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Shasta Groene, the sole survivor of her family’s massacre

After having her entire family killed by a sexual predator, Shasta Groene was kidnapped and raped for 47 days.

Shasta Groene, age 8, was living with her mother Brenda, her stepfather Mark, and her two brothers, 13-year-old Slade Groene and 9-year-old Dylan Groene.

There is not much information about the family’s routine, but it is believed that they had a normal life. However, everything began to change a few days before the crime, when a sexual predator began stalking the family.

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Massacre and kidnapping at the Groene residence

On May 16, 2005, Joseph Duncan, aged 42, broke into the house armed with a revolver and a hammer, and under threats, ordered the two adults in the house to gather all family members into one room.

So Shasta Groene was suddenly awakened by her mother, who took her and all the other members of the family into one of the rooms. Soon afterwards he began to tie everyone up, so they could not react.

But Joseph was completely out of control, and in one sudden move and without any warning, he shot Brenda, Mark and also Slade, Shasta’s older brother.

After killing the family in front of Shasta and Dylan, he took the two children to his car and drove to the state of Montana.

Joseph Duncan settled in a camp that did not even have electricity, at an estimated distance of 155 mi (250 km) from the Groene family home.

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This would be just the beginning of the 47 days that Shasta and her brother would be held captive, being sexually abused every day, eating very few meals, and sleeping inside their kidnapper’s car.

The Groene brothers.

On May 17, after one of the neighbors found the family’s disappearance strange, he went to Groene’s house. When he got there, he found the door open and decided to go inside, but the scene he witnessed was cruel. Quickly the police were activated and issued an Amber Alert throughout the country.

An Amber Alert is a message distributed by a child abduction alert system to ask the public for help in finding abducted children. (…) In the United States, Amber alerts are distributed via commercial and public radio stations, Internet radio, satellite radio, television stations, text messages, and cable TV.

Source: Wikipedia

Death of Dylan Groene

Joseph Duncan offered only canned fruit for the children to eat, and Sasha Groene even claimed that he once tied her to a tree and returned only two days later to set her free.

One morning, Joseph lied to the children that he would take them home. They were very happy and hugged each other, but the moment Dylan turned away from his sister, Joseph shot him in the stomach. When the boy fell to the ground, Joseph made sure to shoot him in the head to make sure that he would die.

Shasta was in shock, but even so her kidnapper forced her to drag her brother’s body and forced her to set him on fire. This episode created a great trauma in the girl, who could not speak for a few days due to the trauma, only responding to Joseph with nods.

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She tells in a deposition that she was extremely afraid of Joseph, and since he moved camp every two or three days it was impossible for her to have contact with other people and be able to ask for help.

The girl began to agree with everything the kidnapper proposed, and became convinced that Dylan’s death was just an accident, as he said. She felt that he could hurt her at any moment if he didn’t like her.

One day, Joseph told Shasta that she should choose what her death would be like, and to do this he would give her two options: a shot in the head or death by asphyxiation.

Shasta Groene still had the memory of her brother’s death, so she chose to die by suffocation. At this point Joseph went out to look for a rope, and when he returned he climbed on top of Shasta and began to hang her.

Shasta quickly fainted, she says that at that moment she was able to see her mother telling her that this was not her time and that she should come back to life. Suddenly the girl regained consciousness and realized that Joseph was crying next to her, he said that he was not able to kill her because she called him Jet, her childhood nickname.

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Shasta’s courage saved her life

That same day, Joseph asked the girl if she wanted to meet his mother, she said yes, and they boarded the car, leaving the camp behind.

They stopped at a gas station in the middle of the road, Shasta and her kidnapper were seen through the convenience store’s CCTV.

CCTV of the convenience store.

On June 2, Joseph took Shasta to lunch at a restaurant on the road. By then the Amber Alert had already spread several posters and billboards with Shasta and Dylan’s picture all over the region.

Outside the restaurant there were two men smoking, Shasta in an act of courage made intense eye contact with them, who quickly recognized her and alerted the restaurant managers.

