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Sunday, September 13, 2020

Explosive Audio Reveals Details Behind Remarkable Interview in the Rucki case


A recently unearthed audio recording provides details for how a local Fox reporter scored an interview with the two missing Rucki girls, shortly after they ran on April 19, 2013.

Lori Musolf is a self described advocate for women abused by their ex-husbands and then by courts in Minnesota; she said she has been in that role since 1998, according to these audio recordings. 

Yet, she worked with the police to provide information against Sandra Grazzini-Rucki (SGR) and others who she thought were involved in hiding SGR's daughters, Samantha and Gianna, who ran on April 19, 2013 and were hidden until October 2015.

Musolf said in the recordings she had met SGR in late 2012, but did not appear to cooperate with police, speaking with Lakeville Police Detective Jim Dronen in 2015. 

Lakeville is where the Rucki's lived. 

The Fox Story

Shortly after the girls ran, they participated in an interview with Trish Van Pilsum of FOX 9 in Minneapolis. That interview eventually produced this news story. 


As Van Pilsum states, the girls were missing at the time of the interview. So, how did this interview get arranged?

According to Musolf, she was intimately involved in arranging the interview. Musolf begins explaining at about 11:20 and goes for more than three minutes of the video below. 
 As Musolf explains, she was friends with Van Pilsum, having provided her with other story ideas. 

The Rucki girls ran on Friday April 19, 2013; the next day she received a call from the girls from a blocked number. The girls seemed to know to call Musolf, as she had the connection to Van Pilsum, but it's not clear how. Musolf explained what happened next.

"They called me on Saturday because we tried to do the interview for the weekend but we could not get a photographer who would work the weekend," Musolf said. "We did not interview them till Monday morning."

In another recording, Musolf said she communicated regularly with the girls on Sunday April 21, 2013, as they would called her from a blocked number every thirty minutes. The explanation starts at about 12:45 of the video below. 

The girls, as we now know, were staying with Doug and Gina Dahlen at the White Horse Ranch, in Herman, Minnesota, which is about one hundred-seventy miles northwest of Minneapolis.

Dronen picks up the story from there, "Monday morning the Dahlen's drive the girls to Sauk Center and you do the interview."

Sauk Center refers to an unnamed hotel in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, which is over a hundred miles from Minneapolis. 

"You guys do the interview and leave; the Dahlen's pick them back up and take them home." Dronen added. 

From that interview, Musolf along with Van Pilsum and her cameraman head to St. Cloud, where Dede Evavold lives, and do an interview with Sandra Grazzini-Rucki; parts of her interview were included in the same story. 

Musolf met the girls outside the hotel and then escorted them into the hotel and escorted them out where they were picked up by the Dahlen's and taken home. 

Musolf Dishes on Everyone

According to Musolf, some time between arranging the interview in 2013 and when she spoke with Detective Dronen, she had a change of heart. 

Initially after the girls ran, she viewed SGR as a victim, but by the time she talked with Detective Dronen, she referred to her as "conniving" and "manipulative."

It's noteworthy and ironic that she said this while acting as a secret informant and betraying people who put their trust in her. 

Musolf also had nothing nice to say about the judge who primarily handled the Rucki case divorce, Judge David Knutson. 

"Everything went haywire when that psycho judge, started pulling the shit he pulled. That guy is corrupt as hell, that I can tell you." Musolf said. "I was in that courtroom. I've heard that man and I've never in my life- in all the years I've been an advocate-I've never seen judges do the things that man did."

Musolf was not only describing Knutson's general behavior in this case, but in particular, she described his behavior during the custody trial. During the trial, he forced SGR's attorney, Michelle MacDonald, to conduct part of that trial while handcuffed to a wheelchair. At 1:10:00 of the video below, MacDonald is wheeled in. 

Though Musolf appeared to admit to a crime by admitting to her involvement in setting up the interview, she was neither charged nor did she testify at any of the criminal trials associated with this case. 

Grazzini-Rucki told me Musolf was originally on the witness list at her trial but removed for unknown reasons. 

Who is Lori Musolf?

Musolf, in her conversations with Dronen, said she was an activist since 1998, advocating on behalf of women like SGR, particularly in Carver County, Minnesota. 

In 2012, she wrote this email below to Carver County Commissioners.

Letter From Child Advocate ... by mikekvolpe

The Carver County Corruption blog to which she refers was run by Leah Dannewitz. 

There is little left which is still on-line about her story, though I found this from and here is another site with some information. 

One reason why there is little left is because Dannewitz was sued by David Rucki and forced to remove her blog. More on the story here

However, the elements of Dannewitz' story mirror the elements of Rucki's story. In both cases, they and their children made allegations of abuse, physical and/or sexual, and in both cases, they were accused of parental alienation, their ex-husband's would get sole custody, while the divorce left them destitute. 

