Gina and Doug Dahlen Sentenced to One Year in Jail


Gina and Doug Dahlen (Photo Credit:

Gina Dahlen and Doug Dahlen became one of the first third party accomplices to get jail time for their part in the teenager family abduction of Sandra Grazzini’s children.

During the Sentencing Hearing, their was chilling testimony by the father and the aunt about the lack of medical care provided to the teenager girls while they were underground.

As part of their sentencing, the Dahlens are prohibited from having non familial minor children stay overnight at their home.

According to, “Judge Asphaug commended David Rucki for the pragmatic, practical, hands on realistic loving way he set about being a Dad to five children whose lives were turned upside down. She ended simply by saying “thank you.”

The decision by Doug and Gina Dahlen to plead guilty ensured that Assistant Dakota County Attorney Kathy Kenna successfully prosecuted all of the people criminally charged related to the disappearance of the Rucki sisters.

Editor’s Note: The successful prosecution by Dakota County Attorney Kathy Kenna ending in 2017 is a new criminal prosecution standard for Parental Kidnapping Cases. We applaud her efforts! We encourage other prosecutors with Family Abduction Cases to review her legal work.

We also praise the efforts and patience of the father and his family in this case who have endured so much. We admire everything he and his family have done.

For more information, see


4 Responses to Gina and Doug Dahlen Sentenced to One Year in Jail

  1. Margo/Mom says:

    Certainly not inappropriate. However, is it not a more severe sentence than the mother got?

    • underwatch says:

      Margo, These jail sentences in the U.S. are usually difficult to decipher. By the time the criminal case is finally adjudicated, the defendant usually serves a number of days in jail so they get credit for that time served. After the sentencing trial, the convicted parental kidnapper usually servers a number of months to years in jail and is released on parole/probation. However, with the Sandra Grazzini-Rucki case, the judge ordered Sandra to serve her sentence in increments over a number of years. Here’s our summary of each defendant and their sentencing.

      Sandra Rucki: Sentenced 250 days in jail; 6 years probation, Sentence served in 15-day increments for next 6 years; $1,888 in jail fines; $10,000 restitution

      Dede Evavold: Sentenced 180 days in jail; 8 yeas probation; Part of Sentence served in 12-day increments for 8 years; $1,888 in jail fines; $10,000 restitution; Prohibited from having any contact with minor children

      Doug and Gina Dahlen: Sentenced to 365 days in jail; Sentenced stayed pending 2 year probation period; Serve 31 days in jail; 8 years probation; $1,884 in jail fines; $10,000 restitution; Prohibited for 2 years from having non familial minor children stay overnight at their home.

      • Margo/Mom says:

        Thank you, that’s helpful. Reading elsewhere I see that the “horse therapy” being provided at the ranch was wholly unlicensed, unaccredited, provided by people (the Dahlens) having no background/training in those areas. Now, apparently the ranch is up for sale owing to unrelated issues (money that Doug Dahlen owes to a former wife) so they are not likely to be doing anything purporting to be therapeutic with horses for awhile. And that is a good thing.

        I did read elsewhere, however, that the two girls (now young women) were medically neglected during their stay, and in fact at least one of them had to undergo reparative surgery (I am wondering if there was an untreated injury–possibly horse-related, but also would want to rule out corporal punishment) as a result of the medical neglect. Now, I don’t know what charges may have been diminished or dropped as part of the deal to get their testimony against Sandra. But I am very concerned about the potential for them to harm other children, particularly since they have defined their life mission in relation to children who have been harmed by abuse–a very vulnerable group, easy to take advantage of.

        I recall during their 20/20 interview they seemed to indicate that not only were they well-known in town/church, etc but locals seemed willing to accept their cover story that they were protecting the girls from an abusive home situation (and likely the attendant garbage that LE/social workers/court system, etc were all corrupt and part of perpetuating the abuse). I suspect there are other potential charges in relation to these two, and I worry about their potential to simply move on and set up shop elsewhere.

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