July 5, 2005

Remains found in search for missing Idaho boy

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (Reuters) - Searchers found humanremains in a Montana campground while hunting for a missing9-year-old boy whose sister was found alive on Saturday with aregistered sex offender, police said on Monday.

But authorities would not say whether the remains were ofDylan Groene, who disappeared six weeks ago with his sister,Shasta, from their home Idaho home where their mother, olderbrother and a family friend were discovered beaten to death.

The remains were taken to an FBI lab for DNA analysisexpected to take several days, Sheriff Rocky Watson said. Thehuman remains were found at a Montana campground just acrossthe border from Idaho, he told reporters.

After a widespread hunt, Shasta, 8, was found on Saturdayeating breakfast in a Denny's restaurant with Joseph DuncanIII, 42, who has a history of molesting children.

Duncan was arrested, charged with kidnapping and otheroffenses. He is due to make a court appearance on Tuesday toenter a plea and be assigned an attorney.

Duncan has refused to cooperate with authorities.

Police said that information they obtained from Shasta hadled them to believe her brother was already dead.

"We certainly have a strong case in the kidnapping ofShasta, and certainly we believe he (Duncan) may have beeninvolved with Dylan," said Capt. Ben Wolfinger of the sheriff'sdepartment.

Local police have said that they are investigating whetherDuncan had any part in the May 16 triple murders near CoeurD'Alene, a Northern Idaho town near the Washington border.

The children were declared missing when authorities foundthe bodies of their mother, Brenda Groene, 40, brother SladeGroene, 13, and a family friend, Mark McKenzie, 37.

Duncan was released on $15,000 bail earlier this year afterbeing charged with molesting a 6-year-old boy at a Minnesotaschool playground. Police had been looking for him since hefailed to check in with a probation agent in May.

Duncan, whose last known address was in North Dakota, ran aWeb site urging that child molesters not be prosecuted. He wasconvicted of raping a 14-year-old boy in Washington state in1980.