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Shasta Groene Found Alive

Aired July 2, 2005 - 11:15   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN Breaking News.
BETTY NYGUEN, CNN ANCHOR: We have an update on this breaking news to tell you about right now. Eight-year-old Shasta Groene, she is the girl who has been missing since May 18 when her mother, her brother and her mother's boyfriend was found dead in Idaho. Well, apparently, Shasta Groene has been found alive today. We want to go on the phone right now with Shasta's great aunt, Sue Torres, who is in Gillette, Wyoming, to get the latest on this.

Has it been confirmed to you, Ms. Torres, that Shasta is indeed alive and well today?

Yes, it has.

NYUGEN: How did you get the news?

SUE TORRES, SHASTA GROENE'S GREAT AUNT: From my family in Idaho and from my friends at "Spokane News", (UNINTELLIGIBLE) TV, Alana Golds (ph).

NYUGEN: And what did they tell you about how she was found, the circumstances surrounding that?

TORRES: The only thing that I really know is that a waitress at a Denny's restaurant in Coeur D'Alene recognized her.

NYUGEN: And she's well? She's OK?

TORRES: She's well. She's in the hospital. She's talking. She wants her daddy. That's just what I heard from the little gal at the Denny's restaurant that spotted her.

NYUGEN: What about her 9-year-old brother Dylan Groene who has also been missing since May 16? Have you heard about his whereabouts?

TORRES: No, I think Shasta is probably going to take us to him.

NYUGEN: Was Shasta with anyone at this Denny's restaurant? What do you know about that?

TORRES: Yes, and that's -- there's a press conference in Coeur D'Alene right now and they're releasing the name. I hate to same the name without...

NYUGEN: That's OK. Do you know who this person is though? If you don't want to release the name. Who is this person? Is it a male or a female?

TORRES: I've never heard -- it's a male and I've never heard the name before.

NYUGEN: So it's not a relative or a friend or anything like that?

TORRES: I have never heard this name. All I know is he's supposedly from North Dakota.

NYUGEN: A man from North Dakota. Do you know how she was spotted at this Denny's restaurant?

TORRES: In the restaurant. She was in the restaurant with him.

NYUGEN: And one of the workers there recognized her face?

TORRES: Yes, one of the waitresses.

NYUGEN: OK. And just to recap for our viewers, we are learning today that 8-year-old Shasta Groene has been found alive. We are talking on the phone with her great aunt, Sue Torres, who lives in Wyoming. She's giving us the details about this information that we are just learning here at CNN.

So Sue, you told us that she was found at a Denny's restaurant. Any indication where she's been since May 16th?

TORRES: No. And she's -- you know she's at the hospital now and they're going to probably do all their checks that they need. And there will be more as the day goes on.

NYUGEN: And I also want to know the latest, if you can update us, on the investigation into the death of Shasta's mother, brother and her mother's boyfriend. Where is that at this point? TORRES: It's ongoing. I know that there is more agents coming in. And this is going to help us a lot.

NYUGEN: I can tell in your voice that you...


NYUGEN: Go ahead.

TORRES: OK, I'm sorry. I just had another call.

NYUGEN: I can tell in your voice that you are very emotional, which is understandable. Tell me how you're feeling. Are -- you've got to be so relieved that after all this time Shasta has been found alive.

TORRES: Yes, I am. We knew that they're out there and we were going to get them. And now they're coming home.

NYUGEN: Now, you say they. Does that mean her brother is alive, too? TORRES: We -- the family just really, really believes strongly.

NYUGEN: But you have no indication that Dylan Groene is alive at this point?


NYUGEN: Is there speculation or is there any information that leads you to believe that Shasta was with Dylan or has been with Dylan since she went missing on May 16?

TORRES: No -- you know I haven't -- because I haven't got to talk to anybody. The family is still waiting to get in to see her. And all of my family is at the hospital.

NYUGEN: And the other relatives that are around Shasta at this point, who would they be?

TORRES: My nieces, Brandy (ph), Misty, Sammy, and my brother Rocky, my sister-in-law Darlene.

NYUGEN: And I ask because you said Shasta said she wanted to see her father. Is her father there?

TORRES: Oh, I'm sure he is, yes.

NYUGEN: OK. Because we have learned that her mother, her brother and her mother's boyfriend was killed in her mother's home and the search is still underway for the person who killed them. And as we look back at what happened, as we learned this information, give me a sense of do you believe that Shasta has been -- from what you have learned today, has been in the Idaho area all this time?

TORRES: I don't know. But thank God she was there last night.

NYUGEN: Because she was found with this gentleman, this man from North Dakota, you say, at a Denny's restaurant but you have no clue as to who this person is.

TORRES: No, I never heard of the name.

NYUGEN: OK. So do you have any indication when we will be able to hear or when you might hear from Shasta, so we would get an idea of how she is doing, if she has been injured, and what she's undergone since May 16 when she went missing?

TORRES: I'm sure that will come out with the investigation. She probably just wants her family right now.

NYUGEN: And have you learned from those that you've spoken with today what Shasta has told them about where she's been, what she has seen and what she's undergone for this, well over a month now?

TORRES: Yes. No, I haven't and I'm sure that they're still, you know, making sure she's OK. NYUGEN: OK. Sue Torres, Shasta' great aunt, we appreciate your time and what information you did have to provide with us today. Thank you.

We want to go now and grab some more information on the story that is just still breaking at the moment. Melissa Luck is a reporter with KXLY. She is at the Denny's restaurant where Shasta Groene was discovered today, where she was found.

Melissa, what you can tell us about the circumstances on how she was found at that Denny's restaurant?

MELISSA LUCK, KXLY REPORTER: Well, it just happened around 2:00 this morning, so obviously a young girl coming into a Denny's at two in the morning is going to catch the attention of some of folks here. Two women who work here, one manager and one server, noticed her, thought she looked familiar and were looking for the picture that they had hanging of Shasta in the restaurant to try to compare and see if this was the same young girl. They couldn't find that flyer. In fact, they think maybe the man who Shasta came in with may have taken it down when they came into the restaurant. But they stat there for a few minutes. They kept walking around and trying to connect and tried to talk this little girl, in fact, to get a closer look and see if she was Shasta Groene.

Now, at one point, they figured we better just call the police, take their chances even if this is a false report just in case. So they did call the police. And they needed to keep this pair here while they were waiting for police to arrive, so they talked Shasta into ordering a milkshake. And they took their time making it and then brought it to her just before police arrived.

Now, at that point, police came in. They questioned the man that Shasta was with and questioned Shasta separately. At that point, one of waitresses who was here at Denny's asked the little girl, what's her name, and she said, "I'm Shasta Groene," immediately starting crying. The waitress picked her up and the waitress ended up talking to her later on in a squad car where she was crying, saying she wanted her daddy. She just wanted to go home and she wanted her daddy. So there is elation her at the Denny's right now and just a lot of satisfaction for being able to put those two things together and try to figure out if this was indeed Shasta Groene.

NYUGEN: Yes. That was some quick thinking on the part of the workers there at the Denny's restaurant. Can you give us an indication of exactly where is this restaurant in relationship to the house where Shasta's mother, brother and her mother's boyfriend were found murdered?

LUCK: The restaurant is right in the town of Coeur D'Alene. The house is about -- probably about 10 miles from where we are. But we are right on Interstate 90 and so is the house. So it's a relatively -- I mean it's 10 miles away, but it's a relatively short drive from where all of this happened, which is -- it's what is stunning so many people who are coming here this morning thinking I can't believe they're -- you know that she's been found here in Coeur D'Alene when they've been looking for so long.

NYUGEN: Absolutely. They've been looking since May 16 and I find it very shocking that she was so close to home at this Denny's restaurant. What do you know about man that she was in the restaurant with?

LUCK: I don't know too much. We heard a description this morning from the workers here. They say he was a tall man in his late 30's, early 40's, dark hair, curly hair. They said he was calm and relaxed the entire time they were here. He didn't appear agitated. He didn't seem like he was really trying to hide anything. They ordered an appetizer sampler. They were sharing it. And at one point, he took Shasta. She went into the restroom. And he went into the men's restroom separately. And they said he didn't really become upset until that first squad car pulled into the parking lot and that he immediately bolted back to the table. At that point, the Denny's manager had told the cooks, "You guys hang out at the back door. Do not let this guy get out of here." And she said there was a table of about five guys sitting next to them, and she was ready to let them know, hey, don't let this guy get out. So when police came in, they said he was cooperative and he did go with authorities.

There is a press conference that happened a little while ago and they talked about this man. I've only heard a little bit because I'm not at that scene. But we had heard he's from Fargo, North Dakota. He has a warrant out for his arrest already and that he was booked on that warrant and kidnapping charges and is being questioned right now.

At 9:00 Pacific Time, they're having another press conference to talk about his criminal history and a little bit more about his arrest. But they said right now they don't think that there's any connection that they know of between him and Shasta Groene.

NYUGEN: All right. And so, when Shasta was in this restaurant and the folks in Denny's, the employees there noticed her, did they also notice that there was a sense of fear between Shasta and this man that she was with?

LUCK: No. They said that they had asked her a couple of questions. They were asking her if she wanted some crayons or just asking her, you know what she wanted to eat. And they said she was hesitate especially with the younger waitress and she would kind of look up at the man and say, "Is that OK" in a quiet voice and kind of wait for him to respond. But they said there didn't seem like an overwhelming sense of fear. She wasn't trying to run away and being pulled back or anything like that. But they said she was a little hesitant. And obviously, as soon as the police came, she really broke down.

NYUGEN: What about the whereabouts of her brother, 9-year-old Dylan Groene? What do you know about that?

LUCK: We know that they're searching down several leads this morning. The sheriff said about a half hour ago that this story is developing rapidly. He is saying that they don't know where Dylan Groene is right now but obviously the investigators are going to keep some things close to their vest right now as they try to find this little boy.

But again, we don't know. And that's kind of the concern and the mixed feelings here at this Denny's. There's so much happiness for finding Shasta and now new hope for finding Dylan, but still a lot of concern about where exactly he is right now.

NYUGEN: And in speaking with Shasta, was there any indication that she aware of what had happened to her family, her mother and her brother who were murdered?

LUCK: You know there was one conversation that this waitress had when she was sitting in the back of the squad car with Shasta, kind of calming her down and comforting her, and someone asked about her brother. Now, she said, at that point, he's in heaven. But then they figured out later she was referring to her brother, Slade, who was killed in that triple murder. So it seems -- if that's any indication, obviously she knows what's gone on with her family. But we don't know specifically how much she knows. And I'm sure that's what investigators are trying to find out right now.

NYUGEN: And let us get an idea of her condition when she was found. Did she appear healthy and unharmed?

LUCK: They said she looked great. In fact, we were -- you know my first question was was her appearance altered in any way and they said, no. She looked just like the pictures and that she looked healthy and you know, considering the circumstances, she looked pretty good. And the sheriff echoed that as well. So she's being examined right now at a local medical center. And I'm sure we'll maybe find out more about her condition. But they said here at the Denny's that she looked fine.

NYUGEN: All right. And let's go back to this man that she was found with, this man from Fargo, North Dakota, who had a warrant out for his arrest. Do we know what that warrant is and what kind of a criminal history he might have?

LUCK: We don't know at this point. We know that the sheriff here in Kootenai County is giving a press conference at 9:00 Pacific Time and has promised to release that information: what his criminal history is and kind of how they think he may have come to be in Coeur D'Alene and be with Shasta Groene. But they said they're saving that for 9:00.

