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Woman who was kidnapped by serial killer when she was 8 speaks of her relief after he dies of cancer

A woman who was kidnapped by a serial killer in night-vision goggles when she was 8 years old said her soul is ‘finally free’ after he died of terminal brain cancer.

Joseph E. Duncan died early on Saturday at a hospital in Terra Haute, Indiana near the federal prison where he was serving his sentence on federal death row, KXLY reported.   

Shasta Groene, now in her mid-20s, has issued a written statement following Duncan’s death about the man who murdered her entire family.

‘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,’ the statement reads. 

‘I hope other people affected by Joseph Duncan were able to wake up feeling the same way.’

Groene’s statement continued: ‘For some reason I can’t stop thinking about the Anthony Martinez family the last couple days.’

‘They were victims as well as my family. As were Carmen Cubias and Sammie Jo White’s family. I just want to reach out to them. If I could, I would hug them all. If I could, I would take all their pain away,’ she wrote, according to KTVB.

Shasta Groene, now in her mid-20s, has issued a written statement following Duncan’s death about the man who murdered her entire family

Steve Groene, left, with his daughter, 8-year-old Shasta Groene, in July 2005 in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho

Steve Groene, left, with his daughter, 8-year-old Shasta Groene, in July 2005 in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho

An undated evidence photo shows the cabin in Montana where Joseph Duncan held Dylan and Shasta Groene and filmed his crimes

An undated evidence photo shows the cabin in Montana where Joseph Duncan held Dylan and Shasta Groene and filmed his crimes

Serial killer Joseph Duncan in a police photo published in 2011. Duncan's attorneys disclosed late last year that he had terminal brain cancer

Joseph E. Duncan, pictured in a police booking photo, died Saturday of brain cancer in an Indiana hospital while serving a sentence on death row for several murders

Joseph E. Duncan, pictured in a police booking photo in 2008, right, and in 2011, left, died Saturday of brain cancer in an Indiana hospital while serving a sentence on death row for several murders

The Kootenai County Sheriff´s Office in Idaho, which conducted the investigation, also released a statement.

‘In May of 2005, the Groene Family of Kootenai County, living in the Wolf Lodge Bay area, was brutally victimized by a serial killer passing through our community. The family was stalked, attacked and tortured,’ the statement said.

‘It was one of the worst tragedies Idaho has ever seen.’

Duncan was a registered sex offender, telling a therapist that he estimated he had raped 13 younger boys by the time he was 16. He spent much of his life in prison.

His most violent string of crimes occurred in May 2005 while driving across the Idaho Panhandle on Interstate 90.

Duncan spotted two children playing in their swimsuits in the yard of a home next to the freeway. He pulled off the road and started surveillance of the home, later breaking in with night-vision goggles.

He tied up Brenda Groene, 40, her boyfriend Mark McKenzie, 37, and her son, Slade Groene, 13, before beating them to death with a hammer. 

Duncan then kidnapped two of Brenda Groene’s other children: Shasta and her 9-year-old brother Dylan. He took them into the wilds of western Montana, where he tortured and abused them for weeks before killing Dylan.

Shasta was spotted with a man on July 2, 2005 by employees and customers inside a Denny’s diner in Coeur d´Alene who called police and positioned themselves to prevent the man from leaving. 

Groene said she has 'been struggling with hate towards that man' referring to serial killer Joseph Edward Duncan III

Groene said she has ‘been struggling with hate towards that man’ referring to serial killer Joseph Edward Duncan III

Joseph Edward Duncan III stands in court in Indio, California in 2011  after he was sentenced to life in prison for torturing and killing a 10-year-old boy in California in 1997

Joseph Edward Duncan III stands in court in Indio, California in 2011  after he was sentenced to life in prison for torturing and killing a 10-year-old boy in California in 1997

Joseph Edward Duncan III, right, is shown during a hearing at the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department Justice building in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho in 2006

Joseph Edward Duncan III, right, is shown during a hearing at the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department Justice building in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in 2006

Cops arrived with their lights off, drew their weapons and arrested Duncan without incident. Duncan maintained in court that he took Shasta to the restaurant just a few miles from where he killed her family with the intent of returning her to authorities.

Investigators also found Dylan Groene’s remains at a remote makeshift campsite in the Lolo National Forest near St. Regis, Montana.

 During the trial, it was revealed that Duncan shot the boy at point-blank range by holding a sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun to his head.

Duncan videotaped many of his crimes against the Groene children, leading a veteran investigator to say the footage shook him to his core. 

Anthony Martinez of Beaumont, California, was murdered by Joseph Duncan in April 1997

Dylan Groene in an undated photo provided by police. He was killed by Joseph Duncan after he and his sister, Shasta, were kidnapped from their home in Idaho in 2005

VICTIMS: Anthony Martinez of Beaumont, California, (left) was murdered by Joseph Duncan in April 1997, Dylan Groene (right) was killed in 2005

Slade Groene, murdered by serial killer Joseph Duncan in 2005, is remembered by his father in a Facebook post on March 29 with the caption: 'Happy 27th Birthday Slade. You are so loved and very missed'

Mark McKenzie, seen in an undated Kootenai County Sheriff Department photo, was killed along with members of the Groene family by Joseph Duncan

Slade Groene (left) and Mark McKenzie (right) were murdered by serial killer Joseph Duncan in 2005

Brenda Groene, pictured in an undated photo, was killed along with her son, Slade Groene, and her boyfriend, Mark McKenzie, by child molester Joseph Duncan

Brenda Groene, pictured in an undated photo, was killed along with her son, Slade Groene, and her boyfriend, Mark McKenzie, by child molester Joseph Duncan

Duncan was convicted and sentenced to death in 2008 and, after his arrest, DNA evidence linked him to the April 1997 killing of ten-year-old Anthony Martinez of Beaumont, California. He admitted to murdering Martinez in 2011. 

‘The sun is a little brighter today,’ said Diana Martinez, Anthony’s mother, earlier this week. 

‘My soul is lighter. The world is a more beautiful place without the evil that is Joseph Duncan. God chose to make his end a long suffering and I believe that is fitting. The horror of his thoughts consumed him.’

‘While I would’ve liked to witness his execution, knowing he is now standing before God being held accountable for what he has done, what he did to my son, and the horrible crimes he committed to others, that is the real justice,’ Anthony Martinez’s father, Ernesto, said.

Flowers were left at a memorial service for Dylan Groene in July 2005 in Post Falls, Idaho

Items were left by community members near the home of Dylan and Shasta Groene outside Coeur d' Alene, Idaho, in July 25. The children were kidnapped from the house where Joseph Duncan killed the other members of their family

Flowers were left at a memorial service for Dylan Groene in July 2005 in Post Falls, Idaho

Anthony’s younger brother, Marcos, said there is now ‘less evil in the world.’

‘Nothing can bring my brother back, but now Duncan can never hurt anyone again. Because of him, I will spend the rest of my life doing everything I can to fight against any evil left in the world,’ Marcos Martinez said.

‘God has brought pure justice for all those Joseph Duncan has hurt,’ he said. 

Duncan’s attorneys disclosed late last year that he had terminal brain cancer and did not have long to live. He lost the final appeal of his death sentence in 2019.  

Martinez was killed while Duncan was on parole for a rape charge in Washington. He was kidnapped while playing outside of his home and his body was found 15 days later.

Duncan was not suspected of the crime until after his arrest in Idaho and he was extradited to Southern California to be tried for the crime.

Duncan was also linked to the killings of two young girls in Seattle in the 1990s. 

In 2005, Duncan was accused of molesting a young boy on a playground in Minnesota. He posted a low bail and skipped town.  


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