Recently uncovered phone conversations between Michelle MacDonald and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki recorded shortly after Grazzini-Rucki was arrested in Florida in October 2015, confirm MacDonald was aware her client was involved in the disappearance of her daughters – Samantha and Gianna Rucki.
MacDonald’s statements to Grazzini-Rucki, made while she was in an Osceola County Jail awaiting extradition to Minnesota, directly contradict MacDonald’s public statements about what she claimed both she and her client knew about the disappearance of the Rucki sisters.
Details from the conversations will be included in the upcoming book, “The Girls Are Gone” which is available for pre-sale now and will be released on October 23, 2018. The book also includes new information about the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki and the adults who conspired to keep the missing sisters and the truth hidden.
“The Girls Are Gone” also examines the connection between MacDonald, who is currently a candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court, and two people convicted for their roles in the disappearance of the Rucki sisters: Grazzini-Rucki and Dede Evavold. MacDonald was labeled a “person of interest” by the Lakeville Police Department in the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki but did not cooperate in the investigation.
Jail phone conversations between MacDonald and Grazzini-Rucki were recorded
On April 19, 2013, Samantha and Gianna Rucki disappeared during a custody and divorce dispute involving their parents – Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and David Rucki. A warrant was issued for Grazzini-Rucki’s arrest on August 12, 2105, and she was arrested by law enforcement on October 18, 2015, at the Star Island Resort and Club in Kissimmee, Florida. 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.
In the 32 days between when Grazzini-Rucki was arrested, and her daughters were found, Grazzini-Rucki spent almost two weeks in jail in Osceola County, Florida. It was during this time that Grazzini-Rucki’s phone conversations with MacDonald were recorded. All of the phone calls made by Grazzini-Rucki, including calls made to MacDonald, included the audio disclaimer: “This call will be recorded and subject to monitoring at any time.” MacDonald did not represent Grazzini-Rucki in Osceola County, Florida during her extradition proceedings. MacDonald is not licensed to practice law in Florida, nor did she travel to Florida to meet with Grazzini-Rucki while she was in custody.
Recordings contradict MacDonald’s public claims of Grazzini-Rucki’s innocence
MacDonald had repeatedly disputed Dale Nathan’s claims that on April 19, 2013, he was in a car driven by Grazzini-Rucki when she abducted her daughters. She claimed Grazzini-Rucki was not involved in the disappearance of her daughters, nor did she know where her daughters were located. MacDonald publicly proclaimed her client was innocent and rejected the premise that she was labeled a “person of interest” by law enforcement in the disappearance of her client’s daughters.
When Grazzini-Rucki was arrested, talks were already underway for an episode of ABC’s “20/20” about the Rucki case. In almost every call between MacDonald and Sandra, it is MacDonald who brings up the topic of the episode. It becomes, at times, a major focus of the conversations.
In a phone call on October 28, 2015, Grazzini-Rucki and MacDonald are discussing MacDonald’s preliminary conversations with ABC’s “20/20” about the upcoming interviews and her hopes about what would be the focus of the show. MacDonald says to Grazzini-Rucki, “I’m still cautiously optimistic because I don’t want it to be about missing children and the mother that took them.” Grazzini-Rucki did not object, nor did she acknowledge that her attorney said she “took” her children.
Below is the audio.
MacDonald’s statement that she didn’t want the upcoming “20/20” episode “to be about missing children and the mother that took them” was made 23 days before the Rucki sisters were found, and months before Grazzini-Rucki would publicly admit her role in taking her children.
What did MacDonald know about the disappearance of the Rucki sisters and when did she know it?
MacDonald refused to cooperate with the Lakeville Police Department’s investigation into her possible involvement in the disappearance of the Rucki sisters – even after public statements from her that she would cooperate in the investigation. Almost three years after the Rucki sisters were found, many questions remained unanswered, specifically: What did MacDonald know about the disappearance of the Rucki sisters and when did she know it?
Allison Mann contributed to this story.