NYUGEN: So this is not a man who was known in that community? This was not someone that people were familiar with?

LUCK: I'm sorry, say that again.

NYUGEN: So this is not a man who was known in that community there in Coeur D'Alene? This is not someone that people were familiar with?

LUCK: Not that I know of at this point. They said they've never seen him her in the Denny's, a place that they have a lot of regulars. And I don't -- they just said he's from Fargo. But I don't know how long he's been in this area, if he has a local address. They didn't mention that this morning. So that I'm sure will come up in this upcoming press conference in less than an hour.

NYUGEN: All right. We are going to let you go for a moment so you can gather your information. We'll probably be checking back. We want to thank you for your time, Melissa Luck with affiliate KXLY.

This story, the information is still streaming in to CNN. But just for a quick recap right now, 8-year-old Shasta Groene who has been missing for six weeks, since May 16 where her mother, her brother and her mother's body friend was found murdered in their home, has been found today. She was found today not far from her home there in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho.

And we understand she was discovered at a Denny's restaurant with a man from North Dakota. We don't know much about this man but we are hoping to learn more about that through the day. Perhaps we can learn some more about that actually right now with Captain Ben Wolfinger. He is with Kootenai County, the sheriff's department there.

Captain, tell me about what you know about what happened this morning and how it played out?

CAPT. BEN WOLFINGER, KOOTENAI COUNTY, IDAHO POLICE: Well, about 1:50 this morning, the staff at the Denny's restaurant here in Coeur D'Alene recognized Shasta Groene sitting a booth there in the restaurant. They contacted the Coeur D'Alene city police who responded to the restaurant, were able to confirm that it was indeed Shasta and were able to take the man who she was with into custody without any problems. His name is Joseph Edward Duncan III. He's from -- he's 42 years of age. He listed an address of Fargo, North Dakota. That's about all that we have at this time. Investigators are obviously overwhelmed right now with the amount of information and they're following up with all of the information that they're being able to gather at this point.

NYUGEN: Captain, this Joseph Edward Duncan, this 42-year-old man who was found with Shasta this morning, we had learned just moments ago from Melissa Luck with one of the affiliates there that he does of a warrant out for his arrest. What kind of a criminal history does this man have?

WOLFINGER: Well, we're just getting that information now. We hope to have it here for the 9:00 briefing. We're just gathering that stuff here in our office right now as we speak.

NYUGEN: Has he provided you with any kind of information as to why he was with Shasta Groene?

WOLFINGER: Not at this point. The investigators are going to be with him as the morning progresses.

NYUGEN: OK. And let's talk about Shasta for just a moment. When she was discovered, condition wise, health wise, how did she appear?

WOLFINGER: Well, she was -- she appeared to be in generally good health. She was obviously in a Denny's restaurant eating. And but -- as just as a precaution and as a matter of procedure, she was taken to the hospital to be checked out there.

NYUGEN: Was her appearance altered in any way?

WOLFINGER: No. She looked very similar to the pictures we have.

NYUGEN: OK. Some really quick thinking by the employees there at the Denny's restaurant, wouldn't you say? WOLFINGER: Absolutely. They did a great job. And the media here in the local area did a great job keeping Shasta and Dylan's pictures out there so it's fresh in the mind of everyone and that really made the difference here.

NYUGEN: Speaking of fresh in the mind, when we hear about Shasta being discovered alive today, there are a lot of people thinking about Dylan as well. We have his picture up on the screen. What do you known about whereabouts of Dylan Groene who is still missing at this point, correct?

WOLFINGER: Well, we -- he is. We don't have that information yet. The investigators are trying to work those leads at this point. We just know that he wasn't with Shasta and Duncan at the time.

NYUGEN: So you don't know if he is at maybe another location? He wasn't with them at that time?

WOLFINGER: We don't know yet. And hopefully as the morning progresses, we'll get some more information.

NYUGEN: OK. What do you know about the investigations into the murders of Shasta's mother, her brother and her mother's boyfriend?

WOLFINGER: Well, that's really too early to tell at this point. As I said, the investigators have got all this new information and they're digging through it as fast as they possibly can right now. The key right now is that we know where Shasta is and she's here and she's safe. And from that, the investigators are going to follow every other possible lead to get this entire case solved and resolved as rapidly as possible.

NYUGEN: Captain, how surprised are you that Shasta was found today in the same city where she went missing on May 16?

WOLFINGER: Oh, I think that we were all a little surprised but we're just all very relieved that she was found and she's here -- right here with us.

NYUGEN: What does this tell you though as you look into this investigation?

WOLFINGER: Well, it really doesn't tell us a whole lot until we -- the investigators have a chance to talk to Shasta and to talk to Mr. Duncan and tell us what else is -- you know what other information will come from those. You know it just does tell us though that you never give up hope. And this is the proof. NYUGEN: And so this Mr. Duncan, this Joseph Edward Duncan, this 42-year-old man who was found with Shasta this morning, did he provide you with any information? Was he able to tell you anything, give you any clues as to what has happened, what has transpired since May 16 when Shasta went missing?

WOLFINGER: Like I said a little bit ago, the investigators are getting ready to visit with Mr. Duncan and we'll know more as their investigation continues today.

NYUGEN: Was it just the two of them or were they were with someone else there at the restaurant?

WOLFINGER: It was just the two of them at the restaurant.

NYUGEN: OK. All right, Captain Ben Wolfinger with the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department, we appreciate your time and your insight on this. Of course, we will be checking back in throughout the day to find out what you have discovered through the investigation.

But just to recap now for our viewers. We have learned today that 8-year-old Shasta Groene who has been missing since May 16, about six weeks ago, when her mother, her brother and her mother's boyfriend were found murdered in their home, she has been found alive today at a Denny's restaurant of all places near her home. We have learned that employees there at the Denny's restaurant saw her come in around 2:00 a.m. this morning and thought she looked familiar. And with that, they notified police and tried to stall them so they could get police there to determine if indeed this is 8-year-old Shasta Groene. That was the case. So 8-year-old Shasta Groene has been found alive today. But there are so many questions right now. One, where is her brother, 9- year-old Dylan Groene? He also went missing on May 16 when Shasta did after the murders were found in their home. We also don't know much about this Joseph Edward Duncan, who is the 42-year-old man who was found with Shasta at this Denny's restaurant.

We have learned from law enforcement, Captain Ben Wolfinger with Kootenai County, that he is being questioned at this moment, to try to determine exactly his role in this, if indeed he is linked at all to the murders of Shasta's mom. We have learned though through Melissa Luck of an affiliate there, KXLY, that Mr. Duncan does have a warrant out for his arrest, so he may have a criminal history. But the details should be coming shortly, I understand, at noon Eastern. We should be hearing more in a news conference there so you'll want to stay tuned for that.

But right now, we want to give you some background information. As all of this is coming in to you, let's stop for a moment and give you a recap of what exactly what happened. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not a cold case. This is a very active case.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sheriff Rocky Watson says that the triple homicide and missing children case are still a top priority at the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seems like a lull. It's the dogmatic portion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been a month since Shasta and Dylan vanished without a trace from a grizzly triple homicide scene where deputies discovered their mother, brother and stepfather dead inside the home. A motive for this crime has yet to be revealed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Typically driven, typically things like this are driven either by love, money or drugs and we just seem to have a little dabble into everything going on here but no one strong, single avenue yet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Local and federal investigators have interviewed 700 people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and however, they pick up one thread that leads to DNA that runs to a national data. And none of that stuff exists. It's not there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Though Watson says that detectives are following a lot of credible leads, little information has been released.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to keep that back so people aren't building alibis and throwing away evidence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And investigators are no closer now than they were a month ago to a suspect or locating the two missing children. Watson still remains hopeful the children will home safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need to believe those children are still alive today. You know why would I kill a family of five to carry away two bodies?


NYUGEN: And that background piece is from our affiliate, KREM.

We want to go now to CNN's Alina Cho, who has been covering this story since the beginning when Shasta Groene's mother, brother and her mother's boyfriend were found dead in their home in Coeur D'Alene. We'll be chatting with her in just a moment. But we do want to emphasize the fact that 8-year-old Shasta Groene, missing since May 16, for almost six weeks now, has been found alive today. She was found at a Denny's restaurant near her home in Idaho. A lot of information is still coming in. But I think, as we heard from family members, we talked to her great aunt just a little bit ago, Sue Torres, she is elated and very emotional over the fact that Shasta has not only been found but she has been found alive. And we understand from all the people that we have spoken with today that she appears to be in good condition. So that is some good news today.

We want to go now to CNN's Alina Cho, as I mentioned, has been following this case since the very beginning. Alina, can you believe it? Six weeks after she went missing, she was found alive today. And I think the thing that's most surprising to me was she was found so close to home.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is unbelievable, Betty. I'm not sure if you remember way back when. It has been several weeks. When I was covering this in Idaho, Captain Ben Wolfinger, who I know you just spoke to just moments ago, had sort of echoed what local officials had been saying all along, which was that they were confident that the kids would be found alive.

Now, I know we're not sure yet of the fate of Shasta's brother Dylan. But it is encouraging because the local officials, including Captain Wolfinger and the sheriff Rocky Watson, I believe is his name, continued to say that they were holding out hope because essentially, when they went into the home and they did a thorough search of the home, they said it would be almost impossible to imagine that these killers would come in, kill three people, the mother, brother and the mother's boyfriend, and leave two kids alive. So they thought they would have taken them alive and they were confident that these kids would be found alive.

Now, there was a search that was centered about 50 miles north of area of Coeur D'Alene and they had centered on a van, I believe, at the time that turned out to be nothing. So it is quite encouraging news and hopefully the brother, Dylan, will be found alive.

NYUGEN: Yes, that's what we're hoping to hear. We're also hoping to hear exactly where Shasta has been these past six weeks when she was missing. But as you mentioned though, throughout all of this, investigators were pretty confident that they would find these children and they would find them alive.

CHO: It is incredible, really, as you mentioned Betty that Shasta was found so close. And I think you bring up an important point. I think the key to all of this is who was Shasta found with. It seems as though and I haven't heard all of the coverage, I'll be honest with you, but I did hear that she was sent to the hospital sort of as a precautionary measure but she seems to be OK. But the key really here is now is who was she found with and how does this move the investigation forward in terms of who killed her mother, her brother and her mother's boyfriend. So those are the big questions as we move forward now, Betty.

NYUGEN: Yes, those are the big questions. What we know so far, Alina, just to give a recap, she was found at that Denny's restaurant near her home in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho this morning, early this morning around 2:00. That's why the employees really caught on to looking into who is this girl that they thought was familiar over the simple fact that she came in so late at night. But she was with a man named Joseph Edward Duncan. He's a 42-year-old man out of Fargo, North Dakota. That's pretty much all we know about him except for the fact that he does have a warrant out for his arrest. So as you mentioned, the question right now is how is he related to this case, meaning, was he involved in the murders and what is he doing with Shasta Groene? CHO: I think it's extraordinary too that when you consider this story really has largely been out of spotlight for the past month or so. Of course, I was there personally for a little more than a week. But after about a week, week and a half, I know that the national media, certainly, in a sense, dropped out of this story. And so, it is extraordinary that she was found alive, first of all, but that in some sense, I suppose the local media must have kept this story alive because I know that at the time, her pictures were up everywhere, including her brother's, of course, all over the place. There was an A.M.B.E.R Alert for quite some time as you know, but all the local businesses, homes even had posted pictures of Dylan and Shasta. And so, perhaps that helped in the search because clearly it was someone who recognized her in that Denny's, so again, just extraordinary that they found this little girl alive six, seven weeks after she disappeared.

