Posts tagged Gina Dahlen

Tom Barnard critical of Trish Van Pilsum’s treatment of the Rucki family

In a recent interview with Michael Brodkorb and Allison Mann for The Tom Barnard Podcast, host Tom Barnard strongly criticized Trish Van Pilsum for withholding critical information which could have helped reunite two missing sisters – Samantha and Gianna Rucki – with their family and friends within days of the children disappearing 2013.

Brodkorb and Mann appeared on The Tom Barnard Podcast to discuss their new best-selling true crime book, The Girls Are Gone, which details Van Pilsum’s unethical conduct as a journalist also broke the Rucki’s family trust with the media. This lack of trust contributed greatly to a lack of any substantive media coverage about the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki for nearly two years.

At the end of the podcast, Barnard directed his final remarks at Van Pilsum:

Trish, I have no idea how the hell you could do this cause, I’ve been around parents who’ve lost their children. Neither one of them came back, one of them died from huffing, the other one, Jacob [Wetterling], unfortunately, was buried for I don’t know how many years. How you could walk away from that and be comfortable I will never understand cause I could never do what you did. Never.

As noted in the interview, Barnard has worked in the past with Patty Wetterling to help promote public awareness about missing children, including the disappearance of Jacob Wetterling. Click here to listen to Brodkorb and Mann’s full interview for The Tom Barnard Podcast. Continue reading

‘The Girls Are Gone’ book event in Herman on Thursday

Michael Brodkorb and Allison Mann will be signing their book The Girls Are Gone on Thursday from 4 PM – 6 PM at American Legion Post 378 in Herman, Minnesota.

The Girls Are Gone details the events which led to Sandra Grazzini-Rucki abducting her daughters – Samantha and Gianna Rucki – on April 19, 2013, during a custody dispute with her ex-husband, David Rucki. Continue reading

Trish Van Pilsum and missing children: how one reporter failed

On Thursday evening, news broke that 13-year old Jayme Closs had been found alive 88 days after she vanished from her home after her parents were murdered.

For 88 days, people wondered if Closs would ever be seen alive again. On the 88th day, the prayers of many were answered when Closs was found alive. A suspect in the kidnapping of Closs and the murder of her parents was also arrested.

We celebrate the return of Jayme Closs to her family and we pray for their healing and peace, as well as justice for those involved in the murder of her parents and in keeping Jayme hidden for 88 days.

The morning after Jayme was found, law enforcement had a press conference to provide updates to the public on the miraculous news. In his remarks, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald thanked the media for their role in helping the public remember that a 13-year-old girl was missing. Continue reading

‘The Girls Are Gone’ book event scheduled in Herman

Michael Brodkorb and Allison Mann will have an event next week for their new book – The Girls Are Gone – in a key location featured in the book. Brodkorb and Mann will travel to Herman, Minnesota next week for an event on Thursday, January 17, 2019.

The Girls Are Gone details the events which led to Sandra Grazzini-Rucki abducting her daughters – Samantha and Gianna Rucki – on April 19, 2013, during a custody dispute with her ex-husband, David Rucki. Continue reading

In the news: ‘In-depth story of Rucki family hits bookshelves’

Please read the story below from the Lakeville Sun This Week about the release of our new book The Girls Are Gone. As noted in the story, we’ll be signing books at the Chart House’s Sip N Shop Local tomorrow from 12-6 p.m. in Lakeville, Minnesota.

“On August 31, 1991, David Victor Rucki married Sandra Sue Grazzini in a traditional Catholic ceremony at St. Patrick’s Church in Edina, Minnesota,” is the opening statement in the newly released book, “The Girls are Gone.”

Samantha and Gianna Rucki were 14 and 13 years old when they went missing from their home in Lakeville on April 19, 2013. The Lakeville Police department led the investigation. The sisters were found 944 days later at the White Horse Ranch in Herman, Minnesota, where they had been living with Gina and Doug Dahlen.

“The Girls are Gone” written by journalist Michael Brodkorb and paralegal with Elliot Law Offices in Lakeville, Allison Mann, provides in depth information about two sisters, the search for them and the court trial after they were found.

Mann and Brodkorb first met in 2016 while Mann was working at a law firm that represented the sisters’ father, David Rucki, and Brodkorb was covering the story for the Star Tribune. Their mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, was on trial for the role in the disappearance of her daughters. In July 2016, Grazzini-Rucki was found guilty on six counts of deprivation of parental rights.

