People Magazine Investigates: Where is survivor Shasta Groene now and how did she escape Joseph Duncan III?

Shasta Groene, the sole survivor of the Groene family massacre (Image via Shasta Groene)
Shasta Groene, the sole survivor of the Groene family massacre (Image via Shasta Groene)

With the upcoming season of People Magazine Investigates, the premiere is all set to see the Groene family massacre and the sole survivor Shasta Groene. In March 2005, Joseph Duncan III, a serial killer and registered sex offender, broke into Groene's home in northern Idaho.

He murdered Brenda Groene, the children's mother, Mark McKenzie, the mother's boyfriend, and the teenage son, Slade Groene.

Shasta, then eight years old, and her brother Dylan Groene were allegedly kidnapped by Joseph Duncan III and taken to the surrounding Lolo National Forest. He assaulted both of them and murdered nine-year-old Dylan. She was rescued after being spotted in a local restaurant in Coeur d'Alene.

Read on for more details about Shasta Groene's rescue and her current state.


How did Shasta Groene escape Joseph Duncan III?

Shasta Groene was kidnapped by registered sex offender and murderer Joseph Duncan after slaughtering his family and took her and her brother captive on May 16, 2005. During the next seven weeks, the perpetrator allegedly moved from campsite to campsite with the kids to avoid the law enforcement. He assaulted both the children for seven weeks and murdered Dylan, then aged nine.

On July 2, 2005, Joseph Duncan III reportedly drove the eight-year-old for breakfast at a local Denny's in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. After some employees and customers spotted the kid with the recognized violent predator, they immediately alerted the authorities. A restaurant worker kept Duncan and Shasta busy while the owner alerted the police.

The police arrived soon after and arrested Joseph Duncan. The two of them were also spotted on the evening of July 1, 2005, in a convenience store in Kellogg, Idaho. Security footage showed Duncan and Shasta in the store.

Shasta with Joseph Duncan III (Image via AP)
Shasta with Joseph Duncan III (Image via AP)

After Shasta was rescued, she allegedly told the police specific details about Duncan, including the dark gloves he wore, his hammer's brand, his shotgun, and night vision goggles. Duncan also allegedly revealed to Shasta that he had staked their family home for days before the incident.

Joseph Duncan was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of kidnapping for the murder of Brenda, Mark, and Slade. He was later prosecuted for the murder of Dylan and other victims linked to the prolific serial killer.

He died of stage IV brain cancer while on death row.


Where is Shasta Groene now?

Shasta Groene had a long-lasting impact after facing her as an eight-year-old child. Following the incident, she had more to deal with in the form of press and media coverage.

In an interview with KHQ, she said:

"I couldn’t really live my life or go out without someone recognizing me...Everywhere I went it was ‘Oh, there’s Shasta Groene,’ as if I were famous, and I didn’t like that. I was like ‘I’m a normal girl, treat me like a normal girl."

After an incident like this, it isn't easy to get back to normalcy, but Shasta has undoubtedly made progress over the years.

After Duncan's death, she released a statement that said:

"One thing is for sure, he does not exist anymore. Now, we can live our lives knowing that. For so long I have been struggling with hate towards that man. Today, I woke up feeling like my soul was finally free."

Shasta Groene is currently 25-years old and is the mother of four children, with a fifth one due in August. She has been hiding on and off for seventeen years now, trying to lead an everyday life amidst the media spotlight. When she is not dealing with her four kids under seven, she works as the supervising housekeeper at a nearby hotel.

Shasta likes to glam up some days and enjoy a day with just makeup. Speaking about her particular obsession with makeup, she said:

"It makes me feel great...I guess I kind of hide behind makeup."

Shasta plans to share her story in hopes that it will empower other victims. She believes that every day is a new chapter.

People Magazine Investigates will explore the case in detail when it airs on June 6, 2022, on ID.

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