July 6, 1996: Sammiejo White, 11, and her sister, Carmen Cubias, 9, disappear after leaving the Crest Motel on Aurora Avenue North in Seattle shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday to get cigarettes at a nearby restaurant for an older brother. Police said they do not know whether the girls ran away or are victims of foul play.
Feb. 10, 1998: The remains of Sammiejo and Carmen are found by a transient living in an abandoned barn near Northeast 195th Street and 120th Avenue Northeast in the North Creek area of Bothell. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office says the girls probably were killed very soon after they disappeared.
July 2, 2005: Joseph Edward Duncan III is arrested at a Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, diner after he is seen with kidnap victim Shasta Groene, age 8. Duncan is later charged with killing Shasta’s mother, brother and her mother’s boyfriend in their Idaho home on May 16, 2005. He is also accused of kidnapping Shasta and her brother Dylan, 9, and sexually abusing them for seven weeks before killing Dylan.
August 2005: Duncan provides the FBI with details about the slayings of Sammiejo and Carmen, but does not give an outright confession to the crime, said King County sheriff’s spokesman John Urquhart.
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October 16, 2006: Duncan pleads guilty in Idaho’s 1st District Court to first-degree murder and kidnapping for three slayings at the Groene home. A state judge sentenced Duncan to life in prison without parole for the kidnappings, but sentencing on the murder counts was deferred while the federal government prepared its charges. If federal prosecutors fail to win a death sentence in their case, Duncan will be returned to the Idaho state court, where a jury will be impaneled for a death penalty hearing on the murder confessions.
Today: Federal prosecutors say Duncan has confessed to killing Sammiejo and Carmen as well as a Southern California youngster in 1997.