Most District Attorneys in the United States have never prosecuted a Parental Kidnapping or Family Abduction Case. In 2016-17, Dakota County Minnesota Prosecutor Kathryn Keena prosecuted Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, Dede Evavold, Gina Dahlen and Doug Dahlen for Felony Deprivation of Child Custody. All four were found guilty and received jail sentences. Judge Karen Asphaug also sentenced Sandra Rucki and the Dahlens to jail time in day increments over a range of years. If there is any punishment that would be more appropriate for this type of crime is this form of sentencing. It allows the local Probation Department to more closely monitor the defendant after they are released from jail and results in protecting the victims of this crime.
In Parental Kidnapping cases, after the kidnapper is released from jail, in a number of cases the convicted protective parent attempted to snatch-back the child or commit the crime again. Since the convicted parental kidnapper normally goes back to Family Court to re-start the custody litigation, it provides the best possible scenario for the protective parent de-escalating the conflict. Although we have not yet seen that with Sandra Grazzini — we have seen it with other convicted protective moms. They eventually abide by the Custody Orders and make the most of their custody time with their children.
This type of sentencing should also help to motivate a recovered adult-child kidnapped to reunify with the left-behind parent. Although no court could order a reunification — all of us in the Family Abduction Community believe that Judges, Probation Officers, Parole Officers, Child Psychiatrists, Child Psychologists should encourage the convicted protective parent to support the reunification in these cases. We’ve seen in some cases the adult-child that was kidnapped is concealed even after the protective parent was arrested and convicted. The left-behind parent is never reunified with their kidnapped child.
Eventually, we would like to see harsher Family Abduction Laws in both America and other Countries. Until that time, any prosecutor that is assigned a Family Abduction Case should review this case.
Congrats to Dakota County Prosecutor Kathryn Keena and Dakota County for their efforts and results in this case!
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 http://www.missinginminnestota.com, “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 www.missinginminesota.com
The story of convicted parental kidnappers Gina and Doug Dahlen and their White House Ranch facility in Hermann, Minnesota continues to unfold. The ranch is currently up for sale and it has recently been disclosed that the ranch is part of the assets of the divorce between Doug Dahlen and his former spouse. The Dahlens apparently now have to sell the ranch as part of his divorce settlement.
The Dahhlen’s held Sandra Grazzini’s teenage children for 944 days with full knowledge there was a nationwide missing children’s search for these children. Let’s hope on May 2nd when the Dahlens are sentenced that they make a public apology for their actions. If they do so, that should go a very long ways towards deterring others from committing this crime. If they do no provide this apology, then they deserve to do the time in prison. It’s important that our criminal justice system send a strong message that our nation’s courts will not tolerate parental kidnapping or family abduction. #stopfamilyabduction #stopteenagerfamilyabudction
Gina Dahlen and Scott Dahlen, the owners of White Horse Ranch in Hermann, Minnesota plead guilty to one count of depravation of parental rights for their role in the Teenager Family Abduction of the Rucki girls
Both of the Dahlens admitted in court that they knew the teenagers’ father had been awarded custody of all five of his children in November 2013. The girls were held for 942 days. The Dahlens admitted they knew he had custody and failed to contact the father or law enforcement. The Dahlens had been charged with six felony counts.
It is unclear of the Dahlens were charged with a Felony. They testified against both Sandra Rucki and Dede Evavold.
Gina and Doug Dahlen will be sentenced on April 3, 2017 at the Dakota County Judicial Center in Hastings, Minnesota.
The horse did not plead guilty.
One of the very oldest cases the Family Abduction Watch Editors have followed over the past 20 years has breaking news. The YATES girls have been found! This father has posted on our website a number of times over the past several decades in his search to find his children. Today, we are happy for this searching parents and will be even happier when we hear that the now adult children have reunified with him.
The Yates case represents one of the first cases cited by Children of the Underground Attorney Alan D. Rosenfeld and Garnett Harrison of Harrison & Rosenfled out of Montpellier, Vermont in the ’80s. Because of Attorney Rosenfeld and Garnett Harrison’s possible involvement in this case, it has been a long-time belief that Faye Yager aided in this abduction. This parental kidnapping took place out of nearby Rhode Island and had all the case history of protective parent/underground cases. It is believed by many in the Family Abduction Community that the Underground was started by Garnett Harrison with the Dorrie Sigley and Karen Newsome Cases.
Since authorities are now prosecuting Elaine Yates, is it possible that third party conspirator Faye Yager could be indicted? More on this later!
In Parental Kidnapping cases, some parental abductors may not be prosecuted by the criminal court to spare the victim children and victim parent of having to go through a public criminal trial. In these cases where the charges are dismissed or dropped, that doesn’t mean that the defendant was not guilty, it just means that the defendant was not prosecuted. The Family Court cannot ignore the parental kidnapping or any violation of court orders. After a kidnapping, the Family Court Judge is faced with having to decide what is in the “best interests of the children”. And if the protective mom is unable move away from any allegations and demonstrate to the court she can coparent, then it’s unlikely that mom will ever have unsupervised visitation or joint custody ever again. The noncustodial mom must work toward regaining her credibility with the Family Court.
In cases such as with Sandra Rucki, the protective mom will be out exercising her First Amendment Free Speech Rights by talking to the media and plastering her children’s photos all over the Internet. It’s the same unfounded story we heard before and during the kidnapping. It doesn’t take much common sense for most of us to realize that NONE of these children want this. NO teenager or young children, wants their photos in the mainstream media or on the Internet for their peers to see.
Unfortunately, most mainstream media reporters are easily fooled and will not respect the rights of the minor children. In Juvenile Court Proceedings in most states, these hearings are behind closed doors. But in Family Law Cases, it is up to the reporter if they want to write about unfounded allegations against the custodial parent.
Last year we saw Kelly Rutherford, Angie Vu and even Madonna refrain from posting photos of their children in the media and take their custody time with their children. These celebrity mothers took the high road in de-escalating their feeling about their former spouse in the media for the benefit of their children.
Today, there are a number of protective moms, most with limited custody time with their children disparaging their former custodial spouse in the media. What most of us have to ask: What makes their case so much different than those celebrities? And why don’t these moms think that their Family Court Judge isn’t asking this same question.