After Interviewing "Person Of Interest," Police No Closer To Finding Missing Children - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/19/05

After Interviewing "Person Of Interest," Police No Closer To Finding Missing Children

Authorities are searching for 9-year-old Dylan Groene and his 8-year-old sister, Shasta. The bodies of their mother, Brenda Groene, and their 13-year-old brother, Slade, were discovered in their home. Also found dead at the scene was Mark McKenzie, 37.

Robert Roy Lutner, 33, allegedly was at the home on Sunday night, the night before the bodies were found.

Investigators from the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department and the FBI questioned Lutner for several hours late Wednesday after he contacted them.

"Unfortunately ... Mr. Lutner wasn't able to provide us with any information on the whereabouts of the children or what may have happened to them," Sheriff's Capt. Ben Wolfinger said Thursday morning.

The sheriff's department said Lutner was named a "person of interest," but not a suspect, in the case.

"He doesn't claim to have any personal knowledge of what happened, other than what he's seen in the public media," Wolfinger said.

In an Amber Alert police issued Tuesday for the children, authorities described Dylan as 4 feet tall, 60 pounds, with short blonde, crew-cut hair and blue eyes, and Shasta as 3-foot-10, 40 pounds, with long auburn-brown hair and hazel-green eyes.

"Every minute that goes by we do fear even more and more," Wolfinger said. "Our hope is, this is one of those miraculous cases where those kids are still being well taken care of and someone, somewhere is going to see them at a restaurant, at a gas station -- somewhere -- and they'll call either the sheriff's office here or their local law enforcement agency and we'll be able to recover those children and get them back to what family they have left here."

Divers will search ponds and creeks near the family home on Thursday, Wolfinger said. A septic pond in the area was drained Wednesday, but nothing was found, he said.

Search teams using sniffer dogs and cadaver dogs were looking for signs of the children, and a helicopter searched by air. Wolfinger said the teams expanded their search areas Wednesday.

The FBI was assisting in the search, while Idaho detectives and others from Spokane, Washington, were helping to investigate the crime scene.

Sheriff Rocky Watson called the slayings "a very brutal triple homicide." He said the murders were not a random act, but that "someone was on a mission."

The victims had been bound, deputies said.

Watson said the woman's ex-husband has been ruled out as a suspect, although he would not elaborate.

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