Date Archives September 2017

Dede Evavold loses in court; HRO remains in effect

An Harassment Restraining Order requested by David Rucki and his daughter, Samantha Rucki, against Dede Evavold to prevent Evavold’s continued harassment of their family remains in effect after a court hearing was held this morning at the Dakota County Western Service Center in Apple Valley, Minnesota.

Evavold filed a motion to vacate the Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) granted after a court in Dakota County ruled in July that “an immediate and present danger of harassment” by Evavold existed to warrant the granting of an HRO.

But after Judge Philip Kanning learned in court this morning that Evavold had not served her motion to vacate the HRO on Lisa Elliott, the attorney for David Rucki and his daughter, Samantha Rucki, he postponed the hearing until after Evavold’s criminal trial for violating the HRO.

Elliott had also filed a motion to hold Evavold in contempt for repeatedly violating the HRO. Both motions will be heard at the same court hearing, which will be held in the next few months.

Evavold was visibly angry in the courtroom during today’s brief court hearing.

She replied with a gruff “OK” after Judge Kanning warned Evavold that the HRO remains in effect and that she could face additional criminal charges, including gross misdemeanor and felony charges if she continues to violate the HRO.

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Dede Evavold denies violating probation; court hearing set for November

Dede Evavold denied she has violated the conditions of her probation which prohibited her from making any reference to Rucki family in her use of social media during a probation violation hearing today at the Dakota County Judicial Center in Hastings, Minnesota.

Today’s hearing was scheduled after Dakota County Community Corrections filed a Probation Violation Report with Dakota County District Court last month alleging Evavold had made repeated references to the Rucki family in her use of social media.

Despite authoring numerous posts where she directly named members of the Rucki family, and also sharing many of the posts on her personal social media accounts, Evavold denied in court today that she violated the conditions of her probation.

Judge Karen Asphaug scheduled an evidentiary hearing for November 2, 2017, at 1:30 PM, where a determination will be made if Evavold has violated the conditions of her probation.

As previously reported by Missing in Minnesota, Evavold has repeatedly violated the explicit terms of her probation by continuing to reference the Rucki family in her use of social media.

Evavold was sentenced on November 10, 2016 after being found guilty of six felony charges related to her involvement in the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki, who were abducted by their mother near their home in Lakeville, Minnesota on April 19, 2013 during a custody and divorce dispute involving their parents – Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and David Rucki.

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Pizza Ranch fundraiser for White Horse Ranch canceled

A fundraiser hosted by Pizza Ranch to benefit a ranch where two missing sisters were held for 942 days was abruptly canceled after widespread public outrage.

WhiteHorseRanchFundraiserAccording to the promotional materials for the fundraiser, Pizza Ranch in Alexandria, Minnesota would be “donating a portion of their sales during that time” to White Horse Ranch, which is owned by Doug and Gina Dahlen.

Doug and Gina Dahlen were sentenced in May to one year in jail for their role in the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki from Lakeville, Minnesota.

Earlier today, the staff at Pizza Ranch confirmed they would be donating a portion of their sales to the White Horse Ranch. After being informed about the controversy surrounding the ranch and the criminal history of both Doug and Gina Dahlen, staff insisted the fundraiser would still be held.

But hours after Missing in Minnesota posted details about the fundraiser on Facebook, the event was canceled.

As of 6:00 pm last evening, the Facebook post published by Missing in Minnesota has been viewed by over 13,000 people with over 250 comments.

Dan Gray, the owner of Pizza Ranch where the fundraiser to benefit the White Horse Ranch was scheduled to be held contacted Missing in Minnesota this morning to apologize for scheduling the event.

“I apologize,” said Gray, adding “if I ever do it again, I’ll do a little more research.” Gray noted that he hosts numerous fundraising events for the community each year.

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Federal civil rights lawsuit filed by MacDonald dismissed

A federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Michelle MacDonald in March 2015 against Dakota County stemming from her arrest while representing Sandra Grazzini-Rucki in a family court hearing has been dismissed.

It was during the custody hearing involving Grazzini-Rucki and her ex-husband, David Rucki, on September 12, 2013, that MacDonald took pictures in the courtroom which led to her being arrested.

MacDonald spent a portion of the trial representing Grazzini-Rucki while confined to a wheelchair after her own refusal to walk back into the courtroom. MacDonald also refused to put on her shoes and glasses, or provide her legal name and address to law enforcement.

The Memorandum Opinion and Order Granting Defendants’ Summary Judgement, written by John R. Turnheim, Chief Judge of United State District Court of Minnesota, dismisses all of MacDonald’s claims. Because the court has ruled that no grounds exist for the lawsuit, attorneys representing Dakota County have requested that the court order MacDonald to pay costs incurred by Dakota County due to the lawsuit.

In March of 2016, the court dismissed many of MacDonald’s claims including, false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and retaliatory prosecution leaving only a few claims left to argue.

At that time, the court also found no grounds for claims of excessive force and state assault and battery “which related to her removal from the courtroom, removal of her personal effects, and placement in a wheelchair.”

Also dismissed were claims of equal protection, federal conspiracy, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress and finally a claim by Thomas Shimota, MacDonald’s husband, for loss of consortium. Continue reading

New criminal charges filed against Dede Evavold

Dede Evavold has been charged with three criminal counts of violating an Harassment Restraining Order granted by a court in Dakota County to protect David Rucki and his family from Evavold’s continued harassment.