The police were called, and for the next ten minutes the waitress, whose name was curiously Amber, kept the two customers busy. She offered milk shake and French fries for the girl, as well as bringing coloring pencils and drawing sheets. Joseph didn’t suspect anything.

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Finally arrested

As soon as the police entered the establishment, Joseph realized that this was the end and did not resist arrest. The authorities asked Shasta what her name was, at which point she looked very afraid at her kidnapper, but he said that she could tell the truth.

Background and sentencing

In 1980, when he was only 16 years old, Joseph Duncan was sentenced to 20 years in jail for threatening with a revolver and raping a 14-year-old boy. He served time until 1994, when he was paroled, and then faced new charges.

Joseph Duncan at trial. / Photo: Reproduction.

All of his cases are linked to pedophilia, a crime also committed against Shasta and Dylan. After pleading guilty to the sexual abuse and murders, he was sentenced to death in 2008. He also kept a blog on the internet, where he anonymously described his routine as a sex offender and how much pleasure it gave him.

The date of the execution, however, remains open. In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Duncan to be reheard by the courts. Joseph reported in testimony that he was also a victim of rape during his childhood.

The perpetrator did not live near the Groene family and it was never clear why he chose those victims. Shasta claims that two or three days before it all happened, he had been watching her and her brother playing in the yard.

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17 thoughts on “Shasta Groene, the sole survivor of her family’s massacre”

  1. I ALSO LUV TO READ ABOUT CRIMES AND LEARN WHY THEY HAPPENED I HAVE TONSVL OF BOOKS ABOUT THEM THANK YOU FOR SHARING!

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  2. How is she doing today. I pray that the nightmare does not haunt her still. Such a horrific thing she has had to endure and live with.

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    • Last I knew, she had fallen into some bad behavior between about 12-14 years old, and was using drugs, until she got sent to a juvenile facility and got sober, but then I I know when she was 20 or 21, she had gotten into meth again and had been charged with some things like child endangerment, or something along those lines, for having a 1 year old and a rather small baby in close proximity of meth. The judge was very lenient on her, given her past and only gave her probation and a suspended jail sentence. She violated her probation, but they refused to incarcerate her again. I’m not sure if she’s finally sober and well not, but I think I remember that she was writing a book and wanted to visit Joseph in prison before his death, I’m not sure if she ever did though.

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  3. I have often wondered how this poor child is doing. Such a horrible crime. I pray she is able to overcome this traumatic incident

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    • She is in Nampa Idaho which is about 7 hours south of where her family was murdered and she and her brother was kidnapped in 2004.
      She actually ended up in drug rehab, as a teen. Still has issues with illegal drugs. And has two boys, both toddlers (as of 2022).
      She was actually featured on a missing and endangered poster in Nampa ID a few months back.
      https://www.idahostatesman.com/news/article226692334.html

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  4. Why did the powers that be feel this monster should be let out on parole after raping and threatening a 14 year old boy, at only 16 himself. Clearly he has problems and should not have been paroled. I laws must change to protect victims not the criminal.

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  5. Anyone who thinks abortion should be made illegal needs to know this story. At age 8, some girls menstruate and get pregnant. If this girl had gotten pregnant by this monster with the current Supreme Court moving in its direction she’d be forced to have the child or face worse criminal charges than him. That’s the misogyny of our screwed up system. So think about that the next time you vote on the subject. Remember the 4 Ohio abductions? 2 pregnancies in captivity there. Horrible.

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    • Seriously? That’s what you think of when you read this? Killing someone else? The only person that should be being talked about, in terms of murdering, should be this disgusting pedophile. You have problems. She didn’t get pregnant, so why bring your political mumbo jumbo here? Abortion is wrong on so many levels. There are very few cases where abortion is necessary & that is when it is life threatening to continue the pregnancy or birth. Have you had an abortion? If not, you don’t have the right to speak knowledgeably about it. If you have, you should pray.

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      • Only time I agree with abortion is when a woman was raped. If you have unprotected sex (no matter what your age) and you fall pregnant,yoú are responsible for not keeping your legs closed. But rape is another subject when it comes to abortion.

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