Danville teen arrested for battery, attempted robbery of Idaho woman

A 17-year-old Danville resident is in custody after bludgeoning a woman and attempting to steal her car in Idaho's Hope Peninsula.

On July 31, Marshall Dittrich and Joseph Martin of Denver, Colo., also 17, were running away from a boarding school in Montana when they decided to hitch a ride along state Route 200.

"They were picked up by an elderly lady and then decided they were going to take her car by whatever means necessary," said Det. Sgt. Gary Johnston with the Bonner County Sheriff's Department.

According to the Bonner County Daily Bee, Hope resident Vera Gadman, 66, picked up Marshall and Joseph who said they were looking for a campsite. When Gadman stopped her vehicle at an undeveloped cul-de-sac so the juveniles could examine a map, the two suddenly attacked her with "improvised bludgeons."

"She was choked and hit several times with an object over the head," Johnston said.

After sustaining several blows, Gadman attempted to run away from the vehicle but was soon followed by Marshall and Joseph, who continued their attacks before abruptly fleeing on foot. Gadman was later transported to Bonner General Hospital and has since been released.

"After the battery took place they fled on foot, leaving the car and their backpacks," Johsnston said. "(Hope Peninsula is) in a steeper, more remote area. So we set up a perimeter and tried to locate the subjects."

The assailants were found on the morning of Monday, Aug. 1 "barefoot, covered in bug bites and pretty much ready to give up."

Marshall and Joseph are currently being held at the Bonner County Jail under charges of aggravated battery and intent to commit robbery. Each has a $500,000 bond, but no one has posted bail for either teen.

When asked whether he knew what might happen to the Danville resident and his friend, Johnston said he was uncertain.

"With the severity of the crime and the fact that they're juveniles, it's going to be hard to speculate," he said.

The Dittriches have not returned calls for comment.


Posted by Observer, a resident of Danville
on Aug 10, 2011 at 4:38 pm

50:1 odds Del Amigo student spending his summer time at Montana boarding camp

Posted by Bob K, a resident of Danville
on Aug 10, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Observer- I went to Del Amigo and I now a have successful career working for a fortune 500 company in Silicon Valley. Don't be ignorant. You sound stupid when you do that.

Posted by ron, a resident of Blackhawk
on Aug 10, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Parents must be proud of these two geniuses - can't even beat up a 66 year old woman, and then run away leaving their backpacks behind. Would be laughable if it weren't so pathetic.

Posted by Observer, a resident of Danville
on Aug 10, 2011 at 7:08 pm

@Bob K - As a Del Amigo graduate you certainly know what goes on at the school. Question, are you willing to take on the bet?

Posted by Double 0 Odds 36:1, a resident of Danville
on Aug 10, 2011 at 10:29 pm

Felony assault, the attack is though written up much more seriously in the local paper as the county prosecutor has drawn criticism from the citizenry for opting not to pursue attempted murder charges. De La Salle.

Web Link

Posted by William, a resident of Danville
on Aug 11, 2011 at 7:11 am

Yet another testament of the failure of our mental health system and parenting in our community. When parents can't contain and control and get inadequate help they then turn to the "educational consultant" to find a place to put the problem. This is often one of the expensive "therapeutic boarding schools" that are part of the Utah and Idaho's cottage industry. This is nothing but another sad story of the poor training and lack of competency that is rampant at these facilities. This is buyer beware territory for parents.

Posted by KB, a resident of Danville
on Aug 11, 2011 at 7:20 am

So, what's going on in this Danville kid's family? Or, what wasn't going on with respect to good parenting and a home life based on values. In my opinion, it usually points back to the parents and choices they made early on. What did this kid experience and see in THAT household to manifest such behavior as this? Too late now, our taxes will be paying to support this misfit for life.

Posted by Tracy, a resident of Danville
on Aug 11, 2011 at 7:29 am

I'm not going to speculate/point fingers (at parents, system, etc.) as I don't know these boys or their mental health history, family of origin, etc. - I do wonder however why their names were released. They are only 17 and I thought minors were supposed to remain anonymous.

I hope the kids get some help, and that their victim recovers quickly.

