Added: Jozette Ohare - Date: 01.11.2021 23:07 - Views: 21186 - Clicks: 1989
Danielle van Dam September 22, — February   was an American girl from the Sabre Springs neighborhood of San Diego, California , who disappeared from her bedroom during the night of February 1—2, Her body was found by searchers on February 27 in a remote area. Police suspected a neighbor, David Alan Westerfield, of the killing. He was arrested, tried, and convicted of kidnapping and first-degree murder. He was sentenced to death and is currently incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison.
On the evening of Friday, February 1, , Danielle van Dam's mother Brenda and two girlfriends went out to a bar, called Dad's, in Poway. Danielle's father, Damon, stayed at home with Danielle and her two brothers. Damon put Danielle to bed around p. Damon also slept until his wife returned home at around a.
Brenda noticed a light on the home's security alarm system was flashing, and discovered that the side door to the garage was open. Damon and Brenda went to sleep believing that their daughter was sleeping in her room. About an hour later, Damon awoke and noticed that an alarm light was flashing. He found the sliding glass door leading to the back yard open, so he closed it.
The next morning, Danielle was missing, and her parents called the police at a. Danielle became the subject of search efforts, with hundreds of volunteers searching deserts, highways and remote areas for weeks. The Laura Recovery Center assisted in organizing the search, and a Danielle Recovery Center was set up in a real estate office in Poway to coordinate the searching. Some searchers had decided to search the Dehesa Road area, near the trail, after detectives discovered traces of Danielle's blood in David Westerfield's motor home, because Dehesa Road was a possible route Westerfield could have taken to get to the desert.
Law enforcement officials interviewed the van Dams' neighbors the Saturday morning of Danielle's disappearance, and discovered that one neighbor, David Westerfield, was not at home. Westerfield born February 25, was self-employed as an engineer, 49 years old at the time, and held several patents for medical devices.
He lived two houses away from the van Dams, and owned a luxury motor home. About three days before Danielle's disappearance, Danielle and Brenda had sold Girl Scout cookies to Westerfield, who invited them into his home. Brenda asked to see his kitchen because she had noticed it was being remodeled when they had sold cookies to him the year before. On Saturday morning, Westerfield fetched his motor home from another part of town, stocked it with supplies, and left home at , minutes after Brenda called to report Danielle missing.
Westerfield later told police that he had driven around the desert and the beach in his motor home, and had stayed at a beach campground: this was later confirmed by witnesses, cell phone records, gas receipts and credit card records. He paid in advance for a two-night stay. However, he decided the weather was too cold, so he returned home to look for his wallet, after which he went to the desert.
On his way home on Monday morning, a sleepy-looking and bare-footed Westerfield stopped at his regular dry cleaners and dropped off two comforters, two pillow covers, and a jacket that would later yield traces of Danielle's blood.
When law enforcement first interviewed Westerfield, he did not mention going to the dry cleaners, although he detailed almost every other stop on his outing. Law enforcement placed Westerfield under hour surveillance on February 4,  noting that he had given his RV a cleaning when he returned from his trip, although he maintained it was normal for him to do so. Westerfield stated that he did not know where Danielle was, but said he had been at the same bar that Brenda had been to that Friday night, which Brenda confirmed.
On February 22, police arrested Westerfield for Danielle's kidnapping after two small stains of her blood were found on his clothing and in his motor home. Danielle's partially decomposed body was found February In pre-trial motions, Westerfield's lawyers moved to have his statements to police excluded, charging that he was unfairly interrogated for more than nine hours by detectives who ignored his repeated requests to call a lawyer, take a shower, eat, and sleep.
The forensic evidence presented by the prosecution included Danielle's blood stains on Westerfield's jacket and on the floor of his motor home, Danielle's fingerprints in the motor home, hairs from the van Dam family dog on Westerfield's motor home bed comforter, hairs consistent with Danielle's on the sheet of his bed, and matching acrylic fibers found on Danielle's body and in Westerfield's home, among other evidence. During the trial, Westerfield's lawyers suggested that the police were in a rush to solve the case and declined to consider other suspects.
They suggested that the child pornography found on Westerfield's computer was downloaded by Westerfield's son, Neal, who was 18 at the time of the murder. In testimony, Neal denied this. The defense suggested that because of this lifestyle, there might have been other people in the home that night. To establish an alibi for Westerfield, the defense called three entomologists who testified that insects first colonized Danielle's body sometime in mid-February, long after Westerfield had been under police surveillance.
In closing arguments, Feldman argued that no evidence of Westerfield was found in the van Dam residence  or at the body dump site, and that a foreign hair found under Danielle's body was not his. The trial lasted two months and concluded on August 8. On August 21, the jury found Westerfield guilty of first degree murder, kidnapping, and possession of child pornography.
During the penalty phase of the trial, Westerfield's year-old niece testified that, when she was 7 years old, her uncle entered his daughter's bedroom, where the niece was spending the night with her parents while attending a party, and woke up to find him rubbing her teeth. She said she bit his finger as hard as she could, then went downstairs to tell her mother. Westerfield was questioned about the incident at the time by his sister-in-law, where he explained that he had entered the bedroom to check on the children, and was trying to comfort her.
The incident was then forgotten. The penalty phase ended on September 16 when the jury rendered a verdict of death against Westerfield. Westerfield is currently incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison while his appeal is pending. The van Dams sued Westerfield, but the case was settled out of court. The settlement also prevents Westerfield from ever profiting from his crime. When the trial was over, the media, quoting unnamed police sources, reported that Westerfield's lawyers were just minutes away from negotiating a plea bargain when a group of private citizen searchers organized by the Laura Recovery Center found Danielle's body.
According to these reports, under the deal Westerfield would have taken police to the site where her body was located, in exchange for a sentence of life without parole. In the months following the end of the trial, audio tapes of Westerfield being interviewed were released to the media.
During his first interview, he is heard to ask an officer to "leave your gun here for a few minutes" in a seeming suggestion that he would like to commit suicide. In one interview he is told that he failed a polygraph test ; Westerfield says he wants a retest and that he was not involved in Danielle's disappearance.
In late , San Diego police received a letter from an outside party confessing to Danielle's murder. The author claimed to be James Selby, a man accused of various sex-related crimes in five states, including in the San Diego area. An episode of Animal Witness , an animal-based forensic series on the US TV network Animal Planet , was based on the belief that hairs consistent with Danielle's dog, which were found in Westerfield's laundry, in his RV, and on his comforter at the dry-cleaners, first got onto her pajamas when she cuddled with the dog, and then were carried on the pajamas to his house and RV in accordance with Locard's exchange principle.
It is near the place where her body was found. The years after the murder have led to increased levels of crime awareness in San Diego's neighborhoods as well as the institution of funds and benefits made in her honor. Her family still lives in Southern California. They have formed a Danielle Legacy Foundation which works to "promote volunteerism that will initiate positive changes that will put our children's safety first.
Danielle van Dam. Plano, Texas , U. The Angel Project. Retrieved Retrieved on 23 February New York Times. Retrieved 8 July ABC News. February 28, Retrieved April 7, Retrieved July 8, The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 1 February Retrieved on March 9, Retrieved on March 20, Retrieved on March 5, San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved August 8, Retrieved November 8, Retrieved on December 18, Retrieved on May 2, Retrieved on September 24, Los Angeles Times.
Retrieved 9 August Retrieved on January 16, Retrieved August 7, Archived from the original on May 15,San diego morning cuddle chat
email: [email protected] - phone:(370) 557-2433 x 9182
San diego morning cuddle chat