Cops Question Idaho 'Person of Interest'

A man sought for questioning in the bloody slayings of three people contacted authorities Wednesday as the search continued for two children missing from the home where the killings took place.

Detectives were interviewing Robert Roy Lutner (search) Wednesday evening, Kootenai County Sheriff's Capt. Ben Wolfinger said. Wolfinger did not say where Lutner was found, but news reports said the interview was in Coeur d'Alene (search), in northern Idaho.

Wolfinger also would not discuss whether the missing children, Shasta and Dylan Groene (search), were with Lutner, but an Amber Alert remained in effect hours after the man was located.

Authorities have said Lutner was known to have been at the children's home on Sunday night, the night before the bodies of their brother, mother and a man were found.

Police in several states had been attempting to locate Lutner, and Wolfinger said Lutner had known he was being sought.

Police had sought Lutner, 33, of Hayden, to determine whether he may have seen something, or met someone at the home east of Coeur d'Alene where the bodies were found.

Shasta Groene, 8, is 3-feet-10 and 40 pounds with long auburn hair and hazel eyes, and her 9-year-old brother, Dylan, is 4 feet and 60 pounds with a blond crewcut and blue eyes.

The bodies of their mother, Brenda Kay Groene, 40, and brother, Slade Vincent Groene, 13, and Mark E. McKenzie, 37, of Coeur d'Alene, were found in the house.

Police released few details about the evidence found inside the house, but Wolfinger said there was "lots of blood."

"We know this was a triple homicide because all three victims were bound," Wolfinger said, declining to elaborate.

Autopsies were being conducted Wednesday to determine how and when the three victims were killed. Neither Wolfinger nor Sheriff Rocky Watson would characterize the relationship between McKenzie and the others.

Authorities prepared to drain small ponds near the home Wednesday to search "for evidence of any sort, or, God forbid, the children, but maybe a tool or weapon, anything," Wolfinger said.

The search also expanded from the siblings' home to nearby fields and woods where they are known to play. Wolfinger said police and civilian volunteers on horses and all-terrain vehicles were looking for "little forts" and "favorite places out in the woods" where the children might be hiding.

"The children are our number one priority," Wolfinger said. "We keep processing the scene with the idea that maybe we'll get that one clue at the scene that will lead us to where the children are, and who they may be with."

Jesse Groene, 18, an older brother of the missing children, said his mother had been acquainted with Lutner for about two years. Jesse Groene is currently jailed for investigation of assault, battery, burglary and possession of stolen property.

Lutner was on probation for an unemployment fraud conviction and had left information Tuesday with a probation officer that he intended to visit his father and stepmother in the Boise area, Wolfinger said.

A woman who answered the phone at an Emmett-area home believed to belong to Lutner's parents said she could not comment.

"The FBI has advised us not to talk about this. We don't know anything more than you do," she said before hanging up.

Police had no apparent motive, Wolfinger said. The sheriff's department received more than 150 tips in the first 12 hours after it set up a tip line, but not all the information was useful.

"Some were from some real weird people," Wolfinger said. "We're keeping some of that information close to the vest so we can sort out what is legitimate and what is not."