Posted by Mel, a resident of Danville
on Aug 11, 2011 at 7:53 am

66 is "elderly"?

Posted by Diane, a resident of Alamo
on Aug 11, 2011 at 8:00 am

I think "elderly" is 65 and over. Not that it means anything, 18 and over is considered "adult"

Posted by John, a resident of Danville
on Aug 11, 2011 at 8:01 am

The young man was at Explorations, a therapeutic boarding school in Montana. Sounds like it may be a place to help work through issues rather than a summer camp filled with fun.

By the way, whatever happened with that Sam Nesis case from earlier this year? There has been a media black out as to whether the case is proceeding or whether he was released.

Posted by cardinal, a resident of Diablo
on Aug 11, 2011 at 8:20 am

I'm not sure whether Will Rogers said this, but he might have:

"Some folks just don't feel good, unless they feel like they're better than somebody else."

Posted by Katie, a resident of Danville
on Aug 11, 2011 at 8:38 am

MANY crimes take place, are investigated, and then two years later we wonder why they were never handled. Lucky to be a criminal in Danville....

Posted by Kerri, a resident of Danville
on Aug 11, 2011 at 9:37 am

I read this article & feel very sad for the woman that tried to help 2 strangers & ended up being attacked. I am especially sad for the family of this troubled young man, hopefully he continues to get the help he needs so he does not hurt anyone else or himself. Those of you that reacted with speculation about Del Amigo or De La Salle clearly missed the mark on this one- you have no clue about their upbringing so leave it alone.

Posted by Jack, a resident of Danville
on Aug 11, 2011 at 9:52 am

Releasing the names and photographs of minors involved in criminal felony activity varies from state to state. California is an extremely liberal state that provides and protects specific criminal rights. Unfortunately not all states are as liberal as California.

Almost all juvenile court proceedings and records were confidential as recently as the 1970s. Confidentiality was an integral part of the traditional juvenile justice model, based upon the theory that publicly designating a juvenile as a law violator would stigmatize a young person. This stigma would then encourage the juvenile to adopt a deviant self-image and reduce the potential for rehabilitation.

As juvenile justice policy became more contentious during the 1980s and 1990s, support for confidentiality protections began to erode. Most states opened their juvenile court proceedings or records to the public and to the media. By 1997, 30 states had enacted provisions to allow open hearings in at least some juvenile cases. Forty-two states had enacted legislation authorizing the release and publication of the names and addresses of alleged juvenile offenders in some cases. States also began to allow more juveniles to be fingerprinted and photographed.

Web Link

Tough as it may seem to say or hear, sometimes the responsibility of personal behavior falls squarely upon the juvenile's shoulders.

Posted by Katie, a resident of Danville
on Aug 11, 2011 at 10:55 am

According to his FB page....he's a BOYSCOUT!!!!! Nice. Looks like that orginization failed too.....

Posted by cessna, a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Spare the rod & spoil the child.

This kind of behavior can be traced to the cessation of spanking.

Posted by Chris, a resident of Danville
on Aug 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm


The Boy Scouts is a very good organization, it is the people who choose to volunteer that can mess it up. On that note, one of the troops in Danville has adults with the same last name running it. Don't know if there is any relation, but it is not that common of a name. So again I say it is the people who volunteer, not the organization itself.

Posted by Cathy, a resident of Danville
on Aug 11, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Sounds like a lot of harsh criticism from people who obviously don't know the family or situation. I'm surprised at the self-rightous judgment from the Danville community.

Posted by bz, a resident of Danville
on Aug 11, 2011 at 6:32 pm

I whole-heartedly agree with Kerri! This is such a sad situation! It is sad for the victim and her family, and it is sad for the young people and their families! I wish them ALL healing!

Posted by Tracy, a resident of Danville
on Aug 11, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Kerry, Cathy and bz - I agree with you all. Thanks for thinking before you post, and for having the ability to realize how futile it is to pass judgment on a situation you know nothing about.

May everyone (and I do mean everyone) get the help they need to live peacefully.