NYUGEN: It absolutely is. And let me ask you, since you have covered this story and you spent some time there, what do you know about Shasta Groene and her brother Dylan? What do you know about them? Are they the type of children who would run for help or children? Are they children who would try to pick up the phone and call? Or are these quiet and reserved children?

CHO: Well, I understand that these two children lived in wooded area. And they -- their family members believed for a very long time that they may have just run away together. They were very, very close, according to relatives. These were two kids who their relatives said would, if one wanted a drink, they would say can we get one for the other. They were constantly around each other holding hands, constantly hugging. They were described as very loving kids. And so, these were two kids who -- and to be honest with you, I'm a little surprised that one was found without the other because these two kids were so very close. And so again, that is another big question as we move forward in this investigation, Betty.

NYUGEN: Yes, I think you bring up a very interesting point because from the beginning we have placed their pictures up side by side and mentioned both of them missing, 8-year-old Shasta and 9-year- old Dylan Groene, and when we heard news this morning that Shasta was found and indeed she was found alive, the next question is where is her brother? So I mean, of course, you don't have the information as to where he might be but I think the point needs to be made that these two, I guess you would say, were inseparable.

CHO: Yes, they were. I mean, as I mentioned, very, very close siblings. And again, I think important to note that part of the reason why the family held out hope is because these two children lived in -- you have to understand, this home was essentially the only home in the area on the block. And a block, I say, in a very general sense because it was a wooded area. You're talking about Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, which is some of the most beautiful country -- beautiful area in the country. And it was surrounded by forest and woods and -- which is part of the reason why local officials spent so much time on the search. They searched the perimeter of Lake Coeur D'Alene. They searched the wooded area several times by foot. They searched all of the streams and lakes and ponds in the area. And so, they thought that these kids might be together, maybe hiding. Maybe they thought that they were in trouble for whatever happened in that home and so they ran away. And that's why, largely why, the family kept up hope.

Now, again, to remind you, officials said that it is nearly impossible to believe that someone or the killers would come into a home and kill three people and leave two children alive. And you know this is one of those rare stories that has somewhat of a happy ending though we're still waiting to know the news about Dylan. But I think the family is certainly hoping now that Dylan won't be far behind.

NYUGEN: And they are no doubt thrilled that 8-year-old Shasta Groene was found alive today. And we've learned too, Alina, that when the officers made it to the Denny's restaurant and they were able to pick up Shasta, one of first things she said was "I want to see my father." So tell us a little bit about the family members that she has there in Idaho. Of course, we know her mother and brother were murdered. What do we know about family that's left there in Idaho?

CHO: Well, her father -- if my memory serves me right, I believe his name is Steven Groene. He made several pleas to the media during that week that I was there, tearful please, as you might imagine. And remember, this was a family under scrutiny. Local police officials, the FBI even conducted lie detector tests on at least one if not several of the family members. And many of the family members, I know, willingly sort of came forward and said, listen, anything to help the search in terms of finding these children we will do. And so I believe the father did take a lie detector test. I believe other members of the family did as well or certainly they offered to. And they wanted to make sure that all of the information was out there so that these kids could be found alive.

Now whether that had anything to do with ultimately finding Shasta, it doesn't appear so since she was found at 2:00 in the morning in a Denny's. But this was a close knit family as far as I could tell. We didn't have too much access to them. I did spend some time talking to one of the -- one of the aunts, Steven Groene's brother, whose name is Wendy Price. And she made several tearful please. She came from Spokane, Washington, which is not too far, or maybe it was the Seattle area. Nonetheless, she came from Washington State and stayed there with her brother, Steven Groene, the father, throughout this whole ordeal, Betty.

NYUGEN: Alina, I'm going to ask you stand by for just a moment because we want to put up a live picture up of the area where we understand we'll be learning a lot more in about 20 minutes. At noon Eastern, a press conference will take place in this area, as you see right here. Folks are still beginning to set up. And there, we hope to learn more about this Joseph Edward Duncan, the 42-year-old man who was found with Shasta Groene.

But in the meantime, Alina, I think, you know, we've all covered these stories for months on end. And this one, six weeks into it, it is often very surprising that these children who have been missing especially for that long are found alive. It's definitely good news. CHO: Oh, of course it is. I mean there's no question. I think that I'll be honest with you, I mean the -- sort of the chatter among reporters who were covering the story was that yes, there was sort of one camp, if you will, who said, listen, it really doesn't make sense for the killers to come in and kill three people and leave two -- and leave two children. These children must be alive. And then there was also the thought that perhaps that was what happened, that maybe someone came in, killed the mother, the brother, and the boyfriend, and then took the two children. But then what was the question. And some people in the media at least had speculated that perhaps they would eventually -- the killer or killers or whoever took these people, took these two children would have to kill the children because they would be possible witnesses. And so, certainly, as time passed, there was less hope that these children would be found alive. But it is such heartwarming news that this little girl was alive.

I'm not sure if you remember, Betty, but there was actually some home video. I'm not sure if we have it handy but...

NYUGEN: Yes, of her at school.

CHO: ...there is home video -- there was some home video of Shasta that was taken while I was there -- actually, I'm sorry, not while I was there but we obtained it while I was there in Idaho.

NYUGEN: Right.

CHO: Yes, and it was of her at school essentially presenting a science project, I believe. And it was -- it really put -- gave a sense of what this little girl was like to see moving pictures of her and -- versus just a still picture of her and her brother.

I apologize for the noise, I'm actually here in Philadelphia on another story, which is the Live 8 concert and it's getting quite loud. I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to hear you but nonetheless, extraordinary and it's heartwarming news that this little girl was found alive.

Betty, I'm going to send it back to you.

NYUGEN: All right, CNN's Alina Cho. Alina, we thank you for your insight on this because of course, you had covered this from the beginning. That was Alina Cho in Philadelphia at the Live 8 concert there.

But back to our breaking news today, 8-year-old Shasta Groene who has been missing for six weeks, since May 16 when it was discovered that her mother, her brother and her mother's boyfriend were found murdered in their home in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho. She went missing with her 9-year-old brother Dylan Groene. But this morning, we have learned that 8-year-old Shasta Groene was found alive at a Denny's restaurant around 2:00 in the morning. She was with a gentleman named Joseph Edward Duncan, a 42-year-old man from Fargo, North Dakota. We're hoping to learn a lot more about this man and his connection to those murders, if there indeed is a connection. That should take place in about 16 minutes. A news conference will be taking place there in Idaho. We will take that live when it happens.

But right now, I want to you take you back to a conversation I had oh, about 20 minutes or 30 minutes ago that we had with Shasta Groene's aunt -- her great aunt, Sue Torres. This is what he had to say after learning about Shasta being found alive today.


TORRES: The only thing that I really know is that a waitress at a Denny's restaurant in Coeur D'Alene recognized her.

NYUGEN: And she's well? She's OK?

TORRES: She's well. She's in the hospital. She's talking. She wants her daddy. That's just what I heard from the little gal at the Denny's restaurant that spotted her.

NYUGEN: What about her 9-year-old brother Dylan Groene who has also been missing since May 16? Have you heard about his whereabouts?

TORRES: No, I think Shasta is probably going to take us to him.

NYUGEN: Was Shasta with anyone at this Denny's restaurant? What do you know about that?

TORRES: Yes, and that's -- there's a press conference in Coeur D'Alene right now and they're releasing the name. I hate to same the name without...

NYUGEN: That's OK. Do you know who this person is though? If you don't want to release the name. Who is this person? Is it a male or a female?

TORRES: I've never heard -- it's a male and I've never heard the name before.

NYUGEN: So it's not a relative or a friend or anything like that?

TORRES: I have never heard this name. All I know is he's supposedly from North Dakota.

NYUGEN: A man from North Dakota. Do you know how she was spotted at this Denny's restaurant?

TORRES: In the restaurant. She was in the restaurant with him.

NYUGEN: And one of the workers there recognized her face?

TORRES: Yes, one of the waitresses.

NYUGEN: OK. And just to recap for our viewers, we are learning today that 8-year-old Shasta Groene has been found alive. We are talking on the phone with her great aunt, Sue Torres, who lives in Wyoming. She's giving us the details about this information that we are just learning here at CNN. So Sue, you told us that she was found at a Denny's restaurant. Any indication where she's been since May 16th?

TORRES: No. And she's -- you know she's at the hospital now and they're going to probably do all their checks that they need. And there will be more as the day goes on.

NYUGEN: And I also want to know the latest, if you can update us, on the investigation into the death of Shasta's mother, brother and her mother's boyfriend. Where is that at this point?

TORRES: It's ongoing. I know that there is more agents coming in. And this is going to help us a lot.


NYUGEN: That's a conversation I had a little bit earlier with Shasta Groene's great Aunt Sue Torres.

Again, just to recap, Shasta Groene, 8 years old, missing since May 16, has been found alive today. This is something that you don't hear about too often, unfortunately, but there is good news to report that she is indeed alive. And we understand -- from all the people that we have spoken with, including Captain Ben Wolfinger with Kootenai County, the sheriff's department there, we understand that Shasta Groene is not only alive, but she is in good condition.

We want to go now to Pat Brown who is a criminal profiler to get some insight on what we may be able to take from what we know so far.

Pat, I guess first thing that I want to ask you is when it comes to this man, Joseph Edward Duncan, a 42-year-old man who brings 8- year-old Shasta Groene into a Denny's restaurant so close to home, does that surprise you?

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, all I can say is that we can be glad that whoever is involved in this crime whether it's one person or two, they have a combined IQ of about 70. So that's good because yes, it is -- it's astonishing. I mean, obviously you know you're wanted; obviously you know the kids are wanted. Who would think you could walk in a Denny's in the same town and not -- and have anybody recognize the kid, except for someone is either off his meds, doing too much drugs or just a few bolts short of a, you know, much of a very intelligent mind. Yes, it is -- it really is stunning. And this, of course, is a wonderful thing because it helps when criminals are stupid so that we can actually save lives.

NYUGEN: And it also helps to know today that Shasta Groene is indeed alive. This is something -- I mean you're a criminal profiler. We cover this all the time in the business being journalists with children missing, especially when you're missing for this amount of time, six weeks, since May 16, often it's not the case that they are found alive. But in this instance, I mean what kind of clue does this give you into where she's been or what she's undergone?

BROWN: Oh, well, I'm sure it hasn't been very pleasant. That's the unfortunate part because, you know, she's been by a sexual predator and so that can't be good news.

NYUGEN: Well, do we know if he's a sexual predator?

BROWN: Apparently, he -- well, it's according to what people are finding that -- the searches they've done on the net are coming with a guy with exactly his name and exactly his age and exactly that location he's from, who's a sexual predator. So my guess is probably. So we don't know yet but you know it just can't be good.

