Dahlens plead guilty in court for role in disappearance of Rucki sisters

The owners of a ranch in rural northern Minnesota each pleaded guilty today to one count of depravation of parental rights for their role in the disappearance of two sisters from Lakeville, Minnesota.

On April 19, 2013, Samantha and Gianna Rucki disappeared during a custody and divorce dispute involving their parents – Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and David Rucki.

Doug Dahlen, Gina Dahlen. Picture source: Dakota County Sheriff’s Office

Doug and Gina Dahlen both admitted in a court hearing this morning at the Dakota County Judicial Center in Hastings, that Samantha and Gianna Rucki were delivered to their residence at the White Horse Ranch in Herman, Minnesota on April 21, 2013.

According to the criminal complaint, the girls were driven to the ranch by their mother, Grazzini-Rucki and her friend, Dede Evavold.

Gina Dahlen cried as she stood before Judge Karen Asphaug and pleaded guilty to knowingly depriving David Rucki of his parental rights after he was awarded custody of all five of his children in November 2013. In total, Samantha and Gianna were held at the White Horse Ranch for 942 days.

Both Doug and Gina Dahlen admitted in court that they knew David Rucki had been awarded custody of his children and that they failed to contact to David Rucki and law enforcement that the missing Rucki kids were living on their ranch.

The Dahlens had each been charged with six felony counts for their role in the disappearance of the Rucki sisters. By pleading guilty to one count today, the remaining counts against the Dahlens were dismissed.

Missing for 944 days

The Dahlen’s ranch in Herman, Minnesota. Picture source: Missing in Minnesota

On November 18, 2015 – 944 days after they disappeared – the girls were found living on a Dahlen’s ranch by law enforcement, headed by the Lakeville Police Department.

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.

The Dakota County Attorney’s Office charged four adults for their involvement in the disappearance of the Rucki sisters for 944 days.

Grazzini-Rucki was convicted in July 2016 on six felony counts of depravation of parental rights.

Evavold was found guilty in September on six felony counts of deprivation of parental rights related to the disappearance the girls.

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

Doug and Gina Dahlen will both be sentenced on April 3, 2017, at the Dakota County Judicial Center in Hastings.

UPDATE: Because of a scheduling conflict, the sentencing hearing for the Dahlen’s has been moved to May 2, 2017, at the Dakota County Center In Hastings.