Posted by Doug, a resident of Danville
on Aug 11, 2011 at 9:25 pm

I am in the same troop as Marshall Dittrich, and I have got to know him and his family quite well. Don't leave bad comments comments about them. DON'T HATE!

Posted by Katie, a resident of Danville
on Aug 12, 2011 at 7:37 am

Chris, Clearly you missed the obvious point, If you read all the prior post to mine.
Everyone is blaming parents, and the school for this.
If you are going to blame them, you might as well blame the boyscouts tloo!

There are good parents that have kids screw up, and then the school is to blame? Please!

Posted by a friend, a resident of Danville
on Aug 12, 2011 at 10:22 am

This boy has a troubled past, and that is no reflection upon the family and organizations who have tried to direct his moral compass into a more socially acceptable direction. Society has always produced citizens who failed to live up to their opportunities for meaningful, productive lives, despite their upbringing. It is a heartbreaking situation for all involved.

Posted by Chris, a resident of Danville
on Aug 12, 2011 at 10:31 am


I didn't miss your point. You stated the Boyscouts failed him, too. My point is that his parents (confirmed by a post) are involved with the troop which goes back to the parents, not the Boyscouts, failing him.

With regard to some good parents, yes there are some, but the ones I know do not have screwed up kids, because they are doing their job. Parenting in absentia is big around here as there are so many two-worker households. Kids are left to fend for themselves. How does that instill any morals or values to these kids, and if they are doing something wrong, who is there to guide them or discipline them? Go to any Starbucks on a school morning (which I do after I have taken care of both of MY kids) to see the parenting in absentia in action with all of the au pair, nannies and babysitters that are caring for the kids. Do you think any of these care givers instill any kind of morals or values or really discipline these kids? Please!

Posted by Dave, a resident of Danville
on Aug 12, 2011 at 10:42 am

Those of you condemning the parents are clearly speaking out of ignorance. I've known this family for years and can tell you that the parents are solid people that have done everything that you or I would do to raise our children.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Alamo
on Aug 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm

To Dave: they should have done more ... obviously it was not enough!

Posted by Alan, a resident of Blackhawk
on Aug 12, 2011 at 1:09 pm


You might know the family well, but no one knows what goes on behind closed doors. Community appearance can be very different from what is really happening in a family. We, as a society, make excuses for everything and we need to start taking responsiblity. Yes, Marshall is responsible for his actions at age 17, but you don't turn into a nightmare overnight. If this child was so difficult growing up, maybe a military-style boarding school might have been a better choice rather than the family-style one they chose. Would have definitely been really tough love for the parents, but might have straightened this child out.

Posted by knowthem, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Aug 12, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Amazing to see these comments condoning the parents without knowing any facts about the situation. The parents are very good people. No matter how good of parenting one provides a child may still choose to behave badly. This is unfortunate but does happen and can be a nightmare for the parents. Please don't bash the parents.

Posted by Tracy, a resident of Danville
on Aug 12, 2011 at 4:17 pm

It's so easy to assume because your own children grew up as responsible people that the desired outcome has everything to do with how wonderful you are as a parent. Conversely, when you see a child with criminal behaviors, it is easy to blame the parent (or the school, etc.). Ah, ignorance. Isn't it sweet?!

Truth be told that some people are born in to this life with issues created in the womb - we can see the outward appearance of these at times - others are hidden and may or may not be something you can alter. What I know to be true is that every child is different and finding the appropriate treatment/program, etc. for a kid who is exhibiting criminal behaviors can be a crap shoot. It sounds like these boys families were trying.

My kids turned out great - I would love to think it had everything to do with me, but they had many influences along the way - some in my control, and some not. I am grateful, but I draw the line at patting myself on the back.

Posted by Alan, a resident of Blackhawk
on Aug 12, 2011 at 4:55 pm


Have you ever read any of nurture vs nature articles? Reading the quote below, it makes it seem that we still have free will and that nurture does affect us more than nature (parents, school, friends, etc.):

"Researchers on all sides of the nature vs nurture debate agree that the link between a gene and a behavior is not the same as cause and effect. While a gene may increase the likelihood that you'll behave in a particular way, it does not make people do things. Which means that we still get to choose who we'll be when we grow up."

