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‘It Isn’t Over Yet’:SDPD Chief Bejarano talks about latest developments in van Dam Case
Newsweek-Website ^ | March 1, 2002 | NEWSWEEK WEB EXCLUSIVE

Posted on 03/01/2002 7:36:24 AM PST by FresnoDA

Edited on 09/03/2002 4:50:01 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

‘It Isn’t Over Yet’

Feb. 28 —  The Danielle van Dam case has reached a sad climax. Police tonight confirmed that a body found by volunteers in a trash-strewn area about 25 feet off a well-traveled road east of San Diego was indeed that of the 7-year-old kidnapped from her suburban bedroom three weeks ago.


(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.com ...


TOPICS: Breaking News; Crime/Corruption; News/Current Events
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Statement by Brenda & Damon van Dam

“With today's confirmation that our beloved Danielle will never again be physically present in our lives, we are experiencing the depths of sadness, loss and grief which only parents who have lost children under similar circumstances can fully comprehend.

These emotions are being tempered by an overwhelming sense of gratitude and closure. There is not a more anxious feeling for parents than to not know where our children are. While the past seven years we've had the peace and confidence of always knowing where Danielle was and that she was safe, someone took that away from us almost four weeks ago. But now with love for an innocent child -- and for one another -- the community has brought her back to us, and for that gift we offer our most sincere and heartfelt thanks. Even though the final outcome is horrible, we could not have imagined the rest of our lives without this closure.

Love has conquered evil in our community. This is Danielle's legacy and we couldn't be more proud. As we were praying this morning with the incredible volunteer searchers who actually found our daughter, our personal prayer was that God would share our little angel with everyone who helped to find her.

Thousands of people have stepped forward in extraordinary ways since Danielle was abducted. The entire search effort was started by the Laura Recovery Center Foundation and later carried out by our local organization, the Danielle Search Center. More than 2,500 people generously donated their time and energy to the search, and countless more helped behind the scenes.

We also want to thank the San Diego Police Department for the thorough and caring approach they have given to Danielle's abduction and murder. They are among the finest individuals we've ever known.

Danielle was a very special, beautiful, loving little girl. We miss her desperately but find comfort in knowing that she is now safe again and at peace. For Danielle, our family, friends and neighbors, we thank you for unifying us into such a giving community. We will be forever grateful to all of you."


1 posted on 03/01/2002 7:36:24 AM PST by FresnoDA
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To: golitely;spectre;Amore;Bigg Red;Travis McGee;BunnySlippers;Doughtyone;Hillary's Lovely Legs...
PING.....))))))) Reports of possible Plea Arrangements under way. KOGO has eluded possible....developing....
2 posted on 03/01/2002 7:38:15 AM PST by FresnoDA
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To: FresnoDA
There's Brenda, rubbing onion oil into her eyes and grimacing the way her acting coaches told her.

Damon as usual has no expression: a moral flatliner, he only shows emotion when tied in restraints by multiple masters with whips.

3 posted on 03/01/2002 7:40:28 AM PST by Travis McGee
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To: FresnoDA
I can’t comment ;-)
4 posted on 03/01/2002 7:40:31 AM PST by Registered
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To: Registered

Experts Try To Determine Danielle's Cause Of Death

Van Dams Issue Statement Regarding Death Of Daughter

Danielle van DamPosted: 7:46 a.m. PST March 1, 2002
Updated: 8:07 a.m. PST March 1, 2002
SAN DIEGO -- Forensic experts examining the partially decomposed body of Danielle van Dam are trying to determine how she was killed.

Late Thursday afternoon, San Diego County District Attorney Paul Pfingst confirmed that the small corpse found alongside a rural East County road was that of the 7-year-old, who vanished at the beginning of last month.

Relying largely on dental records, Medical Examiner Dr. Brian Blackbourne confirmed the suspicions of detectives that the remains were those of the little girl.

"Dr. Blackbourne reports that he has confirmed that the body of a little girl discovered Wednesday is, in fact, the body of Danielle van Dam," Pfingst said.

Brenda and Damon van Dam issued a statement expressing their grief and thanking those who participated in searching for her.

"With today's confirmation that our beloved Danielle will never again be physically present in our lives, we are experiencing the depths of sadness, loss and grief, which only parents who have lost children under similar circumstances can fully comprehend.

"Danielle was a very special, beautiful, loving little girl. We miss her desperately but find comfort in knowing that she is now safe again and at peace."

For Danielle, our family, friends and neighbors, we thank you for unifying us into such a giving community./We will be forever grateful to all of you."

Citizen volunteers Wednesday afternoon came across Danielle's remains under a clutch of oak trees next to Dehesa Road, which winds through a sparsely developed inland valley east of El Cajon.

Pfingst and San Diego police Chief David Bejarano thanked the legions of civilians who gave up their spare time over the last four weeks to scour much of San Diego County and its environs in hopes of locating Danielle.

They also acknowledged that the discovery of her body -- a feat Pfingst likened to finding the proverbial "needle in a haystack" -- is a serious boon to their case against the man accused of abducting and killing her.

Sabre Springs design engineer David A. Westerfield, 50, was arrested a week ago and not guilty earlier this week to charges of kidnapping and murder.

Westerfield, a twice-divorced father of two who lives two doors down from the van Dams, could face the death penalty if convicted. A preliminary hearing in the case is set for March 11.


5 posted on 03/01/2002 7:42:54 AM PST by FresnoDA
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To: FresnoDA
Now that Danielle has been found and identified, I hope that the focus can turn to alot of unanswered questions in this case.
What was the extent of the Van Dam's relationship with Westerfield? What really happened the night she disappeared?