As Musolf's letter to the commissioners notes, this was a pervasive problem in Carver County in particular; I also covered the case of Caroline Rice, and her daughter Annelise, which had the same pattern also from Carver County. That also had the same pattern: mother and child allege abuse, father alleges parental alienation, father gets sole custody and mother is left destitute. 

Indeed, Musolf said that she began helping SGR because she believed her case was similar, though it is in Dakota County.

I covered Kim Sperling's story, which is also from Dakota County and has many of the same elements.

Dronen seems to acknowledge systemic issues in Carver County, when he said, "Dale seemed to be involved with a lot of the Carver County cases, or at least was aware of them."

Dale Nathan

Dale is Dale Nathan, a disbarred Minnesota lawyer who became a hero to some because he was disbarred for refusing to release the whereabouts of a client in hiding from her abusive ex. 

Nathan only helped Sam marginally. She first started speaking with him in late 2012 and by January 2013, she had a new attorney, Michelle MacDonald. 

But Nathan was with SGR on April 19, 2013, when her two daughters- Samantha and Gianna- called her shortly after they ran. 

So when SGR picked them up, he was with her, a secret he kept until 2015, when he spoke first to Brandon Stahl of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and even Detective Dronen. 

Below is part of his conversation with Dronen; it's unclear if he spoke with him on other occasions. 

Dronen, in his conversations, appears sympathetic to what Nathan was trying to do when he told Musolf, "I can understand Dale Nathan's perspective a little bit. I understand, he's on a mission with what he's trying to do with reform. He's trying to get the story out because there needs to be reform."

It's a remarkable thing to say, since, as the chief investigator, it's Dronen's job to "get the story out," by solving why the girls ran and who helped them run. 

The story, he, the prosecutors, and the media told, was one of a vindictive mother who tried to manipulate her daughters and keep them away from an innocent father; there is nothing in Dronen's investigation which pointed to any needed reform. 

The story Nathan wanted told is not the one Dronen told; Nathan's story was of an abusive man- physically, sexually, and otherwise- who gets the court, the police, and the media to do his bidding.  

Nathan also spoke with 20/20 for their hatchet job on this case, "Footprints in the Snow", and repeated that he was with SGR the night the girls ran. I suppose he thought 20/20 would get the truth out. He died the day after it aired. 

The Rucki Girls Speak

In his conversation with Dronen, Nathan talks about receiving a CD with audio recordings made by Samantha and Gianna shortly after they ran. 

Nathan thought that if the girls described what was going on and submitted their thoughts while on the run, this combined with the media attention from the Fox story, would force the judge's hand, Judge David Knutson, and he would change his custody order and grant SGR physical custody. 

Dronen doesn't care about the contents of the audio recordings, only how Nathan got it. Nathan did not know, only that he told SGR that if the girls made such recordings that would help. He received the recordings anonymously. 

In the recordings, each girl- Samantha and Gianna- describe horrible abuse not only by their father but by the courts as well. They are below. 


Dronen, as was his pattern throughout, would not probe when the topic came to abuse by David Rucki, the courts, or anyone but SGR. 

When Musolf said of Judge Knutson, "he's as corrupt as the day is long," he does not ask for any examples or for her to expand on that. 

Nor does he ever speak about things that Samantha and Gianna said in their recordings, which include their father's alcoholism, him choking their mother, their sister, and running his hands up Samantha's legs and holding it near her private area, along with making comments about her breasts.

Furthermore, in another recording, Dronen and Musolf speculate that six gunshots left on Samantha's phone were left not by their father but by a friend of SGRs.

 In fact, it was eventually proven in court that David Rucki left the gunshots on his daughter's phone, and as Musolf correctly states, the gunshots were left on her phone months before Samantha ran.

When the audio was played in the criminal trial, the judge would only allow it to be referred to as an "inaudible sound." 

Neither Musolf nor Dronen ever pointed out the obvious which is that maybe the girls ran because they were being forced to live with a father who leaves gunshots on their phones. 

The gunshots are not only mentioned in the Fox story, as Dronen notes, but both Samantha and Gianna mention the incident in the audio recordings they made. 


On September 7, 2012, without a formal hearing, Judge David Knutson switched custody in the Rucki divorce. He ordered SGR out of her house by noon that day. The order is below. 

G168-1201-0006 by mikekvolpe

SGR, who had physical custody of all five of her children until that point and was their primary caretaker their entire lives, was not even allowed to tell them she would be leaving. 

But Knutson did not even grant her ex-husband custody on this day, but rather his sister, Tami Love. 

When the kids came home, four of them ran to the police station and were allowed to stay temporarily with SGR's sister, Nancy. 

This continued until April 19, 2013, when the two oldest girls, Samantha and Gianna, were ordered to live with their aunt Tami and were told this was a temporary transition to living with their father. 

They were escorted by police to their home and ran shortly after police left. 