But one of curious things is why he took the kids to begin with. Someone asked me would a sexual predator go through all this work just to take a couple kids and why two? And the answer is usually that is not what they're going to. Why bother to kill a bunch of people just to get some kids and why take town instead of one? So it doesn't make a lot of sense. I don't necessarily believe that the purpose of this crime was a sexual one. You know when you're a sexual predator it doesn't mean you don't do other kinds of crimes as well. So the question is why were these kids taken? Was there a retaliation against the people that were killed and some kind of drug issue and that the kids were taken as hostages and time has just gone on? Or were they people killed because it was a family issue, someone was angry at the mother of these kids and then the kids were taken and somebody was hiding them for someone else? So there are two people involved. I mean there's all kinds of possibilities. We just don't know at this point about why the kids were kept and why they were kept alive and why they were kept in town. Why not just leave town if you have no connections to that town and no reason to have them there? Why not go away? That's the most curious part.

NYUGEN: Right. And hopefully we'll learn more about that at noon Eastern, we should be hearing a news conference out of Idaho on the circumstances surrounding the discovery of Shasta Groene. But the thing that also was striking to me, Pat, was that when she was found, my question to both Captain Ben Wolfinger and the reporter who was the scene with -- did she appear fearful of this man and they said, she didn't.

BROWN: Well, I'm not -- I would guess that she's got a bit of Stockholm syndrome there. I mean she's been kept by him. He's the one who's feeding her, taking care of her. He is her lifeline up to that point. She had to trust him in a strange sense and that's called Stockholm syndrome. So that could be why, you know, she wasn't particularly scared of him. It's also possible that he did not sexually assault her. And that would be odd if he is a sexual predator but -- that he was keeping them, as I said, for somebody and therefore, she didn't have any kind of -- I mean she thought she was being protected. Who knows? Maybe she thought, oh my God, somebody came and killed my family and this guy is protecting me. Who knows what is going through her mind? She's a child under a terrible stressful situation. We're probably going to find all those answers out now and it's going to be very interesting to see what the truth is behind all of this.

NYUGEN: Well, and another thing, too, is when she finely told the Denny's employees and the police officers her name, we understand that she broke down. So... BROWN: Right.

NYUGEN: ...looking at this and your history as a criminal profiler, is that the moment when she feels safe and she can reach out for safety and say, "I am Shasta Groene" and that letting the people know...

BROWN: Right.

NYUGEN: ...the officers know and the Denny's employees know that I...

BROWN: Exactly.

NYUGEN: ...need to reach out for help.

BROWN: Exactly, and now she's going to freed. I mean obviously, she was in captivity. She knows now she's going to be freed. She can return to somebody even though -- and unfortunately, it's not going to be to her mom, but she's going to be able to return to her relatives and she's going to turn to the life she knows and she's back to safety of some sort.

NYUGEN: All right. Pat Brown, criminal profiler, we appreciate your time and your insight on this breaking news that we are learning today. Thank you so much.

We also want to get some more insight from Don Clark. He is a former FBI special agent and he is on the phone with us.

Don, surprised at all of this? It's finally some good news, a happy ending, the fact that she was found alive because so many cases like this, we don't get this kind of an ending.

DON CLARK, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: You bet that it is a good thing, that she's found alive. And the good thing -- and the better thing, well, not the better thing but the equally as important aspect is that they have a body now that they can -- a person that they can start to talk to and hopefully, develop some information that goes back to the beginning of this ordeal.

NYUGEN: So what's going on right now with this Joseph Edward Duncan? He's 42 years old. He was found with Shasta Groene at this Denny's restaurant. Put us in the mind of the investigators right now? What is he undergoing and what are they hoping to learn?

CLARK: Well, you know, there's several things that's going on here, several dynamics. First of all, there's got to be some immediate interviewing of him to try to get the knowledge and information from him and whether he tells them the truth or not, it will work out in the end because they'll determine if it's lies and so forth. But also, what they are -- and they have to be doing is looking at this guy and trying to go back and get some background. And I'm telling you, Betty, I think getting that background information will be equally as important because they'll be able to trace this guy's tracks from wherever and determine who he really is and what he might be up to.

NYUGEN: And in your experience as a FBI special agent, what needs to be done at this point to find Shasta's brother, 9-year-old Dylan Groene?

CLARK: Well, clearly, that's got to be the top priority of their list, is trying to find out from this guy if he has any knowledge of the 9-year-old brother and try to get to him. He is their only avenue to that at this point. And he -- there may be others out there but that's the only one that they have. So they've got to focus on that. And I'm sure that the interrogation techniques will be trying to see if they can elicit any information about the brother. They can work on solving the crime a little bit later but right now the most important thing is try to develop information about the location of the other kid.

NYUGEN: And speaking of location, how surprised are you that she was found so close to home at this Denny's restaurant?

CLARK: You know that's happened before. And it's amazing when we talk about kids of varying ages, how they tend to, seem to trust people or seem to be compliant with people, particularly adults. And that's why we tell kids all the time, we said, look, you know you don't go with adults and yet they still will sometime. And I think that perhaps a little bit of -- that sometimes a little bit of that Stockholm syndrome does come in and particularly when these people pretending to very nice to them.

NYUGEN: So from your perspective, we have several investigations going on right now. We have one dealing with Shasta Groene, what happened to her, why was she found with this Joseph Edward Duncan. We also have an investigation into where is her brother. And then, of course, the third investigation dating back to May 16 when it was discovered that her mother, her brother and her mother's boyfriend were found dead in their home. So investigators have a lot on their hands at this point although there was is some good news, the fact that Shasta was found alive.

CLARK: OK. Well, yes, we do have several aspects of the investigation. The bottom line is is that it's still one investigation into this criminal activity. But it's still several aspects of what's going on here. So they've got to follow evidence in each one of these. And as they try to talk to people, they've got to find out what happened right from the beginning. They've got to find out during the course of what happened with this little girl and to locate the brother, so all aspects of this will be going along together. They can't really separate them because the leads that the information that they get may be the leads to the one piece that connects all of the activities together.

NYUGEN: And as an investigator, of course, they're going to want to talk to Shasta Groene. Is that something that they're going to tread lightly with or do they want to try to get her as soon as possible so it's all fresh on her mind?

CLARK: You know, I think they'll want to talk -- that they'll try to get to this young lady and talk to her for -- as quickly as they can. They have the experts to come in that know how to handle these situations and how to handle kids like her, that's been under such an ordeal. So they'll treat her with the proper protocol and get her to warm up to them so that hopefully she will be able to share with them what took place.

NYUGEN: OK, Don Clark, former FBI special agent, we always appreciate what you have to say, the insight that you have on this case and many others. Thank you for your time.

Again, a quick recap, 8-year-old Shasta Groene, who's been missing since May 16, about six weeks now, was found alive today at a Denny's restaurant near her home. It was at that home around May 16 where it was discovered that Shasta's mother, her brother and her mother's boyfriend were found dead. At the same, Shasta was missing along with her 9-year-old brother, Dylan Groene. But today, we have learned that Shasta has been found alive. We understand that she is in good condition although she is at a local hospital there in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho being checked out to determine if she has any kind of injuries. But on the surface, from her appearance, we have learned from officers on the scene that she appears to be in good condition. So that is definitely some good news in this investigation although, there are still so many questions to be answered.

We want to give you a background piece right now to give you a better sense of exactly how all of this pulls together, what started it with. And what it started with was the murder of Shasta's mother, her brother and her mother's boyfriend. Here is CNN's Alina Cho to bring it all together for you.


CHO (voice-over): The proud little girl in this video showing off a school science project is Shasta Groene. The 8-year-old and her 9-year-old brother, Dylan have now been missing for nearly a week. Wendy Price is their aunt.

WENDY PRICE, AUNT: You hang in there because we're going to find you and we're going to find -- we're going to find you soon.

CHO: The two children have not been seen since the bodies of her mother, 13-year-old brother and the mother's boyfriend were found at their home Monday night. Authorities discovered the bodies after a neighbor called 911.

BOB HOLLINGSWORTH, NEIGHBOR: I went to the door to pay the little kid $10 for mowing the lawn and there's a lot blood all over their door. No one comes to the door and their car is there. And I tried to call them today and I didn't get them.

CHO: Preliminary toxicology results show both the mother and boyfriend were using drugs at the time of their death. Investigators wrapped up their work at the home on Saturday but so far they have few clues and no suspects. The Coeur D'Alene community has only hope to go on, evidence near the children's' school, little consolation for the children's father. PRICE: He hasn't been able to eat. He does not know if Shasta and Dylan are eating. He gets into bed and he can't get comfortable because he doesn't know where they're sleeping. And he can't drink water because he doesn't know if they've had any water. It's been a very difficult week for him. He wants his children back. He wants to -- he wants to put his other child to rest.

CHO (on camera): Dozens of investigators are following hundreds of tips but so far none of them have panned out. Authorities, however, remain hopeful they will find the children alive.

Alina Cho, CNN, Coeur D'Alene, Idaho.


NYUGEN: And we have learned today that they have found one of the missing children alive, 8-year-old Shasta Groene. You are looking at a live shot right now in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho where a news conference will be happening shortly at the top of the hour. At that news conference, we should be learning more about how she was discovered, this Shasta Groene, also about the man she was discovered with, 42-year-old Joseph Edward Duncan. We understand that he does have a warrant out for his arrest. We want to learn more about his criminal history. And that will be taking place at noon and once that happens, we will be taking it live right here on CNN.

But let's bring in now CNN's Alina Cho who has been covering this from the very beginning.

Alina, there were some 1,500 tips that came into the FBI following the disappearance of Shasta and her brother. And it seems that today it was an employee that found the little girl and alerted the police.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Isn't that interesting how it happens like that, Betty? You never know where you're going to receive the ultimate, the great tip that's going to lead you to the child or children alive, in this case the child, Shasta Groene, the 8- year-old who was missing, along with her brother, as you heard in my setup piece.

Since May -- I mean, there was some debate because they were last seen on May 15, which was a Sunday. Now, if you recall, there was a barbecue or a picnic at the house that Sunday afternoon, it went into the evening. There were many questions about that barbecue at the time, Betty if you recall. There were lots of people there and police made a plea at the time to have those people come forward to say, listen -- even just to say, we don't know anything, we didn't see anything and so there were a lot of questions about that barbecue. And maybe there was somebody there who might have seen something, but that turned out not to be true and for many weeks following that, I know that officials were saying that they were holding out hope. We're looking at, I believe, at a picture now of Captain Ben Wolfinger of the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department out there in Idaho.

WHITFIELD: Yes, we are. Let's... CHO: They're about to start a news conference and so I'm not sure if I can...

WHITFIELD: Yeah, Alina, they're about to start so we are going to listen in.

CAPT. BEN WOLFINGER, KOOTENAI CO. SHERIFF'S DEPT.: On cameras here. They've all been e-mailed to all the stations and the newspapers, so the normal media release e-mail groups, so you should have all that at your locations. I've got copies if people want them, whatever that's worth.

We ready?

All right. It's 9:00, we promised the briefing at 9:00. Joseph Edward Duncan III, he's the person in custody, right now charged with kidnapping as well as a couple of warrants, out of state warrants, fugitive from justice warrants.

Other charges are possibly pending, depending on how this investigation goes throughout the day and throughout the weekend. We know he has a history as far back of 1980 of rape in Pierce County, Washington. He is a registered sex offender in Minnesota. One of his outstanding warrants is failure to register as a sex offender in Washington.