Grazzini-Rucki was represented by Michelle MacDonald, who was a named a person of interest by the Lakeville Police Department. According to Brodkorb, MacDonald did not cooperate with the investigation at the time. MacDonald is currently running for Minnesota Supreme Court for the third time.

“We started formally working together in January 2017 and then we announced the book. It took us over a year to get it all pieced together,” Brodkorb said.

Mann added, they knew this story should be turned into a book based on the unique story, and it became a chance to set the record straight as to what happened to the Rucki sisters and what happened during the criminal trials.

Click here to read the full story from the Lakeville Sun This Week.

The Girls Are Gone is published by Wise Ink Creative Publishing is available for sale through numerous retailers in both paperback and ebook.

Minnesota Supreme Court denies Dede Evavold and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki petitions

The Minnesota Supreme Court has denied the petitions filed by Deirdre “Dede” Evavold and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki to review their criminal convictions for their role in the disappearance of two of Grazzini-Rucki’s children.

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

Grazzini-Rucki’s petition was denied last week by the Minnesota Supreme Court, and Evavold’s petition was denied in an order released this morning.

Evavold’s legal troubles are not over, as her criminal trial for her continued violations of a Harassment Restraining Order granted by a court in Dakota County to protect David Rucki and his family from her harassment is scheduled for April 23, 2018. Continue reading

Michelle MacDonald helped Dede Evavold in masking the extent of her role in the disappearance of Rucki sisters

Michelle MacDonald, who serves as Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s family court attorney, helped Dede Evavold during a media interview in masking the extent of her full role in the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki based on a video published by Evavold.

In the video published by Evavold last week, MacDonald instructs Evavold on how to correctly answer a question from the producer with ABC’s “20/20” after Evavold mistakenly admitted a key element of her criminal involvement in the disappearance of the Rucki sisters in an interview.

This video was recorded before Evavold was charged with four additional felonies, and before she was convicted of a total of six felonies for her involvement in the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki.

Evavold served as MacDonald’s campaign chair and manager during MacDonald’s unsuccessful bid for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014.

MacDonald’s client, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, was also convicted of six felonies for her role in the disappearance of her daughters.

The video provides further evidence of MacDonald’s direct involvement in the propaganda machinery of Grazzini-Rucki and Evavold. Continue reading

Missing in Minnesota 2017: The year in review

Missing in Minnesota continues to document and report on the true story of two sisters who vanished, the father who kept searching, and the adults who conspired to keep the truth hidden.

In 2017, Missing in Minnesota published over 70 stories, over 500 tweets, and built a Facebook Page with over 10,000 followers which provided detailed breaking news, analysis, and commentary on the continuing legal developments involving the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki.

The most significant change to Missing in Minnesota in 2017 was the additional of Allison Mann, who aside from contributing to the published content, Mann has provided strategic direction as Missing in Minnesota transitions from an online format to additional mediums which will be announced in 2018, so stay tuned! Continue reading

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki scheduled to report to jail on Saturday

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki is scheduled to report to jail on Saturday – November 18 – the two year anniversary of the day her daughters were found after disappearing for 944 days.

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

The sisters were abducted by their mother near their home in Lakeville, Minnesota.

In July 2016, Grazzini-Rucki was found guilty on six counts of deprivation of parental rights for her role in the disappearance of her daughters. Grazzini-Rucki was sentenced in September 2016.

David Rucki was awarded full custody of all five of his children in November 2013, while two of his daughters remained missing.

On November 18, 2015, the girls were found living on a ranch in northern Minnesota by law enforcement, in a search lead by the Lakeville Police Department.

The Rucki sisters were reunited with their father days after they were found. They continue to live with their father and other siblings at the family’s home in Lakeville.

Grazzini-Rucki appealed her criminal conviction, but the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed her conviction last week.

According to the ruling from the Minnesota Court of Appeals, Grazzini-Rucki will be permitted to execute the remainder of her sentence, a point both Grazzini-Rucki’s public defender and the Dakota County Attorney’s Office agreed she should be allowed to do. Continue reading

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.

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. Continue reading

Dede Evavold’s dangerous and demented deception

Dede Evavold had never met Samantha and Gianna Rucki before she helped orchestrate the kids disappearance from their family and friends.

Evavold was friends with their mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and on April 19, 2013, Grazzini-Rucki abducted her daughters near their home in Lakeville, Minnesota during a custody and divorce dispute with her ex-husband David Rucki.

