Deirdre Evavold’s criminal trial on six counts of deprivation of parental rights begins today at the Dakota County Judicial Center in Hastings.
Evavold has been charged with a total of six felony counts for her involvement in the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki.
Samantha and Gianna Rucki disappeared on April 19, 2013, during a custody and divorce dispute involving their parents.
Evavold is a close friend and confidant of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, the mother of Samantha and Gianna, who she met during Grazzini-Rucki’s divorce with David Rucki.
Grazzini-Rucki was found in July last month on six felony counts of deprivation of parental rights related to the disappearance of her daughters. Grazzini-Rucki received a prison sentence and probation at her sentencing hearing last week, but opted to serve additional time in prison to avoid being on probation.
Missing for 944 days
On November 18, 2015 – 944 days after they disappeared – the girls were found living on a ranch in northern Minnesota by law enforcement, headed by the Lakeville Police Department.
The ranch is owned by Douglas Dahlen and his wife, Gina Dahlen, who have also been criminally charged related to the disappearance of the girls. A trial date has not been set for the Dahlens.
David Rucki, was awarded full custody of all five of his children in November 2013, while two of his daughters remained missing.
Rucki was reunited with his daughters days after they were found and they live with him at the family’s home in Lakeville.
In an interview last year, Evavold expressed sympathy for David Rucki
“This isn’t just about girls missing — this is about the destruction of an entire family, including David [Rucki],” said Evavold. “David’s just the pawn in this — it makes me sick,” added Evavold.
Evavold later said that David Rucki was “being used” to keep the family drama “stirred up”, adding that David had been “harmed” in the process.
“David just being used too, to keep this stirred up,” said Evavold, who added, “I mean, nobody else ever wants to say that, but I do believe that he’s also, he’s harmed. He may think he won, he, he doesn’t have a life either.”
Evavold connected to Michelle MacDonald
Evavold previously served as Michelle MacDonald’s campaign manager for MacDonald’s campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014. MacDonald is running for the Minnesota Supreme Court again this year against Justice Natalie Hudson and Evavold was listed as the chair of MacDonald’s campaign until earlier this year.
MacDonald serves as Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s family court attorney and was labeled as a “person of interest” last year by the Lakeville Police Department in the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki – a label which law enforcement confirmed has not been removed from MacDonald.
MacDonald has refused to speak with the Lakeville Police Department about her possible involvement in the disappearance of the sisters – even after public statements from her that she would cooperate in the investigation. Her criminal defense attorney, Stephen Grigsby, who also serves as Grazzini-Rucki’s defense attorney, said last year that he would advise MacDonald to not speak with the Lakeville Police Department.
Evavold serving as her own attorney
Evavold is an strong opponent of family courts and attended numerous court hearings in Dakota County involving the Rucki family, providing assistance to Grazzini-Rucki.
Evavold is not an attorney, but is an activist, and also runs a blog focused on exposing what Evavold and her supporters believe are injustices and corruption in the judicial system. Evavold lives in St. Cloud with her husband Darin.
According to criminal complaints, Samantha and Gianna Rucki were delivered to the Dahlen’s residence in northern Minnesota on April 21, 2013 by Evavold and Grazzini-Rucki.
Grazzini-Rucki’s trial is expected to last until Friday. Please follow Missing in Minnesots via Twitter for live updates from the trial. Please check back for additional information and analysis from the first day of the trial and for other developments.