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Evidence examined in Idaho kidnapping

Officials release 911 calls that led to arrest, girl's discovery

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Missing Children
Idaho

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (CNN) -- Idaho investigators have completed their scrutiny of a vehicle used by a registered sex offender charged with kidnapping an 8-year-old girl six weeks ago, a spokesman for the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department said Sunday.

Capt. Ben Wolfinger said evidence from the stolen red 2005 Jeep Laredo had been sent to the FBI for further analysis.

Shasta Groene disappeared along with her 9-year-old brother, Dylan, on May 16, when authorities discovered a triple homicide at their mother's home in Coeur d'Alene.

Shasta was found at 2 a.m. Saturday at a Coeur d'Alene Denny's restaurant in the company of Joseph Edward Duncan III, 42, convicted of raping a 14-year-old boy in 1980.

Dylan has not been found, and Wolfinger said information has led investigators to conclude he is dead.

"It's been very bittersweet in the last 24 hours," he said.

Finding Dylan "one way or another" is now the department's No. 1 priority, Wolfinger said.

The children's father, Steve Groene, was reunited with Shasta on Saturday afternoon at the Kootenai Medical Center, where she was taken "as a precautionary measure," Wolfinger said.

Groene, who was out of town when his daughter was found, told authorities he would not speak to the news media, Wolfinger said.

Earlier, authorities released tapes of two 911 calls -- one from a customer at the Denny's and one from the restaurant's manager -- reporting the presence of a girl they thought might be Shasta.

"I just have something to tell you," the male customer said. "I'm sitting down here at Denny's, and there is a little girl that just walked in that looks exactly like that Shasta girl."

The 911 operator asked if the girl was still inside, and the customer answered, "Yes, she is, and she's with an older man."

In the other tape, Denny's manager Linda Olson said, "I have got a little girl here with a tall gentleman, and she looks so much like that, ah, Shasta?"

She described the man as 6 feet 3 inches tall with dark curly hair and "really slim."

Wolfinger said the 40 investigators who worked the case in May have been brought back to follow up on "all those leads that we've established in the last 24 hours."

Shasta's discovery raised a number of questions, Wolfinger said.

"Where have Duncan and Shasta been for the last six weeks?" he asked. "Was Duncan involved in the triple homicide? Was anyone else involved? If so, who and where are they?"

According to authorities, the children's mother, 40-year-old Brenda Groene, another brother, 13-year-old Slade, and their mother's 37-year-old boyfriend, Mark McKenzie, were found bound and bludgeoned to death.

Duncan is scheduled to appear in court in connection with kidnapping charges Tuesday at 2 p.m.

The vehicle he was driving was reported stolen in early May in St. Paul, Minnesota The license plates on the vehicle were stolen in Newton County, Missouri, a few days before.

Criminal background

When he was 16, Duncan was convicted of raping a 14-year-old boy at gunpoint in 1980 in Pierce County, Washington, and was charged in March with child molestation almost a year ago in Minnesota.

He was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the rape conviction, and began his sentence in a treatment program. After he was terminated from the program, he served his sentence in prison until he was released on parole in 1994.

Duncan returned to prison three years later for a parole violation. He served the remainder of his term and was released on July 14, 2000.

A week later, he was in Fargo, North Dakota, preparing to enter North Dakota State University -- nearly 1,000 miles east of Coeur d'Alene.

On his personal Web site at the school, Duncan claimed he was an honor student studying computer science and said he expected to graduate in May. But NDSU spokesman David Wahlberg said Duncan did not graduate. (Full story)

A second arrest in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota -- about 45 miles east of Fargo -- on May 5, 2005, may have had something to do with that.

Duncan had been under investigation since late July 2004 for an incident involving two boys near a middle school in Becker County, Minnesota.

Since then, he often expressed anger at being considered a suspect whenever anything happened nearby. He was especially incensed when police raided his home, taking his computer and other items.

The Detroit Lakes Police Department issued a warrant for his arrest March 5. He was released on bail April 5, but soon after Detroit Lakes was looking for him again, this time for violating his terms of release.

He apparently was no longer living at his last listed address in Fargo, and both the North Dakota and Washington state registries of sex offenders listed him as delinquent.

In a Web log Duncan maintained, he portrays himself as increasingly paranoid and nervous, particularly after Detroit Lakes police filed charges against him. His Web log, or blog, contained a declaration of innocence.

On May 11 -- two days before he was to have graduated from NDSU -- a post entitled "The Demons Have Taken Over" contained information on Duncan having lived most of his adult life in prison -- and seemed to indicate that he had gotten away with other crimes.

"I am scared, alone, and confused, and my reaction is to strike out toward the perceived source of my misery, society," it said. "My intent is to harm society as much as I can, then die."

The blog took issue with the sex-offender classification, saying Duncan's 1980 offense was the result of abuse he endured as a child.

"I thought it was normal," the blog reads.

Duncan also ran a Web site called "Fifthnail.com," on which he claimed in a mission statement "that State Sanctioned Discrimination serves no public interest and in fact creates an even more dangerous class of criminals by denying x-convicts a place in our society, forcing them to feel like outcasts with little to loose [sic]."

Fifthnail.com was no longer operational; CNN located archived copies of some pages.

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