She has been charged with three misdemeanors and if convicted, Evavold could be sentenced up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine on each charge.

Evavold is scheduled to be arraigned at the Dakota County Western Service Center in Apple Valley on October 17, 2017, at 9:00 AM.

Evavold was sentenced on November 10, 2016 after being found guilty of six felony charges related to her involvement in the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki, who were abducted by their mother near their home in Lakeville, Minnesota on April 19, 2013 during a custody and divorce dispute involving their parents – Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and David Rucki.

In July a judge in Dakota County found that “an immediate and present danger of harassment” by Evavold existed to warrant the granting of an Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) requested by David Rucki and his daughter, Samantha Rucki, against Evavold.

The HRO requested by David Rucki and Samantha Rucki also protects Gianna Rucki and two other minor Rucki children from being harassed by Evavold.

Since the HRO was granted, Evavold has repeatedly violated the conditions of the HRO with her continuous harassment and threatening behavior toward the Rucki family.

According to the criminal complaint, Evavold violated the HRO by referencing the Rucki family in her use of social media and by posting pictures of the Rucki children just days after being served with the HRO.

Evavold facing additional jail for probation violations

Evavold is also facing more jail time after a judge in Dakota County accepted the recommendations of Dakota County Community Corrections who want Evavold back in jail for repeatedly violating the terms of her probation.

Evavold has been summoned to appear in Dakota County District Court for a Probation Violation Hearing on September 28, 2017.

According to a written recommendation submitted by Dakota County Community Corrections, Evavold violated the terms of probation when she “[f]ailed to comply with order to, not reference any of the Grazzini-Rucki family on any social media.”

Click here to read more about Evavold, and check back to Missing in Minnesota for additional updates.

Court affirms ruling that Michelle MacDonald ‘knowingly violated’ campaign law

The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed a ruling from the Office of Administrative Hearings that Michelle MacDonald, who was a candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2016, “knowingly violated” campaign law when she falsely claimed she was endorsed by a non-existent Republican organization.

Last December, the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) ruled against MacDonald and also imposed a $500 civil penalty for violating the Minnesota Fair Campaign Practices Act. The initial complaint against MacDonald was filed by Barbara Linert of Eagan and Steve Timmer of Edina.

The ruling from the Minnesota Court of Appeals highlighted that “the falsity of [MacDonald’s] statement” is what triggered the violation of the law:

In an interview about today’s ruling Linert said “Michelle MacDonald asked the Minnesota Court of Appeals to find the Minnesota Fair Campaign Practices Act unconstitutional and a violation of her First Amendment rights.”

Linert continued, “if they had found in her favor, any candidate in any election could lie about their endorsement without penalty of law. The court saw the importance of protecting voters from that chaos and ruled against her.”

“Hopefully this will be the final nail in the coffin of Michelle MacDonald’s judicial aspirations,” added Linert.

Timmer called the ruling  “an important, win for protecting voters from deception.”

Timmer added, “MacDonald’s position was that she could say anything, truthful or not, and be protected by the First Amendment. Our counsel, Karl Procaccini from Greene Espel, framed the issue perfectly in his opening remarks to the Court of Appeals: Does ‘Michelle MacDonald have a constitutional right to lie about an endorsement she doesn’t have?'” Continue reading

Jasmine Block: Missing in Minnesota for 29 days

On the evening of August 9, 2017,  the Missing in Minnesota Facebook page received a private message containing a link to a post by the Alexandria Police Department. The message was simple: “Please post this on your site.”

15 year-old Jasmine Block had been missing for approximately 26 hours by this time and the police were already hard at work looking for her.

Two days later, on August 11, 2017, another message from a different person. This message contained an updated poster with Jasmine’s pictures. So many people were working so hard to spread the information about Jasmine.

No one knew then where Jasmine was or who she was with, no one knew what hell she was living.

This past Tuesday, while the majority of kids in Minnesota were sitting in classrooms on the first day of school, 15 year-old Jasmine was escaping.

According to Alexandria Chief of Police, Rick Wyffels, Jasmine ran to multiple farm houses, through fields and swam across a lake before she was able to find someone to help her.

Headlines started popping up Tuesday late in the afternoon: ‘Missing Alexandria teen found safe in rural Grant County’.

At Missing in Minnesota, this wasn’t the first time we had seen a headline

On November 18, 2015, Samantha and Gianna Rucki were found, 944 days after they had disappeared, at the White Horse Ranch located in Grant County, Minnesota.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Chief Wyffels said, “the suspects were in search of a place to find to hide their identity, we believe. So they’re in rural Grant County staying in corn fields and wooded areas and they had Jasmine the whole time.”

Jasmine was in an isolated location with no idea where to turn for help. Her escape was amazing and her bravery unparalleled. What she endured in those 29 days was undoubtedly horrific.

Jasmine, like the Rucki sisters, left her home because she believed she was with someone safe, someone familiar. Most child abductions share this commonality – children are not afraid to go with someone with whom they are familiar.

This is a frightening fact.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, familial abduction is significantly more common than stranger abduction.

This is what happened to the Rucki Sisters – they were abducted by their mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki.

It was a friend of their mother, Dede Evavold, who aided in transporting and hiding them in Grant County at the White Horse Ranch with Doug and Gina Dahlen.

On Tuesday, law enforcement officials reunited Jasmine with her family.

We wish Jasmine and her family the very best with their recovery.