The other is a -- is a unlawful flight to avoid prosecution out of Minnesota for second degree sexual offense. His last known address is in Fargo, North Dakota, since 2000. His mother lives in Tacoma. He was arrested on July 3, 2004 for sexual assault at a middle school in Detroit Lakes, Michigan. And he's known to be an avid outdoorsman and quite a scholar is our understanding.

We don't have a whole lot more information on him at this time. Apparently he's also the owner and manager of a Web site that advocates not prosecuting a person -- persecuting child molesters. So, and that my understanding is called I haven't pulled that up yet, so that's something I guess you can all take a look at.

The investigators right now are interviewing Shasta, trying to learn more information. They're following up leads. Everybody -- anybody who had the day scheduled off has been called in to work. Everything is moving at full speed, at this point.

One of the stations has been announcing that Dylan has been found. That is inaccurate. Now, let's correct that, right now. He has not been found, we don't know his location. All we know is that he wasn't with Shasta and Duncan at the time Shasta was recovered this morning, so that's hopefully some of the information that'll come out of the investigators this morning as they're interviewing Shasta. That's all I've got right now.

QUESTION: Ben, where are you looking for Dylan right now?

WOLFINGER: We're not even going to talk about where we're going to look for Dylan. That's going to be based on the investigators and the information they gather. Then and only then we'll start looking. What we told you right from the get-go is that when we get word on the children, a good positive word on the children, we would make sure the children are safe, we'd notify the family, then we'd notify everybody else. And that's -- we're going to stick to that all along.


WOLFINGER: Pardon me?

QUESTION: Steve...

WOLFINGER: Steve was out of state when we first contacted him. And I know he was en route, but I don't know that he's back yet.

QUESTION: What shape is Shasta in this morning? Can you give us more details about...

WOLFINGER: Well, I really can't. I don't know what the medical results were. But, we do know that Shasta was sitting at a restaurant eating a meal, so obviously, she was in good enough shape to be doing that. She's able to talk to investigators.

QUESTION: Is Mr. Duncan actually talking to you? Has he waived anything yet, is he giving you more details?

WOLFINGER: He's in custody right now and the investigators are dealing with Shasta. I don't know that they've actually interviewed Mr. Duncan at this point.

QUESTION: Do you know if Duncan had a connection with the Groene family or with the general area here?

WOLFINGER: We don't have that information yet, you know, that's still some or that very -- we're in the very preliminary stages of this whole situation. We're going to try to put all that together as the day goes along.

QUESTION: Do you know how much the warrant is...

WOLFINGER: I don't know what the bond amounts are out of that. As a fugitive warrant, though, there's no bond in the state of Idaho.

QUESTION: Are you planning on doing any sort of special appearance on him or is it going to wait until Monday or Tuesday...

WOLFINGER: Well, they'll do probable cause hearings in front of the judge by Monday morning, that'd be the procedure, they have to do it with 48 hours, but Tuesday, because of the holiday, it will be first appearance time. That'll be called by the prosecutor of the courts at this time, I don't think that's been decided.

QUESTION: The sheriff had mentioned that Mr. Duncan's name, this is the first time investigators have ever heard of Mr. Duncan, he's never been heard of throughout this investigation. What does this mean as far as... WOLFINGER: Well, I think the fact that we have Shasta here, it's going to generate a bunch of new leads and we know that already. It's already starting. That's why we've all the investigators back and they -- be working those throughout the weekend.

QUESTION: Ben, any...

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the investigators and police officers and sheriff's deputies and everybody...

WOLFINGER: Well, we're very happy that we've got Shasta here and we know where she's at and she's safe and you know, it just gives us renewed hope and just reinforces that hope all along that we find Shasta and Dylan and we get them home.

QUESTION: All right, obvious...

QUESTION: Any indication on where she has been held...

WOLFINGER: The investigators are with her right now and so we won't have the information for a while.

QUESTION: Do you know if she was with her brother?

WOLFINGER: I don't know.

QUESTION: All right, Ben, obviously, Dylan is still the top priority. Now you have three unsolved homicides. How far will this arrest, today, to go to help solving those?

WOLFINGER: Well, it depends on what leads are generated from this, Phil. It's going to take time to sort through all the new information they're gathering as they go through this thing, what Shasta can tell them, if Duncan talks to them, what Duncan can tell them. That will go toward towards the entire case, not just the missing children but homicides as well.

QUESTION: Have investigators been able to through Joseph Duncan's car yet?

WOLFINGER: Well, I know that search warrants was one of the things that have to be done and prosecutors have been involved in this since early this morning, so I'm sure once the search warrants are done and they have the personnel to do it, they'll be able to do that. The vehicle was impounded. It's in -- it's being held in storage right now for us. It's a process as we have time.

QUESTION: Any idea if this guy was actually staying in town or a transient or...

WOLFINGER: Don't know. I just know his home address is in Fargo.

QUESTION: What kind of vehicle is it?

WOLFINGER: I really don't know at this point. Hopefully I'll have some of that information for you by the 11:00.

QUESTION: What do you think of all this now? I mean, that were two months into it. How surprised are you?

WOLFINGER: I'm surprised that she was found here in Coeur d'Alene. I'm very excited that she was found period. And I've always had that confidence and I think that I echoed that throughout this investigation. I was always confident we'd find them.


WOLFINGER: Well, everybody who's available, and I mean everybody who's available has been called in. Anybody who had holiday plans for the weekend pretty much got cancelled.

QUESTION: I head most of the majority of FBI agents working who were working from out of town -- that came in here from out of town are said to return and are working.

WOLFINGER: Well, I know they've been rotating FBI agents through this area for this investigation for several weeks now. And I know in my office this morning that by 4:00 a.m., there were a lot of FBI agents I had never seen before or only seen in passing in the hallway. So we've got a lot of people here still working this case.

QUESTION: When you heard about another possible sighting, what were your hopes...

WOLFINGER: Well actually, when I got the call it had already been confirmed. So, you know, it was a great call to get at 2:30 in the morning.

QUESTION: Can you go into how this was confirmed? We've heard reports that Shasta told the waitress that, "yes, I'm Shasta Groene" and she said, "I want my daddy" (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

WOLFINGER: I don't have that information yet. As we get back with the investigators after they're done talking with Shasta, maybe we'll be able to learn that information.

QUESTION: Was there any incident when Joseph Duncan was arrested or...

WOLFINGER: No. He -- they said he had no problem arresting Mr. Duncan. He was taken into custody without incident.

QUESTION: Ben, what's the process now after you speak with Shasta? Does she go into state custody? Is she reunited with her father? How does all that work?

WOLFINGER: Well, I think that's still being sorted out by the investigators and the prosecutor's office, so that's just still in the process, the paperwork stuff is going to take a little bit of time to figure out, though.

QUESTION: Right now is she a ward of the state? WOLFINGER: I don't know. I really don't know, so...

QUESTION: You have no motive at this time?

WOLFINGER: Oh no, that's going to take some time to develop, that's for sure.

QUESTION: What was Mr. Duncan's state when he was taken into custody? Was he alert or did he seem groggy or did he seem...

WOLFINGER: I don't know. I don't know.

QUESTION: Who actually made the arrest?

WOLFINGER: The city detained him and the county deputies booked him in the jail?

QUESTION: So, is was the Coeur d'Alene police who where called?

WOLFINGER: Right. They were called, it was a Denny's here Coeur d' Alene, they were called on the possible sighting and they confirmed it and detained Mr. Duncan until deputies arrived. Actually, deputies booked him into jail.

QUESTION: Were there two officers?

WOLFINGER: Two or three city officers.

QUESTION: What's Shasta's condition?

WOLFINGER: I don't know what her medical condition is. She's still down at the hospital.

QUESTION: Where's the Denny's at?

WOLFINGER: Pardon me?

QUESTION: Where's the Denny's at (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

WOLFINGER: Fourth and I-90.

QUESTION: Fourth and I-90?

WOLFINGER: Yeah. All right? We'll be back here by 11:00.

QUESTION: Thank you.


WHITFIELD: You were listening to Captain Ben Wolfinger of the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department out of Idaho, a remarkable break in a six-week search for two Idaho children. He explained, rather pointedly, how overnight a young girl, 8-year-old Shasta Groene, was found alive and apparently she was not alone. She was with a man who, Captain Wolfinger, describes as 42-year-old Joseph Duncan, a registered sex offender. That little girl now, Shasta Groene, is now seeking medical attention. However, the search continues for her 9- year-old brother, Dylan.

Now, just to take you back, six weeks ago, apparently her entire family, Shasta Groene's -- nearly her entire family was found beaten to death in their home. There had been a party the night before. Police had conducted a lengthy search looking for any of the participates of that party to find out what may have happened. But they did learn during that search that two members of the family had apparently escaped injury or at least were not there. And that was Shasta Groene, along with her brother Dylan Groene.

A search had been conducted, a widespread search throughout the state. Nothing had turned up. And now, then overnight, apparently a waitress at a restaurant just two miles away from this home where the bodies of those family members were found noticed a little girl with a man, recognized that person, went then to another manager within the restaurant, reportedly, and then they conferred that that appeared to be Shasta Groene, the girl who had been missing now six weeks, called 911. Police then did come, managed to rescue her, identified she was indeed the little girl who has been missing all this time. Apparently now the search continues, though, for the brother, the 9-year-old brother.

And now in custody, Joseph Duncan, the man who the little girl was with, a 42-year-old registered sex offender. And he has now been charged with kidnapping.

On the telephone with us is Don Clark, a former FBI agent, special agent in charge. He's on the phone with us now. And Don, this is a remarkable case, especially since this has been a widespread search for these two kids. Now come to find out one of the kids is found just two miles away from the home. How in the world can this happen?

DON CLARK, FMR. FBI AGENT: Well, you know what I attribute this to? I attribute to law enforcement coming into the 21st century several years ago and being able to utilize the media and all the citizens around to give them as much information as they possibly can so that somebody was able to identify this young girl and call the police, and that's what law enforcement has to be about.

WHITFIELD: It's remarkable that even police during the time said, we need the community's help in this case. That's why anybody who was at the party the night before, we want you to step forward to tell us anything that you know. It was the community members, a couple of community members that identified this little girl as being recognizable and acting very quickly.

CLARK: Yeah, right. And the community has to be a part of policing. And in order for a community to be part of policing, law enforcement has to continue to get out to the community, in general terms and in specific terms, when there are crimes like this what they can within the law so that they can get that help from the community. I think the community really wants to -- and as you saw in this case, clearly they did.

WHITFIELD: Now, there's still -- this case is not closed, by far.


WHITFIELD: Captain Wolfinger said an awful lot of leg work still has to be done to try to close this case. And now the search continues for the 9-year-old boy. The little girl obviously will be questioned. She's receiving some medical attention right now at the nearby county medical center. What sort of questions are they likely asking her about what has taken place over the last six weeks, but, more importantly, about her brother?

CLARK: Well, I think that they're going to be very delicate with her in terms of many of the activities that have taken place over these past few weeks. But, I do think that they will be trying to get as much general information as they can from her about her brother, because right now, making the case is very important, but the most important thing right now is to try to find that little boy. So, I think those are the types of questions that they will be asking her, is about her little brother, and hopefully, that her mental condition will be of such that she'll be able to respond to those.

WHITFIELD: So take us back a little bit. Six weeks ago when this search began, give us a sense as to some of the first steps that are taken involving law enforcement when you have a case where bodies are found, you've got children who are missing, you cast a very wide net looking for the children. At the same time, do investigators go as far as looking at who the registered sex offenders are, anyone who has a record involving any kind of child abductions, anything of the sort to try and help them get into the direction of where these children may be?

