A court in Dakota County has ruled that Dede Evavold is liable for nearly six million dollars in damages to David Rucki, and his daughters Samantha Rucki and Gianna Rucki, for Evavold’s involvement in the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna.
Evavold was convicted in September 2016 of six felonies for her role in the disappearance of Samantha and her sister Gianna, who were abducted near their home in Lakeville, Minnesota, by their mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, during a custody and divorce proceeding.
In November 2017, Evavold was sued in civil court in Dakota County by David, Samantha, and Gianna, for numerous damages related to her crimes.
Judge Jerome Abrams ordered last week that Evavold “negligently and intentionally inflicted emotional distress on David Rucki, Samantha Rucki, and Gianna Rucki.” As a result, Judge Abrams awarded David, Samantha, and Gianna damages against Evavold, totaling $5,760,927.
Evavold, Grazzini-Rucki, and Doug, and Gina Dahlen were each criminally charged and convicted for their roles in Samantha and Gianna’s disappearance. A civil lawsuit filed by David, Samantha, and Gianna, against the Dahlens and their church was settled in September 2018. The terms of the settlement were not made public.
David Rucki awarded $1 million in damages for defamation by Evavold
After being released from jail, Evavold repeatedly violated the explicit terms of her probation and the HRO by continuing to reference the Rucki family in her use of social media. Evavold’s blog posted pictures of the Rucki family, their home in Lakeville, and the address to the home, in violation of the HRO and the conditions of her probation.
Judge Abrams ruled that Evavold’s post “meet the definition of defamation…” and that she wrote “or re-posted articles by others making vicious and untrue statements about David Rucki…”
David was awarded $3,379,019 in damages, of which $1 million was allocated for defamation by Evavold.
Evavold’s criminal trial scheduled for February
Aside from now being liable for over $5.7 million in damages to the Rucki family, Evavold will also be in criminal court next month.
Evavold criminal trial for violating a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) filed against her by Michael Brodkorb is scheduled for February. She was charged in May 2019 after she attempted to contact Brodkorb to restart her blog after WordPress suspended it for violating their terms of service.
Evavold is currently on probation related to her criminal conviction in 2016. A conviction in this criminal case would likely trigger a probation violation and jail time for Evavold.
The harassment by Evavold and others is detailed in the award-winning true crime book The Girls Are Gone, which was written by Brodkorb and Allison Mann.
Please follow Missing in Minnesota on Twitter and Facebook for updates on the legal developments.