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.

Dahlens received credit for good behavior in jail

The Dahlens will be released tomorrow from the Traverse County Jail in Wheaton, Minnesota, after their attorney’s successfully petitioned the court to allow the Dahlens to receive credit for good behavior in jail.

In the request to be released from jail, which was filed by the Dahlens’ attorneys Travis Keil and Kyle White, they argued the Dahlens’ sentence should be reduced to account for good behavior while in custody.

Keil and White argue that state law provides inmates with the right to decreased sentences based on “good conduct.” In additional correspondence filed with the motion pleadings, the attorneys for the Dahlens stated “had the court intended that they serve 31 actual days in custody, this court should have imposed a sentence with good conduct factored in.”

While Judge Karen Asphaug was clear in court that she did intend for the Dahlens to serve “31 actual days in custody,” going so far as to detail that the 31 days in jail represented one day for each month that Samantha and Gianna Rucki were held at the Dahlens’ home in Herman, Minnesota, she did approve the request to allow the Dahlens to leave jail tomorrow.

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. In total, Samantha and Gianna were held at the White Horse Ranch for 942 days.

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.

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, the girls’ mother, was convicted in July 2016 on six felony counts of deprivation of parental rights.

Dede Evavold, a friend of Grazzini-Rucki,  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 ensured that Assistant Dakota County Attorney Kathy Kenna successfully prosecuted all of the people criminally charged related to the disappearance of the Rucki sisters.

This is a developing story, so please check back to Missing in Minnesota for updates throughout the day.

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