CLARK: Oh, clearly they do. And when they come upon a crime scene such as this, the murders are just not the main -- the sole focus, because you've got kids that's missing. So when you have kids that's missing, you got to think about sexual predators, today. And then you also -- the evidence that they develop around the initial crime scene gives them a lot of pointers in different directions and that's where it really starts off from. And if they're doing a good job there, and apparently these people did a pretty good job of piecing this information and identifications and so forth -- then that will lead them to other pieces of information further down the investigative path. But it really all starts right at that scene, no mat arer where that scene may be. That's where it has to start.

WHITFIELD: If this man, Joseph Duncan, allegedly abducted these children, it seems as though, you know, you're talking about investigators, most likely did go through the list of sexual offenders. He is a registered sexual offender, there. How is it perhaps the dots were not connected, you know, as far as him being in possession of these two children?

CLARK: Well, that's a good question. And obviously with us not being there, not knowing exactly what they found out on that sex offenders website. Until recently here, we found that sex offender websites were always not complete and they were always not updated in terms of where sex offenders were. Now there've been some technology out there that's enabled states to be able to update that information and enable a website to be able to put that information out to people within the neighborhood. So that may not have been quite as update as it should have been. I'm not suggesting -- saying that it wasn't, but it's possible that it was not.

WHITFIELD: Sure and there's certainly an awful lot of details that we don't know, Captain Wolfinger making it clear there are certain elements about the investigation they're not ready to reveal just yet.

, thanks so much. Don't go far away because I'm sure we'll chatting with you again soon.

But, also on the telephone with us is Pat Brown, known to be a criminal profiler.

And Pat, thanks so much for sticking with us on this.

BROWN: No problem.

WHITFIELD: Well, try to help us understand this -- this man who is being -- who is suspected of and is being charged now of kidnapping at least one of the children here, Joseph Duncan. We don't know a whole lot about him. Just that -- as Captain Wolfinger made it very clear he is a registered sex offender.

BROWN: Right. Well, we -- it's an interesting case and the police had a lot of problems with this case for a very important reason. A lot of bad behavior was going on. Now, when you work -- when you work with a case where everybody is law abiding and, therefore, when you talk to the witnesses they're all willing to help out and you don't have a lot of squirrelly backgrounds, you don't have as many directions to look. But when you deal with a case where a lot of the people have connections to the people who were murdered and the children taken, they have criminal backgrounds, they have drug issues. They don't really like law enforcement, they don't want to talk to law enforcement themselves, you are dealing with so many possible suspects, so many possible scenarios and so many uncooperative people, it doesn't make your investigation very easy.

WHITFIELD: And in an investigation like this, as you said, you know, they're looking internally before widening the net. They asked that people who are a part of that party that had taken place at the home of these kids to step forward, to cooperate. This is a very remote area, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Apparently, you know, being neighbors means that, you know, a mile can separate you. But, in a case like this, when it is a small town, that the little girl and this suspected kidnapper would be found just two miles away from the house, it seems rather perplexing, doesn't it?

BROWN: It rather boggles the mind. You wonder why he would even stay in town. Why not just disappear with the kids?

WHITFIELD: Does that speak to the bravado of someone who has a lengthy record of child abuse? BROWN: It is possible. Yeah. And he doesn't seem to be the brightest one, because he has been caught quite a few times before. Unfortunately, we keep letting him go. You know, and then one of the questions we have with the whole criminal justice system is why when we have this kind of violent criminal -- career criminal does he keep getting out and wandering around and yet we expect him not to do something again. But he, you know, he very much may be arrogant, maybe not the brightest and therefore, he may commit crimes rather carelessly and get himself caught. And, but there's a lot of other possibilities here as to why he stayed in town with the children why he even took the children. Was he connected -- were there two people involved with the crime? Was he helping them out? Was he trying to hide the children for somebody or was it purely for sexual purposes. There's so many questions. It doesn't -- the climate is very unusual.

It's very unusual, of course, to find children alive after this point of time. They could have been taken as hostages and then time just went on or they could have been kept and hidden for some reason. So there's a lot of questions. I think they'll be looking to see whether he did this alone or whether he was connected to somebody connected with the family and what happened at the house that night.

WHITFIELD: All right, Pat Brown, thanks so much. I'm sure we'll be calling upon you again soon. Criminal profiler, thanks very much for helping us to understand what investigators are up against right now.

All right, Melissa Luck is with our affiliate KXLY and she is at the Denny's restaurant where apparently a waitress and a store manager actually first spotted Shasta Groene.

And Melissa, give us a sense as to what is happening there now.

MELISSA LUCK, KXLY REPORTER: Well, right now things are picking up, exactly, their breakfast rush, here this morning. But, the adrenaline is still going among the workers that were here this morning. A lot of people are showing up asking us what's going on, obviously seeing our television (UNINTELLIGIBLE) trucks outside. And when we get to tell them the good news that Shasta Groene is found, they are elated. There are a lot of people who have given up hope in this case over the last six weeks with no real leads coming up. But now people have a real sense of excitement and hope that Dylan Groene, in fact, will be found alive, as well.

WHITFIELD: Well, have you had a chance to talk with some of the workers there, at the Denny's? Particularly the waitress and maybe even the manager who were part of spotting Shasta?

LUCK: In fact, we did speak with them this morning. This all happened about 2:00 this morning. We were here by about 2:45, talking with them, so she had spotted this little girl when she came in because kids don't typically come into this restaurant at 2:00 in the morning, obviously, so she stood out to them, right away. They both kind of looked at her and they thought, you know, that girl looks familiar, but there have been so many false sightings. Is it her? Is it not her? So, they were looking for their flyers that had Shasta Groene's picture on it. These flyers have been up all over this are since this happened, and they couldn't find the flyer, but they still kept trying to engage this little girl, try to talk to her, tried to stay close to her, tried to get a sense of is this Shasta Groene.

WHITFIELD: So, was she alone at that moment that they got a chance to talk to her?

LUCK: She was not, she was with this man who she came in with, who is now under arrest.

WHITFIELD: But they were trying to just talk her about other things, you know, hey, do you want to color a picture? What do you want to eat? And they said that the whole time they said he was relaxed and calm and they really had no sense there was anything suspicious about him. Finally, they had...

WHITFIELD: And how did she appear to behave? What was their description of her behavior and her speaking to them?

LUCK: They said with the waitress, who's a little bit younger, she seemed very timid and whenever she would asked her, you know, do you want crayons, or what do you want to eat, she would be very timid and shy and not look at her and instead look at this man she was with and kind of wait for his approval or wait for him to speak, but the manager was able to have a better connection with her. She's a little bit older and Shasta was smiling at her one point, said, you know, "I like your hair."

But they said she seemed OK, you know, considering the circumstances. She looked exactly like she did in those pictures, which is a surprise to a lot of people, thinking maybe her appearance would have been altered. But the store manager finally said, you know what, we have can't take a chance on being a possibly being a false sighting so we're going to call the police. In that that time they had to make sure that this pair wouldn't leave, so they talked Shasta into ordering a milkshake and then the waitress kind of took her time making that milkshake, knowing they would stay there long enough to get the milkshake, by the time that happened the first police officers arrived and arrested him.

WHITFIELD: Wow, that's an incredible story, and so when police arrived, and did they, you know, talk to Shasta before -- as they were taking away this suspect, Joseph Duncan?

LUCK: That's right. Apparently they talked to both of them separately, very briefly, and then arrested Mr. Duncan. At the same time, one of the officers said to this waitress, stay with her, talking go Shasta.

So, she went over and said, honey, what's your name? And the little girl said, my name is Shasta Groene, and immediately she started crying. Now, this waitress is six months pregnant. Shasta Groene's 8 years old, but this waitress said she said she picked her up and held her arms, despite that it was a little bit tough for her, and comforted her. She said Shasta kept saying over and over, "I want my daddy, I want to go home I want my daddy." WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness.

LUCK: It's heartbreaking, but at the same time, this waitress came to us -- probably the best quote of the day -- she said "finally it feels like $3.35 an hour is worthwhile."

WHITFIELD: Oh my god, that's an incredible story. And so, this waitress, as she continued to engage and talk with Shasta, did the waitress describe as to whether Shasta was somewhat relieved that now police have arrived and you know taken Mr. Duncan away? I know you said she said she wanted to just see her dad, but what else happened?

LUCK: Well, they said she was very emotional and she hadn't been emotional, it wasn't like she was sitting at the table crying while they were eating that meal. So, I think the fact that as soon as she was separated from him, as soon as he was arrested, that she just broke down, I think that says a lot. And this waitress was sitting in the back of the squad car with her and said Shasta was just cuddling up to her and was crying and was upset. But, at the same time, you have to imagine that those tears were maybe six weeks of emotion finally coming out.

WHITFIELD: Wow. And so now what? You're there at the restaurant where people in the town are obviously elated that they have Shasta now, and she's getting medical attention and appears to be on the mends. Now, what about the little brother? Or, actually Shasta's big brother, but to most of us, the little brother, 9-year- old Dylan?

LUCK: Well, that's the main question everyone has. When we tell the customers here they found Shasta, everyone's like where's Dylan. And that's the question, right now, that investigators are pursuing. The sheriff's office had a press conference just a little bit and the sheriff's Captain Ben Wolfinger said, "we don't know where Dylan is right now. We're looking for him. We don't know where he is" But, because they're interviewing Shasta, you have to imagine that she is giving them whole 'nother set of leads to start looking into. So, that's the big question on everyone's mind is, is why was she here alone with him? Where's Dylan? Is he with someone else, is he somewhere else? And that's the question everybody's kind of waiting to hear. Now that we have this one bit of good news, there's a lot of hope that really hasn't here in the last few weeks.

WHITFIELD: Oh, no kidding. In fact, you mention or you alluded to earlier that people had almost given up hope on this entire search. Did folks just assume at this point that these two kids had been taken across state lines and they may never be found?

LUCK: I think people in general were fearing the worst and unfortunately, a lot of folks in the media, you kind of get that way, too. You see these stories that don't usually end up, you know, as this one has this morning. So, I think a lot of people had been so active in the first few days and really going up putting up fliers. People are still wearing buttons with these kids' pictures, but after a while you go back to your own life and it kind of goes into the background. And I think that's kind of what's happened here, as much as people were still thinking about these kids and still praying for these kids, you kind of forget and, as you mentioned, you kind of start expecting the worst because we don't often get a happy ending in cases like these, but I think this case and of course people in the Elizabeth Smart case, kind of gives hope to these cases and to other parents who maybe have missing kids.

WHITFIELD: So, give us a sense as to what the Denny's scene is right now, there. Do you have a lot of towns people who have waking up early and decided to come in there, congratulate the waitress or manager for being, you know, so attuned to this little girl?

LUCK: It's kind of a combination. We've had a lot of people coming in. We had one woman who came in whose husband has been working the case for the state police and she said they've been watching and her husband got the call this morning and they were watching all morning and decided, hey, let's go down there and eat. But a lot of people are coming -- maybe they just rolled out of bed, and came, and, you know, didn't turn on the TV before they came in.

