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.
According 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.
Missing for 944 days
On April 19, 2013, the Rucki sisters disappeared during a custody and divorce dispute involving their parents – Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and David Rucki.
The sisters were taken near their home in Lakeville by their mother in violation of a court order and were later driven to the Dahlen’s ranch in northern Minnesota by their mother, Grazzini-Rucki and her friend, Dede Evavold on April 21, 2013.
Doug and Gina Dahlen, who pleaded guilty in January, admitted in court they knew David Rucki had been awarded custody of his children and that they failed to contact to David Rucki or law enforcement that the missing Rucki kids were living on their ranch. The Dahlens had each been charged with six felony counts for their role in the disappearance of the Rucki sisters.
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.
Grazzini-Rucki was convicted in July 2016 on six felony counts of deprivation of parental rights.
Evavold 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.