The sisters were taken by their mother near their home in Lakeville, Minnesota, in violation of a court order.

In the hours after the Rucki sisters vanished, it was Evavold who connected Grazzini-Rucki with Doug and Gina Dahlen, who owned the ranch where the Rucki sisters were found on November 18, 2015 – 944 days after they disappeared. The girls were found living on the Dahlens’ ranch in Herman, Minnesota by law enforcement, headed by the Lakeville Police Department.

While Grazzini-Rucki’s involvement with the disappearance of her daughters generates the most headlines, it is Evavold who is considered by many to be the most dangerous and demented of the adults involved in the disappearance of the Rucki sisters. Continue reading

Doug and Gina Dahlen violated jail work release rules

During their brief time in jail for their role in the disappearance of two sisters from Lakeville, Minnesota, Doug and Gina Dahlen repeatedly violated jail work release rules, based on documents obtained by Missing in Minnesota.

The repeated rule violations raise questions about the supervision the Dahlens received by jail staff, and if the clear violation of jail work release rules warrant further investigation by law enforcement and corrections officials in Minnesota.

Easy time in Traverse County

Doug and Gina Dahlen were released from the Traverse County Jail on Friday, June 2, after serving just 20 days in jail for their role in the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki. The Dahlens were released after their attorneys successfully petitioned the court to allow the Dahlens to receive credit for good behavior in jail.

Judge Karen Asphaug permitted the Dahlens to participate in a work release program throughout the term of their sentence. Work release gives inmates leave from jail to maintain employment while serving their sentence. But strict rules exist for work release programs and vary by county and program.

The Traverse County Jail, located in Wheaton, Minnesota has specific guidelines which must be followed by inmates participating in the work release program.

Days prior to their release, attorneys for Doug and Gina Dahlen filed a motion to clarify their sentence requesting early release based on “good conduct.”

As part of this motion the attorneys obtained information from the Traverse County Jail regarding the Dahlens’ conduct while in custody. According to correspondence filed with the motion pleadings, the Dahlens were labeled “model inmates” by Brenda Bartz, the Traverse County Jail Administrator. This alleged statement by Bartz was the basis for the motion requesting early release by the Dahlens. Continue reading

Doug and Gina Dahlen released from jail after serving only 20 days

Doug and Gina Dahlen were released from the Traverse County Jail this afternoon, after serving just 20 days in jail for their role in the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki.

Samantha and Gianna’s father, David Rucki, released a statement yesterday in response to an order granting Doug and Gina Dahlen an early release from jail.

In his statement, David Rucki expressed his strong frustration that Doug and Gina Dahlen would serve only 20 days in jail:

I am appalled at the decision to allow the Dahlens to be released from jail after serving only 20 days. During the 942 days my missing children were held by the Dahlens, they were denied access to any medical treatment and education.

The Dahlens robbed my children of their youth, their family, their friends, and their life. My children and family were victimized by the Dahlens and we are still working together as a family to fully recover from the pain and trauma they inflicted. 

Today’s decision to allow the Dahlens to stroll out of jail after serving only 20 days trivializes the severity of their crimes and the pain inflicted on my children and family.”

Doug and Gina Dahlen, pleaded guilty for their role in the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki, and were later sentenced to one year in jail. The Dahlens’ full jail sentence was stayed, pending the successful completion of two-years probation and a jail sentence of 31 days. Continue reading

Dahlens will be out of jail tomorrow; David Rucki ‘appalled’ by court’s decision

David Rucki released a statement today in response to an order granting Doug and Gina Dahlen an early release from jail after serving only 20 days for their involvement in the disappearance of his children for 944 days.

In his statement, David Rucki expressed his strong frustration that Doug and Gina Dahlen served only 20 days in jail:

I am appalled at the decision to allow the Dahlens to be released from jail after serving only 20 days. During the 942 days my missing children were held by the Dahlens, they were denied access to any medical treatment and education.

The Dahlens robbed my children of their youth, their family, their friends, and their life. My children and family were victimized by the Dahlens and we are still working together as a family to fully recover from the pain and trauma they inflicted. 

Today’s decision to allow the Dahlens to stroll out of jail after serving only 20 days trivializes the severity of their crimes and the pain inflicted on my children and family.”

Doug and Gina Dahlen, pleaded guilty for their role in the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki, and were later sentenced to one year in jail. The Dahlens’ full jail sentence was stayed, pending the successful completion of two-years probation and a jail sentence of 31 days. Continue reading