On April 8, 2016, ABC’s “20/20” first broadcast “Footprints in the Snow”, which focused on the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki. The sisters were taken by their mother near their home on the night of April 19, 2013, during a custody and divorce dispute involving their parents – Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and David Rucki.
Last Saturday, ABC’s “20/20” rebroadcast the episode with updated information.
Since the episode first aired last April, there have been multiple developments involving many of the people interviewed.
As highlighted on “20/20”, David Rucki was awarded full custody of all five of his children in November 2013, while two of his daughters remained missing. David Rucki was reunited with his daughters days after they were found on a rural ranch in northern Minnesota.
They live with him and their other siblings at the family’s home in Lakeville. “20/20” updated their show with new home movies of David celebrating Christmas last December with all of his children.
Since being convicted in July 2016 on six felony counts of deprivation of parental rights, Grazzini-Rucki and her supporters have continued their behavior of making false allegations against David Rucki, his family, the media, law enforcement, and the judiciary. Grazzini-Rucki had tried to stop the rebroadcast of the episode of ABC’s “20/20” which found no documentation to verify Grazzini-Rucki’s claim that she was abused by David Rucki. Grazzini-Rucki had taken to Facebook, calling the show “rank propaganda” and encouraging people to register complaints.
Grazzini-Rucki’s disdain for law enforcement and the court system has become more flagrant, her rhetoric more incendiary, and her behavior increasingly dangerous. Grazzini-Rucki is currently on probation for her role in the disappearance of her children, but announced earlier this month that she and others will be targeting the family members of judges, attorneys, and county staff, including their children.
Grazzini-Rucki is appealing her criminal conviction.
Dede Evavold was convicted in September 2016 on six felony counts of deprivation of parental rights related to the disappearance the girls. The judge said at Evavold’s sentencing hearing that she “showed no remorse or comprehension” for her actions against the Rucki family, adding that Evavold’s actions “disrupted a family for 944 days.” Evavold’s sister wrote a letter to the judge claiming that Evavold has an “undiagnosed mental illness” and blaming Evavold’s association with Michelle MacDonald for her difficulties.
Michelle MacDonald continues to serve as Grazzini-Rucki’s family court attorney. An attorney complaint was filed against MacDonald in August 2016 and focused on her behavior during family court proceedings involving Grazzini-Rucki, and her legal representation of Joseph Francis D’Costa.
In January 2017, a judicial referee appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court recommended that MacDonald’s law license be suspended for a minimum of 60 days, followed by two years of probation, which would include a mental health evaluation.
In an unrelated court proceeding, a three-judge panel ruled in December 2016 that MacDonald “knowingly violated” campaign law when she falsely claimed she was endorsed by a non-existent Republican organization.
MacDonald is appealing both the recommendation that her law license be suspended and ruling from the three-judge panel related to her unsuccessful campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Doug and Gina Dahlen
Doug and Gina Dahlen each pleaded guilty in January to one count of deprivation of parental rights for their role in the disappearance of the Rucki sisters.
The Dahlens will both be sentenced on May 2, 2017, at the Dakota County Judicial Center in Hastings. The White Horse Ranch is currently for sale.
Dale Nathan, who told the Star Tribune in April 2015 that he was in a car driven by Sandra Grazzini-Rucki on the night she picked up her two daughters — Samantha and Gianna Rucki — after they ran from their home in Lakeville on April 19, 2013, died just hours after “20/20” aired last April.
In 2003, Nathan had his law license suspended for assisting his client in violating court orders involving a custody dispute. After disclosing he was with Grazzini-Rucki on the night her two daughters disappeared, Nathan later admitted he had information stored on his computer which showed the girls stayed in the St. Cloud area for a few days after they disappeared.
In an interview in August 2015, Nathan said he was in a vehicle registered to a friend of Grazzini-Rucki on the night both he and Grazzini-Rucki picked up her daughters in April 2013.