MINNEAPOLIS – The convicted sex offender accused of kidnapping two children in Idaho wrote about a missing Minnesota girl on his Weblog, and investigators are now looking into whether he might have had anything to do with her disappearance.
On his Internet diary, Joseph Edward Duncan III (search) wrote in early 2004 that he was afraid he'd be blamed for the disappearance of 5-year-old Leanna "Beaner" Warner (search).
The little girl was last seen June 14, 2003, after leaving her home in Chisholm, some 190 miles east of Fargo, N.D., where Duncan lived.
Chisholm Police Chief Scott Erickson said Friday that investigators are trying to determine if there's any more of a connection between Duncan and Leanna's disappearance. But he acknowledged it's a long shot in a frustrating case.
"In reality, every community that has a missing child is going to try to connect this guy to it," Erickson said.
Duncan is charged with abducting 9-year-old Dylan Groene and 8-year-old Shasta Groene from their home, where their 13-year-old brother, their mother and her boyfriend were bludgeoned to death. The bodies were found May 16. Police say Duncan also is a suspect in the killings.
Authorities had been looking for Duncan since he jumped bail in Minnesota on charges of molesting a 6-year-old boy on a Detroit Lakes playground in July 2004.
In a posting dated Jan. 4, 2004 — more than six months after Leanna's disappearance — Duncan wrote that he just found out about the case.
"I tried to figure out what I was doing that day, since I'm always afraid of getting accused when something like this happens," he wrote.
Leanna's father, Chris Warner, told the Duluth News Tribune for a story published Friday he found it unsettling that Duncan would mention his daughter's disappearance.
"I'm worried sick," Warner said. "It's kind of a double-edged sword. You hope it's not the case, but you also come away relieved knowing that there's something."
Erickson said FBI and state investigators were trying to determine if Duncan was in the Chisholm area around the time Leanna disappeared. He said he hadn't heard of any such evidence as of Friday.
Duncan wrote that according to his entries in Quicken, a personal finance computer program, he had gone to watch two co-workers parachute out of an airplane on that day. He also went shopping, but couldn't find the receipts.
Duncan called his journal "Blogging the Fifth Nail" — an allegorical reference to Christ's suffering on the cross. He used it as a soapbox to vent over the stigma of being a convicted sex offender, and wrote that finding out about Leanna was "the proverbial last straw" that led him to start the blog.