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  1. #1
    Hostus Mostus b-ball-lunachick's Avatar
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    Missing girl's neighbor charged with Kidnapping

    good news is they caught him, bad news is finding blood on his clothes can only mean the worst for this little girl..


    Missing girl's neighbor charged with kidnapping

    February 22, 2002 Posted: 4:07 PM EST (2107 GMT)

    http://www.cnn.com/2002/US/02/22/mis...irl/index.html

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) -- Police charged a neighbor with kidnapping Friday in the disappearance of Danielle van Dam, the 7-year-old girl who was reported missing from her San Diego bedroom nearly three weeks ago. She has not been found.

    Investigators found Danielle's blood on an article of David Westerfield's clothing and in his motor home, San Diego Police Chief David Bejarano said. Westerfield, 49, was arrested outside his lawyer's office.

    "We believe, without a question, that the DNA evidence links Mr. Westerfield to Danielle's disappearance," Bejarano said. "I can't stress enough how strong that link is."

    Westerfield, a self-employed engineer and divorced father of two, put up no resistance as his hands were cuffed behind his back and he was put into the back seat of a detectives' car. More charges are expected, authorities said.

    Danielle was reported missing from her family's San Diego home February 2, after her mother went to wake her in her second-floor bedroom and discovered she was not there. Police are calling the disappearance the result of a kidnapping.

    "I was happy to take the lie detector test," Brenda van Dam said recently. "I knew we would pass and that would keep the focus on finding Danielle."

    Police say Westerfield came under scrutiny after leaving for a weekend in the desert, 80 miles east of San Diego, the day Danielle turned up missing.

    Police had said that Westerfield had been cooperative and had been questioned by police. His home was searched and two vehicles were impounded.

    He has denied any knowledge of the case and said early on that he did not know the girl. The child's parents said they hardly know Westerfield.

    In the past, Westerfield's attorney has declined comment and has not returned calls to CNN.

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    iloveny's Avatar
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    That is horrible! I hope that they can find the little girl and I hope that she is still alive. The world is getting out of control I can't stand it now you can't even trust your neighbors.

  4. #4
    I know stuff centerfield's Avatar
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    It doesn't sound good. Blood = bad. The only solace is that even criminals despise this type of scum, and he is going to have a painful prison stay. And I would bet money he dies in jail, before his sentence is up, and after a painful, rape filled, bubbas boyfriend type experience.

  5. #5
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    There's so much evil all around, & it just seems to be getting worse and worse. To me, it's impossible to fathom this type of thing...an innocent child, & those poor parents... It's too hard to even think about it.

  6. #6
    NYYF Cy Young

    sanfranciscojetergirl's Avatar
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    Originally posted by centerfield
    It doesn't sound good. Blood = bad. The only solace is that even criminals despise this type of scum, and he is going to have a painful prison stay. And I would bet money he dies in jail, before his sentence is up, and after a painful, rape filled, bubbas boyfriend type experience.

    Wow Centerfield, I was thinking the same thing, I have a friend that is a prison guard here at San Quinton and he was telling me this weekend that when authorites find out that he killed/raped her that he will not live to long. My heart goes out to Danielle's Family
    You have a begining and end, but how you live the middle is important.

    My Nana 1919-2003

  7. #7
    Hostus Mostus b-ball-lunachick's Avatar
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    They just charged the scum with murder...ugh.....poor Danielle!!

  8. #8
    I hope they find the body... never knowing what actually happened would be awful to live with..

  9. #9
    #1 BronxBomber Enthusiast JeanC's Avatar
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    Tonight local stations had breaking news. They found a body of a little girl believed to be Danielle's in the South East portion of San Diego County out in the dessert.

    Horrible Horrible this was just Horrible. How could someone involve so innocent a child....

    They will tell more in a few days after true identification is made.....



  10. #10
    The Source

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    Calif. Police Find Body, Believe It's Missing Girl
    Wed Feb 27,10:05 PM ET
    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp..._dc_14&cid=578

    SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Volunteers searching for 7-year-old Danielle van Dam, who was kidnapped from her bedroom three weeks ago, found a partially burned child's body on Wednesday and police said there was a "high probability" that it was the missing girl.

    The body was found in a trash-strewn area underneath a grove of trees about 25 feet off a highway in rural El Cajon, about 30 miles east of the girl's home in the quiet San Diego suburb of Sabre Springs.

    Because of the burned condition of the body, authorities could not confirm that it was that of Danielle, but said initial observations made it likely.

    "There is a high probability that it is her," Lt. Jim Collins told reporters at the scene, adding that there were few missing children in San Diego County who would match the description. "It looks like the body of a young child. We are not sure it is female."

    San Diego District Attorney Paul Pfingst told reporters that the body appeared to be that of a young white female and was found wearing a plastic necklace similar to the one Danielle wore.

    Pfingst said it could take authorities between one and four days to identify the body, using dental records and possibly DNA to determine if the body was that of the missing girl.

    Collins said Danielle's parents, Brenda and Damon van Dam, had been informed by police of the discovery but said that positive identification could take hours. There was no immediate comment from the parents, who had repeatedly asked the public help find their daughter.

    SEARCHING FOR DANIELLE

    Scores of police and volunteers have been scouring canyons and desert areas for any trace of Danielle, who was snatched from her San Diego home in the middle of the night three weeks ago and whose fate has attracted nationwide attention.

    The discovery came one day after David Westerfield, a 50-year-old neighbor of the van Dam's, pleaded innocent to the girl's kidnapping and murder and to possession of child pornography.

