In 2005, Joseph Edward Duncan III massacred a family in Idaho

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It is one of the most horrific and tragic events in Idaho history.

In 2005, Joseph Edward Duncan III brutally murdered a Coeur d’Alene family, before kidnapping the two surviving children. It was an act of pure evil.

Joseph Edward Duncan was convicted of molesting two boys earlier in 2005.

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Joseph Edward Duncan III (Getty Images)

Joseph Edward Duncan’s criminal history began in Tacoma, more than two decades before he was finally incarcerated for good. In 1978, he sexually assaulted a young boy at gunpoint. Duncan was only 15 years old. This would begin a series of violent crimes of a sexual nature, which Duncan seemed to be very proud of. He told a therapist that by the age of 16 he had sexually abused more than a dozen young boys.

In 1980, Duncan was sentenced to 20 years in prison after kidnapping and sexually assaulting a teenager in Tacoma. He had also stolen firearms from nearby homes. Duncan would be released for six years in early 1994. Duncan is believed to have killed three people while still on parole, including two young girls from Seattle. He will return to prison in 1997 to be released again in 2000. They should have kept him behind bars.

When Duncan was released in 2000, he moved to North Dakota. He was in police custody again in 2005, when he was charged with assaulting two boys while in Minnesota. After being released on bail, Duncan left town and a federal warrant was issued. While traveling through Idaho, Duncan spotted two children playing in the yard. He would inspect the house.

A family was brutally murdered near Cour d’Alene, Idaho.

Missing Idaho girl found after six weeks

Groene family home. (Getty Images)

On May 16, 2005, Brenda Groene, her boyfriend Mark McKenzie and Brenda’s son Slade were found murdered in their home near Cour d’Alene. Two children were missing. The house had been broken into in the middle of the night.

The nation held its breath as the search for Shasta and Dylan Groene began.

Missing Idaho girl found after six weeks

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Shasta says she and her older brother Dylan were lucky they never saw their family murdered, having been taken away in a red Jeep Cherokee moments before. It was six long weeks on the road with their abuser, as Shasta and Dylan were victims of multiple 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?

Missing Idaho girl found after six weeks

Duncan’s rental car. (Getty Images)

Nearly two months after her family was murdered, eight-year-old Shasta Groene was seen in a Cour d’Alene restaurant with a grown man. Employees of the local Denny’s acknowledged that Shasta and Duncan were arrested.

How was Shasta Groene saved?

Missing Idaho girl found after six weeks

Shasta Groene (Getty Images)

Shasta was nearly murdered herself. According to accounts, after killing Dylan, Duncan gave him two choices: death by gunshot or death by strangulation. She begged Duncan, calling him by his nickname until he stopped. He took Shasta back to Cour d’Alene, where she would be rescued and returned to her biological father.

What happened to Joseph Edward Duncan?

Joseph Duncan agrees to plea deal in Groene murder case

Duncan appears in court. (Getty Images)

Joseph Edward Duncan was convicted on multiple counts, spanning multiple states. He would be sentenced to three federal death sentences. He died in 2021 from glioblastoma while still in prison. Duncan was 58 years old. 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 tormented Shasta. In 2019, she disappeared with her two sons but was found safe. The previous year, she had pleaded guilty to two counts of injuring a child. She was said to be working on a book about her experiences with author Jamie Sedlmayer.

Joseph Edward Duncan is one of many evil people from Washington. Fortunately, we no longer have to worry about these men on the loose.

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