A GIRL and her brother have been kidnapped and abused for weeks after a serial killer with ‘night vision goggles’ broke into the home and murdered her family.
The Iowa woman opened up about her guilt after promising her brother they would get out alive — she was the sole survivor.
Shasta Groene was eight years old when she thought she saw someone hiding in her bedroom closet.
She was comforted by her brother and fell asleep again.
Hours later, however, she was woken up by her mother, who tearfully said that someone was in the house.
Shasta walked into the living room, where she remembered seeing her father and older brother face down and their mouths taped.
Above them stood a man with night vision goggles and a shotgun.
The perpetrator was a 42-year-old named Joseph Edward Duncan.
Duncan was a registered sex offender who was later linked to the murder of a 10-year-old boy.
Duncan tied up Shasta and her other brother and took them outside to his car.
The stranger returned to the living room where he beat her mother, father and older brother to death with a hammer.
That was May 15, 2005.
Shasta and her brother were taken to a campsite where they were held hostage for weeks.
The two children were physically and sexually abused until Duncan decided to kill her brother by shooting him with a shotgun in front of her.
“I honestly have no idea what gave me strength or hope,” Groene told Fox News Digital.
“But there was something in me that pushed me to say or do certain things to be on Joseph Duncan’s good side and gain his trust.”
Before killing her brother, Groene had told him that she would get them both out of there.
After Groene managed to survive, she began talking to Duncan about herself, giving him details of how much she loved and missed school.
“That made him feel good because he felt like I trusted him,” she told Fox News Digital.
“He felt like he was learning about my life and a vulnerable part of me. I was just trying to manipulate him.”
Duncan eventually decided to take the two to Denny’s so they could “get a milkshake or something”.
“The day before he told me he wanted to take me to North Dakota to meet his mother and family,” Groene said.
When she got to the restaurant, she said she made eye contact with a man there.
“He looked at me and I nodded my head. He nodded back. And I can tell from his eyes that he knew who I was.”
By that time, Groene had been missing for seven weeks.
The man went to the waitress at the time, who called the police.
After a police officer arrived, he questioned Groene, who first lied and told the officer her name was Katie.
“Joseph Duncan said to me, ‘It’s okay, you can tell him.’ So I said, ‘My name is Shasta.’ The police officer then grabbed Joseph Duncan and immediately handcuffed him,” Groene said.
LIFE AFTER DUNCAN
The traumatized girl struggled to return to a safe environment — including intense survivor guilt.
“I promised my brother I would make sure we got out alive,” Groene said.
“I bore so much guilt that he wasn’t alive, and I did. I felt like it should have been the other way around.”
After years of struggling with substance abuse and eating disorders, Groene is still recovering from her trauma but finally felt strong enough to tell her story.
Today she is married with four children and works as a caretaker in a hotel.
After Joseph Edward Duncan was convicted, he was linked to another crime, the murder of a 10-year-old boy named Anthony Martinez.
He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Duncan died of brain cancer in 2021 while serving multiple life sentences on federal death row.
Shasta Groene shared her story with the People Magazine Investigates television show, which airs on Investigation Discovery.
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for The US Sun team?
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5513642/girl-kidnapped-serial-killer-shasta-groene-iowa/ I was kidnapped at the age of 8 by a “night vision” serial killer and abused for 7 weeks – my fault after he murdered my family