Posted by Tracy, a resident of Danville
on Aug 14, 2011 at 12:36 am

Alan, I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist and completely agree that environment does influence behaviors - were this not the case, I would be out of business. My sister-in-law is a psychiatrist and we have many heated discussions on the point that you raised.

My comment above suggests that we can't ignore physiological issues that might influence behaviors that are not readily amenable to intervention, or that require unique interventions and see many failures before something meaningful is found.

So, the short answer to your question is, yes - I have read articles (a bit more clinical than the one you quote from, but still very compelling) on nature vs. nurture. And yes, I still find in my practice that there are some children that engage in behaviors and activities that are unaffected by the influence of their parents - behaviors that are both good and bad.

Posted by Jerold Z Kaplan, M.D ., a resident of Alamo
on Aug 15, 2011 at 9:59 am

Alan, Tracy, et al. How does one account for the fact that there may be several children in one family with some being outstanding citizens and others being despicable criminals. I have thrre sons, all of whom I am proud of, yet they are very different from each other. Same parents, same schools, same boy scout troop. Different genes, different friends, slight difference in ages. Who we are is a composite of all factors from conception to the present day. Why do so many people feel that fixing blame is more important that identifying and fixing the problem?

By the way, why are most people afraid of signing their neme? If you have an valid opinion or comment on any topic, stand up and be counted!

Posted by Tracy, a resident of Danville
on Aug 15, 2011 at 2:41 pm

@Dr. Kaplan,

You are preaching to the choir with your statement regarding the variations in children in spite of similar environment, upbringing, parental influence, etc.

I do want to respond though to your question on why names are not shared on this forum. I can only speak for myself, but my reasons are twofold:
1) I want to speak for myself and not the organization that I work for, and people may be unable to separate the two; and
2) In the past there have been contributors on this forum who were very threatening (gunslinger comes to mind). I made a decision then to protect my identity. I rarely contribute, but when I do I am always "Tracy" - my middle name.

Posted by Jake, a resident of Alamo
on Aug 15, 2011 at 6:16 pm

While we are debating whose fault it is, there is an old lady (someone's Mom, sister, wife) is hurting physically and will be hurt emotionally for a long time. Imagine the outcome if she was armed!

Posted by Sarah, a resident of Danville
on Aug 17, 2011 at 8:08 am

Good parents can and do have troubled children who do bad things. Conversely some horrible parents have children who turn out wonderful upstanding citizens. Do you even have children? If so, I hope you are blessed with happy, productive ones. I also hope that your influence didn't teach them to arrogant and condescending.

I try to live by the motto: Never criticize someone if you haven't walked in their shoes and Never say "that would never happen to me or my children". It very well may turn around and bite you in the……...

Posted by an old friend, a resident of Danville
on Oct 9, 2011 at 11:08 pm

I used to be very close to Marshall not that long ago while he was living in Danville, and it saddens me to hear what has happened and what's become of him. I know his background (a very traumatic one, at that) and I can tell you with certainty that his actions weren't a result of his current family, as they are very nice people. However, I do agree that the way a person turns out can be related to their past or any traumatic events, or bad parenting.

Posted by Concerned, a resident of Danville
on Oct 12, 2011 at 2:07 pm

To Observer:

This person has never been a student at Del Amigo High School. You are proving to be worthless in your own right by making such a subjective conclusion simply based upon what you read about this person's actions. Del Amigo has plenty of smart, caring, wonderful kids who simply can't handle the lack of individual academic attention, over-sized classes, bullying, and drama which exists at the four comprehensive high schools. People like you who spout off about what you don't know harm many other innocent students who are trying to make the right choices in life. By automatically assuming every student in this community who shows poor judgment is a student at Del Amigo, you harm many others who CHOOSE to attend the school in order to graduate early, find emotional stability, get one-on-one academic help, or be able to attend school and work a full time job simultaneously. You should not speak out and judge about what you clearly do not know. People such as yourself are detrimental to many of the students in this area that need a smaller school such as Del Amigo. Maybe instead of blogging your judgments on others, you should visit the school and volunteer and let the students show you what true character is!

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