Skip to comments.Missing Danielle Parents Allegedly Swingers
Posted on 02/11/2002 5:06:42 PM PST by Petronski
Larry asked them about it just now on Larry King Live (2-11-2), and they refused to deny it.
Parents becoming focus of public's interest in case
By Bruce Lieberman and Preston Turegano
February 9, 2002
All week, media across the nation buzzed about the abduction of a child from her bedroom in northern San Diego.
Danielle van Dam is still missing, but by yesterday the public's attention was shifting to the girl's parents, as accusations and talk-radio diatribes threatened to drown out news of the investigation.
The founder of a group that posted a $10,000 reward for Danielle's safe return suggested the police investigate her family. Radio talk-show conversations questioned the lifestyle of Brenda and Damon van Dam; television and newspaper reporters began asking them about it.
The Internet has been teeming with messages about Danielle and her parents. While some come to the van Dams' defense, the bulk are angry with the parents, and many of the messages are mean-spirited. They address everything from rumors of the parents' lifestyle to their statements that they didn't check on their children after a door was found open at night.
The van Dams, who discovered their 7-year-old daughter missing from her bed a week ago today, became household names almost overnight as they made the rounds of national television shows, pleading for Danielle's return.
They have used the reach of the Internet to ask for help in finding her. A Web site set up by neighbors provides a downloadable poster of the child and asks viewers to distribute it as widely as possible.
The shift in the response to the van Dams ? from sympathetic to nasty ? was swift as the couple tried in vain to keep the focus on the search for their daughter.
A family spokeswoman said the van Dams would not comment yesterday about the flurry of allegations.
One of the most outspoken critics was Douglas Pierce, who only days before posted a $10,000 reward for Danielle's return. Pierce, who describes his group, the Millennium Children's Fund, as a nonprofit advocacy group for abused children, said he was disturbed by what he saw during his eight hours in the van Dam home Wednesday.
He felt the parents lacked emotion, and said he was put off by what he described as their repeated rehearsals before facing the media.
The van Dams and several advisers plan what the parents say and how they look on television and in newspapers, Pierce said. "They were talking about their makeup and how they look in the camera," he added.
Pierce said the van Dams' two sons, 5 and 10, should be taken from the home while police search for Danielle.
Although he found no evidence to believe the van Dams are tied directly to their daughter's disappearance, Pierce said he decided to ask for outside protection for the children after observing the family, its public-relations team and a journal entry by Danielle that he said suggested conflict with her father.
Pierce said he was shocked when Brenda van Dam showed him Danielle's journal. " 'Daddy, please forgive me,' " Pierce said one entry read. " 'Daddy please love me. Danielle.' "
"After my personal observation, I'm asking for a wake-up call from the San Diego Police Department to investigate the family," Pierce said.
Pierce's comments enraged the van Dams.
"Douglas Pierce is some kind of freak who came into our house," Damon van Dam told a Los Angeles radio station Thursday. He called Pierce "evil."
"He is trying to start trouble for us," Brenda van Dam said. "We did not invite him into our house."
A few days ago, the van Dams began to get questions on television about their private life. Delicate questions became pointed yesterday when San Diego radio talk-show host Rick Roberts criticized the van Dams on the air for "not being honest" about "what really occurred" the night their daughter disappeared.
Roberts told his listeners that a "reliable" source "high in law enforcement" said the van Dams have engaged in "lots of wife-swapping." Saying he believes the source, Roberts reported activity by the van Dams on the night of Feb. 1 dramatically different from their description to the news media.
Roberts repeated his source's allegations for four hours, interrupted mainly by callers angry at the van Dams.
During a break in his 3-to-7 p.m. show on KFMB-AM 760 titled "The Court of Public Opinion," Roberts told The San Diego Union-Tribune he decided to go public with what his source told him because the van Dams' two young sons remain at home and "may be exposed to the couple's lifestyle."
When asked if he thought his comments were slanderous or unethical, Roberts said: "No, not at all. This is not a court of law. It's a court of public opinion. If anyone thinks they're slanderous, they can subpoena me."
Roberts said he told his program director he intended to disclose the source's information and that the director did not object.
Ed Trimble, president and chief operating officer of KFMB-TV and radio, could not be reached for comment after the show.
Perhaps, unless their sexual habits endangered their daughter.
This story has links to earlier ones, including one for Feb 9:
Westerfield is the neighbor possible-suspect in the girl's disappearance.
My bet is the parents private lives had nothing to do with this.
One of the people the mother was at the bar with was a neighbor. The neighbor also accompanied the mother back to her house.
After everyone left, the neighbor loaded up in a motor home and spent the weekend driving first out to the desert, then to the beach, then back to the desert.
The neighbor's house was searched shortly after he arrived back home, and unspecified amounts of child pornography were removed.
The police have taken his motor home to search for DNA evidence that the girl may have been inside it, and have searched areas of the desert and beach where he claims to have spent the weekend.
Now, I'm not saying it's not plausible, because obviously this guy did it, but I find it strange that a guy who says he needed to get away for the weekend and be alone would spend the whole night before he left, drinking in a bar and following his neighbor home for continued partying after the bar closed. It seems strange.
The mother has taken and passed a polygraph. The police will not comment on the father or the neighbor taking one, which makes me think that they probably haven't, or the results weren't squeaky clean. Applying Occam's Razor makes me tend to believe the father and this neighbor are somehow involved.
My children's windows were shut and the doors locked. There wouldn't have been a chance for anyone to get at them without my wife and I knowing. I considered that to be my responsibility!
What is it with these people that their children can be taken without them having the slightest idea until the next morning? I felt the same way about those folks in Colorado. That little blond beauty pagent kid. I can't help but feel this folks should never have had children and that their surviving kids should be removed from their homes.
If this latest couple aren't involved, I feel that their actions most certainly contributed.
Can't help but almost wonder if someone might have thought that it would be best for the kid if they removed her from the house.
What kind of person brings this type of activity into the home of young children?
Indeed, as someone asked, what pizza place delivers at 3AM?
Yes, the mother and the "suspect" neighbor were at the same bar/club that evening and reportedly danced together. There's an allegation that she "entertained" in the parking lot before returning home and that he had offered to host one of their adult parties at his home. There's another allegation that police took large amounts of child pornography from his residence.
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