So, it's a good combination. But, yeah, I had a couple from Las Vegas come out and say, you know, we've heard about this case in Las Vegas, it's the national news. And we just happened to be coming through town on this holiday weekend and decided to eat here and they said "we're so happy we decided to eat here." So, a lot of people are thinking maybe this place is a good luck today. There's just such a great vibe here, right now, that people want to be here. The folks who were working, the manager and waitress had been working since last night, and they've been working the overnight shift. So, I think they have now finally gone home to get some sleep, but they both said I don't think we'll be sleeping today, we're way too excited.

WHITFIELD: Wow, and we heard from Captain Wolfinger a moment ago where he said right now Joseph Duncan is charged with kidnapping, but as they continue for the search for Dylan, there are likely to be other charges that follow. What's your understanding as to where this criminal investigation might go next based on conversations you've had with your sources?

LUCK: You know, I don't know, unfortunately. We've been here at the Denny's since 2:30 this morning. So, we haven't had a real opportunity. The Coeur d'Alene police were here briefly in the last hour or so, just sort of went in and out, hustling together some more evidence. So, it's hard to say, but as Captain Wolfinger said, they have a witness now, they've got somebody who knows a lot more than they did before. So they said a lot more leads are opening up and they said all of the investigators have been called back to work the case. It's a holiday weekend, but I don't think anybody cares about that right now. They want to get in here and start looking for Dylan.

WHITFIELD: All right, Melissa Luck, thanks so much for doing such an incredible job describing what is a remarkable a, turn of events, there at a Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, from KXLY. Melissa Luck with KXLY, a reporter, our affiliate, there.

Remarkably then, Melissa describes, after talking with the waitress and manager there at the Denny's in Coeur d'Alene: It was about 2:00 a.m. when they saw this little girl walk in with a man. They thought it was rather unusual, they don't usually get little girls or kids coming in at 2:00 a.m., in the Denny's. And then, the waitress said to the manager: You know what, I think I recognize this little girl, she looks awfully familiar. The manager felt the same way.

This all based on the accounts that Melissa has been giving us, based on her conversation with the waitress and manager. They look around the store, the restaurant, looking for any kind of flier to remind them of what Shasta Groene looks like to compare the images. They couldn't find it.

But then, they did realize that after talking to little Shasta, engaging themselves in conversation with the little girl and the man, that she even seemed to appear to be rather timid, looking to this man that she was with for some sort of approval before she asked -- before she would answer them or reply to their questions.

Apparently, Shasta continued to talk to the manager and she identified herself, saying that she is Shasta Groene. And then, the manager then apparently called 911; police came in. Police asked this waitress, who come to find out was pregnant and she became very connected to this little girl, Shasta Groene, talking to her, offering her a milkshake and was able to comfort her until police, then, apprehended and now have, consequently, charged Joseph Duncan, a 42- year-old, who is a registered sexual offender, registered in the state of Minnesota as a sex offender and charged him with kidnapping and now the little girl, 8-year-old Shasta Groene, is getting some medical treatment at a nearby hospital.

However, her brother, 9-year-old Dylan, is still unaccounted for and police are still continuing to look for him. That's the latest on this investigation. This all spans a six-week investigation of a search for these two little kids after their nearly entire family was found dead in their home in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

And at that time, our Alina Cho was covering that part of the story -- six weeks ago. Right now, though, she's in Philadelphia covering Live 8. We'll get a chance to talk to you, Alina, about Live 8 at some other point throughout the day.

But right now, we want to kind of take you back to give us an understandings of the geography there in Coeur d'Alene when this little girl, Shasta Groene, was found just about two miles away from her home and with this man in a very familiar place. It really is a remarkable turn of events -- Alina?

ALINCA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It certainly is, Fredricka. I think that a couple of points need to be made. First of all: I think we need to give proper credit to this waitress, who had the presence of mind to basically stall this man, Mr. Duncan, and Shasta Groene, encouraging him to order a milkshake, taking her time making that milkshake, so that they could call authorities, and then waiting for the authorities to get there, to move forward with this investigation.

Of course, we now know that 42-year-old Joseph Duncan is a convicted sex offender. He's been charged with kidnaping. As we go forward in this investigation now, I think there are a couple of big questions. First of all, first and foremost: Where is Shasta's brother, 9-year-old Dylan, her older brother? And I know that we spoke to her great aunt, Sue Torres, not too long ago. I believe she said that Shasta's probably going to take us to him. Of course, that remains to be seen.

And the larger question: What does this man have to do, if anything, with, possibly, the murders of these three people who were found inside the home? Of course, that's what launched this investigation in the first place? Shasta and Dylan's mother, 13-year- old brother slayed and 37-year-old boyfriend, Mark McKenzie, were found on May 16th, I believe, six weeks ago.

At the time, it was thought by officials -- and, remember, these officials, including the Kootenai County Sheriffs Captain Ben Wolfinger consistently came out and said: We are confident that these children are alive, for this simple fact that it is nearly impossible to believe that someone would come in, kill three people and then, kill two other kids. I mean, they clearly took these two kids. So, certainly an extraordinary development in this case and it opens a lot of questions.

WHITFIELD: Yes. Alina, let me just interrupt you for a moment. We're going to come back to you, but let's go straight out to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, right now and meet up there with Toby Hatley, he's a reporter with KHQ. And Toby, you're there, you got a chance to hear firsthand Captain Wolfinger talk about where this investigation is going. However, while we celebrate this incredible development of the 8-year-old who is found, still the search goes on for the 9-year-old. Bring us up to date.

TOBY HATLEY, CNN AFFIALIATE WKHQ CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dylan Groene absolutely is the priority right now. As a matter of fact, Kootenai County Captain Ben Wolfinger, who's been on this investigation from the beginning, said the number one priority is absolutely to find Dylan Groene. They don't know where he is. There were reports that he had been found. Those turned out to be absolutely false.

So, right now, it's only Shasta Groene has been found. But because it's a holiday weekend -- and it's a huge holiday weekend, especially here, because of the Fourth of July parades and everything else, every vacation has been canceled, the FBI has also been called in. The Idaho State Police is here, as well as Coeur d'Alene City, as Kootenai County sheriff's officers. Anybody who had any plans has been canceled, those plans, to bring it in and continue the concentration to find Dylan Groene.

Now, what we do know about Joseph Duncan, obviously, that he had a --was a convicted sex offender out of 1980. He has one offense in Pierce County, Washington. That's in the Seattle area. That's just a couple --a half-hour south of Seattle in the Tacoma area. He also has several sex offenses around the other parts of the country. We do know that he had been in Fargo, North Dakota -- was his most recent address and we're also told that on July, 3rd of 2004, just a year ago tomorrow, he was charged with sexual assault at a middle school in Michigan and the sheriff's office here in Coeur d'Alene also tells us that Mr. Duncan runs a Web site that advocates the non-conviction of convicted sex offenders.

So, obviously, he will be charged with kidnapping. He's just about half-a-block from where I'm standing, at the Kootenai County sheriff's office. We don't know exactly when he will be in court. Because of the holiday weekend, probably sometime on Tuesday.

However, Idaho state law says he has to be charged formally within 48 hours. So, they'll probably have to cancel the judge's day off on Monday and get him in here on that.

Now, as far as the investigation as the homicides go, we asked specifically what that's going to do to three homicides that have been outstanding for the last couple of weeks and Ben Wolfinger said, "We don't know right now." However, they will continue that and they feel that these new leads will start coming.

As for Shasta Groene herself, she's in a local hospital. Kootenai Medical Center is just about a mile from where I'm standing. We've got reporters standing by there. We don't know exactly the condition. She's being examined.

Our county's sheriff spoke with her shortly, said she seemed to be in good shape, looked like the picture that we've been publishing here for the last six weeks or so; and broadcasting.

But what she's telling investigators right now, we don't know. And we also know that investigators have not spoken at length with Duncan. They've have just booked him, released his photo, given us his criminal background and say that he will be charged with kidnapping.

So, obviously, things are going to be unfolding here for the next several hours. And right now, it's almost 20 minutes to 10:00 Pacific time. We have another news conference scheduled 11:00 a.m. Pacific and we're hopeful to have more information by then.

WHITFIELD: Now, Toby, about the -- I know a lot is still being discovered about Joseph Duncan here, but he's a registered sex offender is what Captain Wolfinger mentioned. You mentioned the states as did he, Michigan, North Dakota, Minnesota, but does -- was he a registered sex offender in the state of Idaho? Is that, in part, why he may have been overlooked during this search?

HATLEY: As far as we know now, he has absolutely no criminal record, nor any connection with Idaho whatsoever. Now, where we are in relation to Tacoma, Tacoma is about 300 miles west of where we are right now in Coeur d'Alene. We're only 32 miles from Spokane, so Idaho -- Coeur d'Alene is actually a border town on the Idaho- Washington border. His only connection, that we know of, to Idaho would be that he actually lived in Washington 25 years ago. So, that's all we know. We also know that his mother apparently still lives in the Tacoma, Washington, area. So, as far as Idaho goes, they have absolutely no record of him here. Obviously, he was here. They arrested him this morning without incident, but nothing here as far as we know and as far as local law enforcement can tell us.

WHITFIELD: OK. Yes. I ask you that, because, you know, one of the former FBI special agents in charge that we talked to, was talking about, you know, the method that the law enforcement might use when, in a case, you have missing children. They almost first will go to the list of registered sex offenders to kind of scope them out. But since he was not registered in Idaho, if that did not take place, it's understandable as to why they may not have pinpointed their search or asked him, specifically, some questions.

Now, as they conduct this search for 9-year-old Dylan, is the investigative squad there giving you any idea as to whether, through their initial interviews with the little girl, whether she's able to give them -- provide them any kind of information or point them in the right direction as to where her brother may be?

HATLEY: They're not giving us any information on that right now.

Throughout this entire investigation, Kootenai County has been extremely closed-lipped which is very unusual for the folks here. Usually they're extremely helpful when it comes to all sorts of investigations, especially when it comes to giving information to us in the media. But that didn't happen this time, because they said they had to sort out all sorts of things. They've gotten so many tips and so many phone calls they wanted to make absolutely sure that they knew where they were going.

And so, they looked at everything they could. They've had hundreds of leads, but the sheriff said this morning he was absolutely dumbfounded when he got the call very early that Shasta Groene had be found, because he said he never expected her to show up at a restaurant, at Denny's, in Kootenai County.

So, right now, he doesn't really know exactly what's going on and they're not telling us what kind of -- any information that she may be giving them. And as soon as, obviously, they can, they will let us know.

But right now, we don't know, because the information is sort of being tight-lipped right now. We're hopeful to know, as the day goes on.

WHITFIELD: Yes. It is pretty mind-boggling how she could turn up just miles away from her home. In a community, as you described, where everyone is very helpful: Is this a community where everyone seems to know one another and has been very involved in the search for the little girl since the beginning?

HATLEY: Oh, absolutely. Just to give you an indication, Kootenai County is a county of about 105,000 people. The whole metro Spokane-Kootenai County area has just over half-a-million people. So, there's not a lot of people here in the greater scheme of things -- for example, Atlanta, or New York or even Seattle, but it's the largest population center. Coeur d'Alene itself is only 35,000, but the area here is, as I say, about 100,000 people.

So, a lot of people do know each other. It's like a -- it's a large community. It's a decent-size town for this part of the country. But everyone was extremely helpful in doing everything they possibly could. But, again, it was so surprising to law enforcement. The sheriff told me just about an hour ago, that he expected to get a phone call where there would be a crime scene, they would go in and investigate and then it would move from there. So, having somebody show up at a restaurant is an extraordinary story.

