Skip to main content

Lakeville mom found guilty of hiding 2 teen daughters from their dad

  • Author:
  • Updated:

A Lakeville mother has been found guilty of hiding her two daughters from their father for more than two years.

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, 50, was accused of taking her daughters – Samantha and Gianna Rucki, then ages 13 and 14 – to a horse ranch in western Minnesota, where they stayed from April 2013 to November 2015.

Hiding the children was in violation of a child custody order a judge had issued as part of Grazzini-Rucki's contentious divorce from her husband, a news release from the Dakota County Attorney's Office says. He was awarded custody, and prosecutors argued Grazzini-Rucki hid the girls out of spite, KARE 11 says.

“It is simply inappropriate and unacceptable for any parent to hide their children and keep them from the custodial parent in violation of a court order for any amount of time," Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said in a statement.

After deliberating for five hours, a jury found Grazzini-Rucki guilty Thursday of six counts of deprivation of parental rights, the release says. She was acquitted of two other charges related to causing minors to be runaways.

Backstrom says they are "pleased" with the jury's decision, noting "the almost two and a half years that these children were hidden led to significant trauma to her daughters and caused significant adverse impacts to the rest of her family."

Grazzini-Rucki was taken into custody following the jury's verdict Thursday morning, and is being held on $100,000 bail without conditions. She will be sentenced on Sept. 21 at 9 a.m.

Three others have also been charged with deprivation of custodial/parental rights involving the concealment of a minor in connection to this case.

The case against the ranch owners – Gina Schmit Dahlen and Douglas Craig Dahlen – is still pending. A jury trial for Deirdre Elise Evavold is set to being Sept. 26 – she's accused of driving with Grazzini-Rucki to drop the girls off at the ranch.

Next Up

Marcus Foligno

Foligno's OT winner gives Wild fans a happy Hockey Day

A slow start gave way to the Wild's fifth win in the past six games.


Winter weather advisory issued as Saturday snow arrives

Not huge totals expected, but any snow will likely impact travel.


Report: Ryan Poles is Vikings' 'top choice' for general manager

Poles was one of two finalists revealed on Friday.

Payton Willis

Willis carries shorthanded Gophers to beat Rutgers

The senior scored a career-high 32 points to end a four-game losing streak.


Charges: St. Paul man had sexual contact 'multiple times' with 12-year-old girl

Marcus Steichen, 21, is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 6.45.53 PM

Charges: Mom killed infant son just weeks after getting him back from foster care

The 10-month-old died in her care in Brooklyn Park last April.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Arrests made following fentanyl bust in St. Cloud

Authorities searched two St. Cloud apartments Friday morning.

potatoes 2

Minnesota's 'frozen potato freeway' closure attracts plenty of comment

It was, let's face it, a very Minnesotan reason for a freeway closure.

Screen Shot 2022-01-21 at 9.07.54 AM

U of M fraternity raises money for chef's knee surgery

The GoFundMe has raised around $1,700 of its $5,000 goal.

unsplash restaurant cashier register COVID face mask - crop

7 restaurant, bar groups sue Minneapolis over dining vaccine mandate

"Minneapolis bars and restaurants are being used as pawns..." the lawsuit said.

Screen Shot 2022-01-22 at 7.47.53 AM

Woman fatally shot in St. Paul's North End neighborhood

It's the fourth homicide so far this year in St. Paul.


Wild flip the script, dominate Blackhawks

Ryan Hartman scored twice to earn the first game of a back-to-back.


Lakeville dad who abandoned son found guilty of child neglect

The Star Tribune reports a jury has found Steven Alexander Cross guilty of a gross misdemeanor. The paper says he'll most likely see two years of probation. Cross, an architect who said he couldn't find work and was about to lose his home, apparently left his 11-year-old son behind and fled to California.

Fridley mom pleads guilty to punishing daughter with 'diaper duty'

A Fridley mother of four entered a guilty plea in Anoka County District Court Monday after forcing her 12-year-old daughter to run outside in a diaper as punishment for bad grades. Stephanie Ann Broten will learn her sentence in three weeks and could face up to year in jail.