They called their mother saying, "we're running with or without you."

They were taken in by the Dahlen's who had a horse farm for abused children. 

Finally, if Dronen had been investigating things like David Rucki's abuse and Judge Knutson's illegal and potentially criminal acts, he may have come to the conclusion that the court engineered a set of events which they should have known would result in this outcome. 

The evidence of this comes from therapists' notes from a therapist involved in the case. They are below. 

Jim Gilbertson notes Rucki ... by mikekvolpe

The notes come from Jim Gilbertson who was assigned to the case in the same September 7, 2012, order I listed above. 

On April 9, 2013, he states, "Successive telephone calls betweent attempting to contact Ms. Frederick (sic), conference calls with Ms. Olson, the maternal aunt, and Tami Love, the paternal aunt."

He later claims that an order to place the girls with Tami had already been written though this doesn't seem to be accurate as the order was supposed to have been signed on April 19, 2013.

He then continues, "I immediately received a call from Ms. Olson stating that she wanted the transfer to occur as soon as possible because of the fear the children would learn of this through some unknown means and will run."

This means everyone knew just how dangerous this April 19, 2013, order was; they knew there was a chance the girls would run and yet everyone schemed and only SGR was not told about it until it happened; the police, courts, and media then all blamed SGR for it. 


Finally, I left emails for everyone involved. No one responded but the email is below. 

I'm attaching an audio. This is of Lori Musolf and Detective Jim Dronen. That's correct, right.

At about 11 minutes in, Ms. Musolf admits to taking Samantha and Gianna to the interview they did with Fox, this interview, Now, it sounds to me like Ms. Musolf admits to a crime as she knew where the girls were days after they went missing and said nothing. 

If Dede Evavold got charged, why didn't Musolf, unless she got a deal. Why would she get a deal? She was just as involved as Dede, no. I'm confused. 

Also, at about 14 minutes, Detective Dronen and Musolf talk about the Carver County cases particularly from the Carver County Corruption blog. What is it you mean Carver County cases unless it is corrupt Carter County cases. So, Dronen, it appears, knows exactly what is happening in this case, or am I wrong Detective Dronen? After all, at about 15:30, you talk about Leah Dannewitz' court case. We all know that one? Father abuses, mother accused of parental alienation, father gets custody, mother left with nothing. 

Then, you talk about Stacy Pinskie, another corrupt custody case. It sounds like Lori is laying out why the girls ran, no. Isn't Ms. Musolf proving to you all in this recording that Ms. Grazzini-Rucki was innocent? 

So, why didn't she testify? Judge Asphaug. You are retired now. What was the legal reasoning for Lori Musolf not to testify? 

Detective Dronen what did you mean about 23;30 about Dale wanting reform and "he's trying to get the story out," what story are you referring to?

Right at 27 minutes, Ms. Musolf states, "everything went haywire when that psycho judge, started pulling the shit he pulled. That guy is corrupt as hell, that I can tell you."..."I was in that courtroom. I've heard that man and I've never in my life- in all the years I've been an advocate-I've never seen judges do the things that man did."

She's referring to you Judge Knutson, am I right? That's referring to the time when Michelle MacDonald was forced to conduct part of a custody trial handcuffed to a wheelchair. You know the incident 20/20 failed to include in their hatchet job. What do you all say about that? Is he, "corrupt as hell,"?

 Detective Dronen, you said you stepped in the case late. You not only didn't care that there's a corrupt judge causing this, but why didn't you at the Lakeville Police Department investigate right away and why aren't you worried there may be a corrupt judge involved?   I guess that's how you train Long, right? 

"The guy should have been thrown in prison for some of the stuff he did," Musolf said. It is interesting that you only care about certain information your informant told you. 

"I've been an advocate since '98 and I've never seen anything so horrific as what happened in this case," that's what Musolf said, but you investigated and charged Sandra Grazzini-Rucki. 

Then, the media painted it like she was the villain and now you all have evidence which proves all of it a lie and you'll ignore because you're all as corrupt as Knutson and as cowardly, which is why none of you will respond. 

My last question is how any of sleep at night knowing what you have contributed to. I think you're too cowardly to answer me but one of you may surprise me. 

I am also doing this article differently; please check out the crowdfunding page associated with this story. 

Finally, in case someone still claims there is still no evidence of abuse by David Rucki below are 99 pages of abuse allegations and 25 pages of Child Protective Services reports, including page 15 where Nico claims his father stuck a gun to his head. Nico now says his father his ever been violent.

Druck i Police Reports by mikekvolpe


SamiRucki by mikekvolpe

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Re: "Musolf met the girls outside the hotel and then escorted them into the hotel and escorted them out where they were picked up by the Dahlen's and taken home..."

WHY has Lori Musolf not faced any criminal charges? WHY is Lori Musolf not being sued for damages by David Rucki?