A woman who established a bank account for donations to benefit two northern Idaho siblings after they were kidnapped in a horrific criminal case seven years ago that led to one of their deaths is being sued by the children’s father, who said she mismanaged the funds.
According to the Coeur d’Alene Press, Steven Groene filed the lawsuit in state District Court late last week against Brandy M. Hoagland.
Hoagland, the aunt of Shasta and Dylan Groene, was the administrator of a donation fund that was created after the children were kidnapped in May 2005 by Joseph Duncan. The suit alleges she failed to use the fund’s more than $48,000 in the children’s best interest.
Duncan abducted 9-year-old Dylan and his then-8-year-old sister, Shasta, after killing their older brother, their mother and her fiance with a hammer at the family’s Coeur d’Alene home. He took the children to a remote campsite in western Montana, where he abused and tortured them for weeks before shooting Dylan in the torso and head and burning his body.
Duncan was arrested and Shasta was rescued in July 2005, after Duncan brought the girl back to Coeur d’Alene and a waitress at a Denny’s restaurant recognized her and called police.
In the lawsuit, Steven Groene contends that since September 2005, Hoagland has refused demands that she account for the money donated by the public, which has been held in a local bank account. Steven Groene also contends Hoagland failed to preserve and use roughly $48,000 in the children’s best interest.
Steven Groene is asking a judge to prevent Hoagland from gaining “unjust enrichment” and to require her to restore “all funds misappropriated or mismanaged by her.”
While Shasta and Dylan were missing, Hoagland set up the donation account on May 20, 2005, with the children as the beneficiaries.
According to the lawsuit, members of the public made deposits to the account exceeding $48,000. It was called the Shasta and Dylan Groene Fund, and it has remained open through at least May 2011, according to the lawsuit.
In the lawsuit, Steven Groene contends Hoagland has refused to turn over bank records accounting for roughly $11,000 withdrawn from the account, and that she paid some of the money to third parties who weren’t entitled to the cash.
Duncan was sentenced to life in prison in Idaho state court for the bludgeoning murders, and he was sentenced to death in Idaho’s federal court for his crimes against Shasta and Dylan. Shasta’s statements to police also connected Duncan to the 1997 murder of 10-year-old Anthony Martinez in Beaumont, Calif. After Duncan’s federal sentencing, he was extradited to California and sentenced to two life terms.