WHITFIELD: And this restaurant, this Denny's, is this like in the business district section of Coeur d'Alene, meaning: It really isn't an area where there are lots of other merchants or businesses or gas stations, et cetera?

HATLEY: Yes, it actually sits right on an intersection of Interstate 90, which is the main east/west thoroughfare through here and literally about two or three miles, four miles down the road is where the house was right on Interstate 90. So, where it's sitting -- it's a major crossroads, major intersection in Coeur d'Alene.

Across the street you've got another restaurant, a couple of gas stations as you've accurately described. You pull right off an exit, it's the Fourth Avenue exit and you turn right and the Denny's restaurant is right there.

So, who knows where Mr. Duncan was heading, which direction he might have might have been heading. As an aside, they have impounded his car and they are getting search warrants for that car, that car where Duncan had the little girl, we're assuming, before he took her into the restaurant, is now in impound and they're getting the proper search warrants to look though that. So, we don't know what's in there, but it was right off the interstate, just a couple miles from downtown Coeur d'Alene and a couple of miles from Shasta's Groene's home.

WHITFIELD: Wow. Incredible. A bold move, which turned out to be a great move for Shasta Groene; now the search goes on for her brother, 9-year-old Dylan.

Thanks so much, Toby Hatley of KHQ, for bringing us up to date from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

Now, back to Alina Cho who -- let me just explain, she's in Philadelphia covering the Live 8 concert. However, she was part of the coverage, when this investigation first broke six weeks ago. And so, she's back with us now.

Alina, give us a sense as to what you remember about the geography of that area. We talk about the proximity of where the little girl was found to her home and this being an area just kind of sandwiched by, you know, an area that is sandwiched by two states, Washington, you know and why people are often traversing this area. CHO: Well, I was struck -- I have to tell you -- Fredricka, having lived in New York for many, many years, just how beautiful this part of the country was. Lots of woods, of course, Lake Coeur d'Alene just absolutely stunning area of the country.


CHO: And you have to remember that this home was really sitting on a street with nothing else but woods surrounding it. And so for many, many weeks I know the family was confident that they would find the children alive because...

WHITFIELD: I'm sorry -- Alina?

CHO: Yes.

WHITFIELD: Sorry about that. I've got to interrupt you one more time and we'll get back to you.

Rick Clarke is a copy editor for the "Coeur d'Alene Press." He's on the telephone with us. You all have been working this story since it broke at 2:00 a.m. your time.

Rick, give us a sense as to how things unfolded. We heard about the reports of the waitress and the store manager -- the restaurant manager at Denny's, how they spotted the little girl, Shasta, recognized her and then things unfolded from there. How are you reporting the story?

RICK CLARKE, "COEUR D'ALENE PRESS": Correct. Apparently she was identified by employees of the restaurant and the police were immediately called. It was very early in the morning. Our lead reporter on the story happened to be involved in some activities early that morning and was near a scanner and was able to pick up on the conversation and follow the story. But really the only real development here so far was a press conference by the Kootenai County sheriff's office about a half-an-hour ago. And they relayed the information that I think you have now.

WHITFIELD: Yes. And you all must have been aghast, just like everyone else, to hear that in such a bold move, this alleged abductor would go to a Denny's in a relatively busy area, even though it was the middle of the night and be as bold enough to bring this little girl with him.

CLARKE: That really is the big mystery right now. We're just astonished, first of all, that Shasta was in his custody right here in Coeur d'Alene all this time. Apparently there was another -- someone else thought they -- had called the police indicating that they had identified Shasta, but yes, the fact that this guy would take her out into the public, it's just astonishing.

WHITFIELD: So in your reporting, have you located, you know, his home address and then talked to, perhaps, some people who live nearby to see whether they had ever seen anything before? CLARKE: Well, we're in the process of doing that right now. We're just scrambling right now on the story. We've called in our entire staff and we're pursuing all kinds of different avenues. But we don't -- it hasn't developed enough yet that I can report anything to you in that regard.

WHITFIELD: Well, describe the -- what a typical residential area would be like there. Is it the case, just like at the Groene home, where it's fairly remote and isolated and it could be quite a great distance before you have a neighbor, is that typically how most people in that area live?

CLARKE: No. Actually, the Groene home was fairly isolated. It was in very close proximity to Interstate 90. In fact, it's visible from Interstate 90, but it's in a fairly rural, isolated location. Whereas, the suspect's home is more centrally located in Coeur d'Alene, which is a very typical...

WHITFIELD: Well, that makes it even more confusing then, that the suspect's home would be more centrally located, which would mean people would have a better opportunity to see any kind of activity of him coming and going and perhaps even the children, or at least Shasta, coming and going in that home.

CLARKE: Correct. Yes, it's a real mystery.

WHITFIELD: And so, the neighbors in proximity to his home, are there a lot of other houses or businesses? Describe where his home is located.

CLARKE: You know, I really can't. I don't have that information yet. All I know is it's in more of a neighborhood-type situation than the Groene home was. But we haven't really had a chance to talk to anybody or really --

WHITFIELD: Yes, I know it's still early and things are still unfolding. Now, take me back, then, six weeks ago when this investigation first unfolded. Give us a sense as to what you remember seeing about the search.

CLARKE: About the search?

WHITFIELD: Yes, about the search for the two girls, the various means -- the two children -- the various means that were used.

We're looking at video now, where you've got folks who are, you know, hiking through the high grass area. Were there folks in helicopter as well, on horseback? Describe it for us.

CLARKE: Yes. It was a very, very thorough search involving probably four or five law enforcement agencies and dozens and dozens of personnel. Very intense and very well orchestrated.

Yes, the search was on foot. There were scuba divers brought in, because there's a stream there that -- searchers on horseback, helicopter. It's a heavily wooded area and so -- which made it more difficult. And the search lasted for -- it began immediately and lasted for about a week.

WHITFIELD: Do you think, after a certain amount of time elapsing, that people there had lost hope that these two children would ever be found?

CLARKE: You know, people here -- people here, of course, number one, were just in a state of shock and still are, but no. Nobody -- as far as collectively, this community never lost hope. In fact, there were all kinds of efforts locally to help the family, but also to bolster the hope that the kids would be found and found in good health.

WHITFIELD: And we heard it described as well, that you still had fliers that were up, people were still wearing buttons in various parts of Coeur d'Alene. Is that what you recall as well?

CLARKE: That's correct, yes. There's just fliers -- there are fliers everywhere. All kind of businesses were running photos of the children on their reader boards, taking down the usual messages that were promoting their businesses and just running nothing but reminders that the search is on for the children and their images.

Yes, this community really -- six weeks -- in six weeks' time was nowhere close to giving up.

WHITFIELD: Yes. Rick Clarke, copy editor of the "Coeur d'Alene Press," thank you so much for being with us. I know that you all are exhaustively working this story, as you all got the call, the notification at 2:00 a.m., just like everybody else in that area, to learn that Shasta Groene had been located at the nearby Denny's there.


WHITFIELD: So, once again, when Shasta was located at that nearby Denny's, she wasn't alone. She was with a 42-year-old man who is described as Joseph Duncan. He is a registered sex offender and has a fairly lengthy record involving a sexual and child offenses in Michigan, North Dakota, Minnesota and Washington.

However, he had no convictions or offenses reportedly in Idaho. So, he was not registered as a sex offender in Idaho. So, perhaps that is in part why investigators may not have even thought to pursue him among other registered sex offenders that they may have pursued when they were conducting this lengthy six-week search for two kids missing: 8-year-old Shasta Groene and her brother, 9-year-old Dylan Groene.

Shasta is receiving some medical attention in Coeur d'Alene there and likely after being -- receiving some kind of medical attention, she will be interviewed and perhaps she'll be able to reveal some information about her brother.

Alina Cho, once again, we're going to try this again, Alina, before I have to cut you off again. You're in Philadelphia covering Live 8 concert. However, you were part of this investigation covering -- this investigation, I should say, about six weeks ago when it began.

And Alina, why don't we pick it up from where you were describing kind of the geography of that area and how this is an area that is rather busy, in Coeur d'Alene, you know, Idaho terms.

CHO: Well, certainly. And I don't recall exactly where the Denny's was located, but there was sort of main street, a business district, as you describe it, where this Denny's, I believe, was located. But largely, this is a heavily wooded area, beautiful area of the country. And that is in part, why this search took so long, Fredricka. You're talking about several law enforcement agencies and hundreds upon hundreds of volunteers who were really standing, as one official said, shoulder to shoulder, searching the woods and the streams and the perimeter of Lake Coeur d'Alene. It took about a week.

They were doing it by air, by ground, in the water and they were really meticulous in going through places over and over even, because some family members had believed that these two children, perhaps, may have fled because they were scared; perhaps they thought they were in trouble. And these were two siblings, who relatives described as quite close.

And so, these family members said they never gave up hope that these two children would be found alive and I have to say, Fredricka, I'm a bit surprised that they weren't found together.

WHITFIELD: Yes. And I can certainly only imagine that law enforcement wishes that were the case, especially since right now it appears that Shasta Groene seems to be OK and was able to, you know, talk with the waitress and the restaurant manager at Denny's long enough for them to be able to identify her before they were able to call 911.

And perhaps, Alina, you heard this story a little earlier how it all unfolded: When she was talking to the waitress and the restaurant manager; they called 911; police said: OK, we're on the way, try to keep them there; and they apparently offered the little girl a milkshake, which she took; and they continued their conversations with them before investigators then arrived and were able to take Joseph Duncan away, who is the suspected abductor.

Now, apparently those conversations will be taking place between Duncan and law enforcement, to find out if he, at any time, had Dylan and where he might be at this point.

CHO: Oh, certainty. I think that this man, the 42-year-old Joseph Duncan, who is or is about to be charged with kidnapping, he really holds the key to this investigation. He is the only suspect, if you will, that has been named in the six-week investigation.

I mean, remember, too, Fredricka, that this is not only a missing children -- or now child investigation, this is also a triple-murder investigation. And the big question as we go forward is: What, if anything, does this man, Mr. Duncan, have to do with, perhaps, the kidnapping of Shasta's older brother, 9-year-old Dylan, or with the triple murder of Shasta's and Dylan's mother...

WHITFIELD: Yes. Because right now he's only being charged with kidnapping. The officials say he's not been charged with the murders of the others.

CHO: Exactly. But I think the question as we go forward now is: Does he have any connection to the separate investigation that is going on? That is a big question as we go forward. Also, what does this little girl Shasta, who is clearly traumatized by what has happened over the course of the past six weeks, what does she have to say about what has happened to her over the past six weeks?

Certainly, this man being a convicted sex offender, we hope for the best for this little girl and certainly we are all glad that she is alive. And I know that everyone is hoping now that 9-year-old Dylan will be found alive.

One note, too -- and Captain Wolfinger of the Kootenai County sheriff's department did mention this, but local officials and certainly the local community, I know this has been echoed before, they really never gave up hope. They were always confident that these two children would be found alive and certainly now the search continues for the brother, Dylan -- Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: All right, Alina Cho, thanks so much for your input on this, coming from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

All right. Well, in part, good news: 8-year-old Shasta Groene found alive and well in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, just a couple miles away from her home where the search began after nearly her entire family was found murdered six weeks ago. And now, the search continues for her 9-year-old brother, Dylan Groene.

We'll be right back, right after this.



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