How was Shasta Groene rescued?
Shasta was nearly murdered herself. According to testimony, after killing Dylan, Duncan gave her two choices: death by gun or death by strangulation. She pleaded with Duncan, calling him by his nickname until he stopped. He drove Shasta back to Cour d'Alene, where she would be rescued and returned to her biological father.
What happened to Joseph Edward Duncan?
Joseph Edward Duncan was convicted of several charges, spanning multiple states. He would be given three federal death sentences. He died in 2021 from glioblastoma while still in prison. Duncan was 58. After his death, Shasta said, "Today, I woke up feeling like my soul was finally free."
Where is Shasta Groene today?
The traumatic events of her childhood have plagued Shasta. In 2019, she went missing along with her two sons but was found safe. The year before, she pleaded guilty to two counts of injury to a child. She was said to be working on a book about her experiences with author Jamie Sedlmayer.
Joseph Edward Duncan is one of several evil people to have originated from Washington. Thankfully, we don't have to worry about these men roaming free anymore.