Something is still terribly wrong with the circumstances around this case. I feel that there was more of a relationship between Brenda and David than we are led to believe right now. How could a "casual" friend go into a dark home with father and 2 other kids in it, find her exact bedroom grab her and get out again without detection by anyone, or the dog. He must have been in that house before to know his way around. Did dad maybe slip out for a while after the kids went to bed and Westerfield saw? Too many questions to list them all here now.

6 posted on 03/01/2002 7:49:10 AM PST by Uni-Poster
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To: Travis McGee
There's Brenda, rubbing onion oil into her eyes and grimacing the way her acting coaches told her.

Damon as usual has no expression: a moral flatliner, he only shows emotion when tied in restraints by multiple masters with whips.


Forgive me, but what does this supposedly mean?
7 posted on 03/01/2002 7:50:12 AM PST by wasp69
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To: Uni-Poster

Suspect Awaits Death Penalty Decision    PLEA ARRANGEMENTS IN DISCUSSION?

Two people searching for the missing girl found the body behind some foliage, near a trail and among scattered rocks next to a golf course. Damon and Brenda van Dam had spearheaded one of the largest volunteer searches in state history, with hundreds of people combing nearby deserts and highways.

Meanwhile, the chief suspect in case, neighbor David Westerfield, is in custody waiting to see whether San Diego County prosecutors will seek the death penalty in Danielle's disappearance and slaying. Westerfield, who is being held without bond, has pleaded not guilty to murder and kidnapping charges and has also been charged with possession of child pornography.

APIf convicted, Westerfield, 50, could face the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

Danielle was last seen Feb. 1 when her father put her to bed at around 10 p.m. After she disappeared, investigators focused primarily on Westerfield, who lives two doors down from the van Dam family's suburban San Diego home.

Police say Westerfield took his motor home to an area in the desert outside San Diego for the weekend on the same morning the child was reported missing.

Investigators say DNA evidence links Westerfield to van Dam's kidnapping and slaying: her blood was found on an article of Westerfield's clothing and in his motor home.

Police also searched Westerfield's home has been searched multiple times, impounded his Toyota sport utility vehicle and motor home, and had him provide a DNA sample for analysis. Investigators who searched the mobile home said the smell of bleach was overwhelming.

Investigators also hauled at least 13 bags of evidence from Westerfield's home, including, they said, materials that appeared to be child pornography.


Broadcast Reports are stating that Feldman and SD District Attorney are meeting to discuss possible Plea Arrangement!!!!........developing.....updates when confirmation is available......


8 posted on 03/01/2002 7:52:57 AM PST by FresnoDA
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To: wasp69
You haven't been following this story have you?
9 posted on 03/01/2002 7:55:06 AM PST by Travis McGee
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To: Uni-Poster
The question that plagues me is why Westerfield waited until 9:30 the next morning to leave for the desert. Something about this just isn't right...
10 posted on 03/01/2002 7:57:20 AM PST by ravingnutter
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To: FresnoDA
interesting...could it be he pleads guilty to a nonDP charge in return for telling how he killed her, or????
11 posted on 03/01/2002 7:58:01 AM PST by Mrs.Liberty
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To: FresnoDA
are you listening to KOGO?
12 posted on 03/01/2002 7:59:39 AM PST by Mrs.Liberty
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THere child is dead. I at first felt sick about their lifestyle but they did NOT kill her. In fact they were home. Other families have slept while their child was abducted. All it takes is a sicko like this murderer to spot the weakness and attack the innocent. I am sorry but I really dont feel good about condemning the parents at this point. We all have skeletons in our closets. That does not make us bad parents. With Mark Klass and John Walsh on the families side I just dont understand some attacking the parents in such a slanderous manner. Isnt this what Freepers hate about the left?
13 posted on 03/01/2002 7:59:40 AM PST by alisasny
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To: FresnoDA
What they didn't say is quite interesting. Understandable--but in particular, why they looked for porno--instead of just saying, we do that in lots of child abduction cases, he said he couldn't comment. Sounds like a tip, maybe?
14 posted on 03/01/2002 7:59:48 AM PST by MizSterious
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To: Mrs.Liberty
Or pleads out to keep everything from being exposed in a trial?
15 posted on 03/01/2002 8:00:23 AM PST by Uni-Poster
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To: ravingnutter
Agreed, that means he hung out at his house (with Danielle?) and then the next morning, headed off on his mini-vacation. He would have driven right by the VD's residence, while SDPD was there??? The guy would have B@$lls of steel to do that, IMHO!! Sure doesn't match the snivler know behind bullet proof glass, (pictured above!).
16 posted on 03/01/2002 8:00:30 AM PST by FresnoDA
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To: Travis McGee
Hmmmmmm, What information do you have that the rest of us don't? Apparently I've missed on those subtle details.
17 posted on 03/01/2002 8:01:40 AM PST by MadRobotArtist
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To: wasp69
Sounds like you need an English-to-English dictionary. McGee seems to write clearly enough.
18 posted on 03/01/2002 8:03:55 AM PST by MizSterious
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To: alisasny
I really hate condemming the parents too, but if their "lifestyle" or a possible affair helped lead it too this point, then something must be done about that. Brenda was fond of saying "our lifestyle has nothing to do with our daughter missing", but what if it did? If he was involved with the swinging, or with Brenda somehow, then the lifestyle DID have something to do with it.

All I ask for is the truth.

19 posted on 03/01/2002 8:04:11 AM PST by Uni-Poster
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To: FresnoDA
Might be interesting to know if they recognize anyone in the child porn that DW had
20 posted on 03/01/2002 8:04:55 AM PST by demsux
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