    Westerfield was arrested after DNA tests showed traces of Danielle's blood on his clothing and in his motorhome. He was charged with her murder despite the fact that her body had not yet been found.

    Westerfield, who lives two doors away from the van Dams, was a prime suspect in the case from early on, in part because he took a trip to the desert the day after she vanished and cleaned his motorhome thoroughly upon returning.

    The self-employed design engineer told reporters he saw Brenda van Dam at a bar and danced with her the night before her daughter disappeared.

    The charges against Westerfield include a "special allegation" under California law that the murder occurred during a kidnapping, which would allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty if he were convicted.

    Danielle's parents discovered her missing on the morning of Feb. 2. Police believe she was abducted from her second-floor bedroom sometime after her father put her to bed the previous night.

  11. #11
    Suffering in Beantown YankeeFan00's Avatar
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    That is so sad. Atleast they did find her body, and they have someone in custody for it.

  12. #12
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    What is happening ---Everyday I read about a mother killing her kid-a father killing the kids---and then you here about neighbors and molesting children and kids and porn - how could anyone get a charge out of killing someone?--Why are all these people so crazy???

  13. #13
    #1 BronxBomber Enthusiast JeanC's Avatar
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    Tonights late night news bulletin...

    Yes that body is identified as Danielle......

    I hope they give that scumbag who kidnapped her the worse punishment California has to offer.....

    Sad faces just arent enough of the feeling I feel but since thats all that is ...

    with tears.......
    Last edited by JeanC; 03-03-02 at 10:03 PM.

  14. #14
    The Mirage West Texas's Avatar
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    Poor little girl.

  15. #15
    Devoted Member
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    As a mother, I can't even begin to describe the anger and sadness I feel in regards to this story. With this nightmare unfolding concurrently with the Andrea Yates trial (two very different situations, I know), itís harder than ever for me to watch the news or read a paper these days. Coverage on terrorism is almost easier to handle than hearing about these monsters.

  16. #16
    NYYF HOF

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    Originally posted by 26X4US
    What is happening ---Everyday I read about a mother killing her kid-a father killing the kids---and then you here about neighbors and molesting children and kids and porn - how could anyone get a charge out of killing someone?--Why are all these people so crazy???
    It does seem like every day...
    What could possibly bring a person to the point where they'd harm a child (let alone his/her own child)??
    It's beyond my comprehension.

  17. #17
    That ass better get the death penalty.. but it is Cali...so who knows... and the same goes for Andrea Yates.

  18. #18
    Released Outright
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    My thoughts and prayers are with the family. When breaking news came on saying they had found the body of what appeared to be a female child, my heart sank... At least Danielle is in a better place now, where no one can harm her ever again.

    To whoever did this uncomprehensible crime, I hope they get the death penalty.

    *Jo*

  19. #19
    NYYF Cy Young


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    i really hope the actual truth will come out--in both stories. as far as andrea yates, i don't understand how she was released from the hospital only a few weeks before. and her husband keeps saying that he thought she was ok before they had their 5th child, but it's clear that she was a wreck when her dad died. why was she taking care of children? i think everyone around her (especially her husband) have a lot of explaining to do.....

    as far as danielle van dam, it's such a shame what happened. and, i wonder the same thing about this westerfield dude: he sounds pretty sick--how come no one around could see it?
    btw, are other people hearing stories about how the van dam's were such "swingers" and that they had some sort of relationship w/westerfield (besides just dancing)? i don't know if that's just some "urban myth" that's going around or if there's any proof, but i keep hearing people say it. .... no matter what, though, i just hope we find out the truth. and, i wish the best for the van dam family.

    ~~jl

  20. #20
    NYYF HOF

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    Originally posted by caliyanksfan
    i really hope the actual truth will come out--in both stories. as far as andrea yates, i don't understand how she was released from the hospital only a few weeks before. and her husband keeps saying that he thought she was ok before they had their 5th child, but it's clear that she was a wreck when her dad died. why was she taking care of children? i think everyone around her (especially her husband) have a lot of explaining to do.....

    as far as danielle van dam, it's such a shame what happened. and, i wonder the same thing about this westerfield dude: he sounds pretty sick--how come no one around could see it?
    btw, are other people hearing stories about how the van dam's were such "swingers" and that they had some sort of relationship w/westerfield (besides just dancing)? i don't know if that's just some "urban myth" that's going around or if there's any proof, but i keep hearing people say it. .... no matter what, though, i just hope we find out the truth. and, i wish the best for the van dam family.

    ~~jl
    Re: the Van Dams, unfortunately, a lot of "dirt" will probably come out about them, which is sad considering all they have to bear now.

    Re: Yates...I agree with you. I wonder how her husband could've pushed for a fifth child when they were specifically advised against it, due to the severe postpartum depression that likely would ensue. Not that I'm sticking up for Andrea Yates, but why wasn't he looking out for her & their children?? Was he that clueless?

  21. #21
    NYYF Cy Young


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    yes, it really is sad that a lot of dirt might come out about the family, i totally agree. it's not a time for them to have more crap to deal w/than they already have right now.

    on the other hand, however, if it turns out that there was something that they could have done to prevent this (ie--be home at night, or something like that) then i think it's important for other people to know about it.
    i teach first grade. i know hundreds of little children. and, i do feel that their parents have a right to their privacy and to their own lives. however, if 'their own lives' are some how endangering their children, then they need to think twice.

    ~~jl

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