It's one of the most horrific and tragic events in Idaho's history.

In 2005, Joseph Edward Duncan III brutally murdered a Coeur d'Alene family, before kidnapping the surviving two children. It was an act of pure evil.

Joseph Edward Duncan was convicted of molesting two boys earlier in 2005.

Getty Images
Joseph Edward Duncan III (Getty Images)

Joseph Edward Duncan's criminal history began in Tacoma, more than two decades before he was finally put away for good. In 1978, he sexually assaulted a young boy at gunpoint. Duncan was only 15 years old. This would begin a span of violent crimes of a sexual nature, something Duncan seemed to take great pride in. He told a therapist that by the time he was 16, he had sexually assaulted more than a dozen young boys.

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In 1980, Duncan was sentenced to 20 years in prison after he kidnapped and sexually assaulted a teenage boy in Tacoma. He had also stolen guns from nearby homes. Duncan would be released six years early in 1994. It is believed that Duncan killed three people while still on parole, including two young Seattle girls. He would return to prison in 1997 only to be released again in 2000. They should have kept him behind bars.

When Duncan was released in 2000, he would move to North Dakota. He was again in police custody in 2005, when he was accused of molesting two boys while in Minnesota. After being bailed out, Duncan skipped town and a federal warrant was issued. While traveling through Idaho, Duncan spotted two children playing in the yard. He would survey the home.

One family was left brutally murdered near Cour d'Alene, Idaho.

Missing Idaho Girl Found After Six Weeks
Groene family home. (Getty Images)

On May 16, 2005, Brenda Groene, boyfriend Mark McKenzie, and Brenda's son Slade were found murdered in their home near Cour d'Alene. Two children were nowhere to be found. The home had been broken into in the middle of the night.

The nation held its breath as the search for Shasta and Dylan Groene began.

Missing Idaho Girl Found After Six Weeks
Getty Images

Shasta says she and her older brother Dylan were fortunate to have never seen their family's murder, having been whisked away to a red Jeep Cherokee moments before. It was a long six weeks on the road with their abuser, as Shasta and Dylan were subjected to multiple instances of sexual abuse. Dylan was tragically murdered, having been shot in the stomach and head, although Duncan claims the first shotgun blast was an accident.

How did Joseph Edward Duncan get caught?

Missing Idaho Girl Found After Six Weeks
Duncan's rental car. (Getty Images)

Nearly two months after the murder of her family, eight-year-old Shasta Groene was seen in a Cour d'Alene restaurant with an adult man. Employees at the local Denny's recognized Shasta and Duncan was arrested.

How was Shasta Groene rescued?

Missing Idaho Girl Found After Six Weeks
Shasta Groene (Getty Images)

Shasta was nearly murdered herself. According to testimony, after killing Dylan, Duncan gave her two choices: death by gun or death by strangulation. She pleaded with Duncan, calling him by his nickname until he stopped. He drove Shasta back to Cour d'Alene, where she would be rescued and returned to her biological father.

What happened to Joseph Edward Duncan?

Joseph Duncan Agrees To Plea Deal In Groene Murder Case
Duncan appears in court. (Getty Images)

Joseph Edward Duncan was convicted of several charges, spanning multiple states. He would be given three federal death sentences. He died in 2021 from glioblastoma while still in prison. Duncan was 58. After his death, Shasta said, "Today, I woke up feeling like my soul was finally free."

Where is Shasta Groene today?

The traumatic events of her childhood have plagued Shasta. In 2019, she went missing along with her two sons but was found safe. The year before, she pleaded guilty to two counts of injury to a child. She was said to be working on a book about her experiences with author Jamie Sedlmayer.

Joseph Edward Duncan is one of several evil people to have originated from Washington. Thankfully, we don't have to worry about these men roaming free anymore.

The 12 Deadliest Serial Killers in Washington State's Bloody History

Every state is known for something. Florida has swamps and beautiful weather, Iowa has wrestling and corn, New York has Manhattan and Brooklyn-style pizza, Maryland has crabcakes. Washington has apples, wine, IPAs, and serial killers. This article is not meant to glorify these evil people in any way, just shed some light on a bizarre Washington truth. From Bundy to the Green River Killer, these are twelve of the deadliest killers in Washington state history.

A-Z: Celebrities You Didn't Know Were From Washington

Who knew Washington state was home to so many celebrities? So many, in fact, that it was really hard to pick who made the list. There were so many athletes and musicians to choose from that we started to look in other directions. We did have one rule, however. There are no serial killers or career criminals on this list. I would like to thank Jeff Deminski from New Jersey for this wonderful idea.

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