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
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.
There was a historic verdict this week in Dakota County Minnesota as Assistant District Attorney Kathy Keena successfully prosecuted Deirdre “Dede” Evavold for 6 Felony Counts for Deprivation of Child Custody in the Sandra Rucki Teenager Family Abduction Case. This could be the very first criminal prosecution of a protective parent movement / family court critic accomplice. In 1992, Assistant District Attorney Rose Wing of Cobb County Georgia was unable to get a guilty verdict in the trial of the infamous Faye Yager. But over two
decades later it is Assistant DA Kathy Keena that has now delivered the verdict that could finally put an end to the protective parent / family court critic movement — or the parental kidnapping of children.
Family Abduction or the kidnapping of young children is a horrific crime and once an arrested protective parent is finally caught, most District Attorneys are reticent to charge third party accomplices. The DAs normally get the felony conviction on the parent that kidnapped the child(ren) and do not take the extra step to prosecute the accomplices.
On behalf of the Family Abduction Community of Recovering and Searching Parents, their families and others involved in these cases, we congratulate Assistant DA Keena and her team at the Dakota County DAs Office and other law enforcement in this case. We have waited a very long time to see a verdict like this that will hopefully help to shut down these movements.
What’s next – will Gina and Doug Dahlen take their case to trial or will they now plead guilty to save the taxpayers the expense of a trial? Keena is now 2-0 and the Dahlens will now need to negotiate with her their plea deal. I would think the key question that remains is that will the Keena also want the Felony Charges against the Dahlens?
Now that Sandra Rucki was found guilty of 6 Felony Charges, it’s time for Dede Evavold, Doug Dahlen and Gina Dahlen to plead guilty and spare the taxpayers the expense of a trial.
Sandra Rucki is scheduled to be sentenced on September 21st. Dede Evavold’s trial is scheduled to begin on September 26th.
These three cases are some of the very small number of criminal prosecutions of third party conspirators Family Abduction cases. We hope the prosecutor does not reduce these charges from a felony in any plea deal.
In a Teenage Family Abduction Trial, Sandra Rucki has been charged in Dakota County with eight felonies in the kidnapping of her two teenage daughters. Dede Evavold, Gina Dahlen and Doug Dahlen have also been charged as co-conspirators. The Jury Trial for Sandra Rucki is scheduled to begin on Monday, July 18, 2016.
As we approach this trial date, the Family Abduction Community of Victim Parents including both Recovering Parents and Searching Parents are closely following this case. This is one of the first cases in America where the District Attorney is also prosecuting the co-conspirators. In most International and Domestic Family Abduction Cases, the co-conspirators reside outside the jurisdiction. But in the Rucki Teenager Family Abduction, the girls were found in a nearby county in Herman, Minnesota.
The results of this case are important not only in deterring the crime of Teenager Family Abduction but sending the message to the Protective Parent and Family Court Critic Network cause that there will be severe penalties for those that engage in civil disobedience. After 9-11, when it became more difficult for protective parents to obtain a falsified United States Passport, it was thought that this cause had ended. But in recent years, there has been an emergence of a small new movement of Family Court Critics/Protective Parents that are questioning the fitness of our Nation’s Family Court. They are attacking the Family Court Judges and the fathers in these cases on the Internet and in Social Media to support their cause. For many of these critics, it is the same supporters that are against “joint custody” and “coparenting” and want the courts to bring back “maternal custody”.
In these cases, a defendant like Sandra Rucki is committed to the protective parent cause and wants a trial to promote herself and cause. Her supporters want the trial. But the co-conspirators like Gina Dahlen and Doug Dahlen may simply want to go on with their lives and may regret getting involved. On the other hand, they should have understood the severity of the crime of child kidnapping. A Family Abduction in the eyes of the searching parent is no different than a Stranger Abduction. Many of us feel that not allowing them any type of immunity and sending them to prison for some period may do more to deterring this crime. And for Sandra Rucki and her co-conspirator Dede Evavold, it is important that they receive long prison sentences for their crime.
As we get closer to a trial date, it’s likely that the District Attorney may want to save the county taxpayer’s the costs of these trials. The co-conspirators like the Dahlens will be doing everything they can to stay out of prison and the Felony Conviction. And Sandra Rucki may have an enlightened moment that when convicted, she might receive one of the longest prison sentences ever — and finally arrive at the decision it would be in the best interests of her children that she plead guilty.