Lakeville, Minnesota: Lion News released an emotional video excerpt of the June 30, 2016 interview between Samantha Rucki and Detective Kelli Coughlin. LION NEWS: EXCLUSIVE VIDEO OF SAMANTHA RUCKI CALLING DAKOTA CO. JUDGE KNUTSON A “DICK”
The shocking video begins with Samantha tearfully crying, “It never should of happened, I just want to be with my Mom.” At another point in the interview, Samantha says, “I just wanted to be with her (Sandra) and no one would let us…”
Samantha was questioned about her two-year long disappearance following a family court order that temporarily granted custody to paternal aunt, Tammy Jo Love, and placed the Rucki children within the control of abusive father, David Rucki. The Rucki children raised numerous allegations of abuse against their father and also stated that they did not feel safe in the care of Tammy Jo Love.
Samantha admits she was “guilted” by her father, David Rucki, to do an interview with police and told to “recant”.
Earlier this week, journalist Michael Volpe reported on the same interview: Explosive Rucki police interview adds new wrinkle to story
Volpe elaborates on the interview, offering additional details, including, “Initially, the younger Rucki told the Detective that her father attempted to threaten her ahead of the interview, “They (her father and his sister) basically said I have to (go to the interview) and I have to be here and I have to recant everything I said and it’s going and that’s the way it’s gonna be- and they made me feel guilty about it and I started to cry.”
This tampering takes on extra meaning because when Samantha testified in her mother’s trial, the court took the unusual step of allowing Samantha to testify by Skype and out of the view of the jury. Her father, his sister, her grandmother, and attorney were all in the room all out of the view of the jury.”
At least one child did recant his story – Nico Rucki previously disclosed physical and mental abuse from his father, has now changed his story and says it was Sandra who pressured him to make those claims. Was Nico subjected to the same treatment as Samantha had described?
Comments made in the police interview suggest that Rucki terrorized his family. Samantha states she felt “frightened”, and witnessed escalating violence in the home, “It was constantly screaming, and he (David Rucki) was getting to the point where he was starting to get physical.”
Samantha admits she ran away because she was in a “panic” and says the failures of the Dakota County Family Court -specifically Judge David L. Knutson, Julie Friedrich (Guardian ad Litem), Dr. Gilbertson (a therapist) – contributed to her decision.
Sandra’s criminal trial was presided by Judge Karen Asphaug, who refused to allow the transcript or audio of this interview to be entered as evidence. Judge Asphaug also refused to allow a domestic violence expert to testify on Sandra’s behalf; 75% of evidence submitted was withheld from the jury.
Sandra is due to be sentenced September 21st – she has been charged with 6 felony counts of depriving custodial rights. The circumstances surrounding her conviction raise concerns that she did not receive a fair trial.
Also concerning is the safety and well-being of the Rucki children. David Rucki went to great lengths in an attempt to silence Samantha…what has he got to hide, and what lengths will he go to bury the truth?
Judge Karen J Asphaug
Judge David L Knutson
Dr. James Gilbertson, PhD
Guardian ad Litem Julie Friedrich