Skip to comments.WESTERFIELD’S GRANDFATHER ACCUSED OF MOLESTING RELATIVES
Posted on 09/08/2002 1:04:50 PM PDT by Defiant
LOCAL 8 EXCLUSIVE: WESTERFIELDS GRANDFATHER ACCUSED OF MOLESTING RELATIVES
Westerfields Grandfather Accused of Molesting Relatives
In-Law Says She was One of Many Victims
By David Gotfredson, LOCAL 8 News
In the trial of a 50-year-old man who murdered a 7-year-old girl, the jury has heard from people who thought they knew David Westerfield best, people who gave a vivid picture of Westerfields childhood.
On the witness stand, Westerfields high school sweetheart, Margaret Hennon, wore the earrings the defendant gave her as a teenager.
Two of Westerfields aunts told the jury stories of childhood happiness, of picking blueberries with their nephew on a farm in Maine.
Westerfields sister, Tania Pecina, testified her brother grew up in a stable family environment, one with no alcoholism or sexual abuse.
Now comes a new family picture quite different from the one seen on the witness stand. It is a portrait of sexual abuse.
The story begins with a string of email messages from Westerfield relatives and in-laws received over several weeks by LOCAL 8 news and the Rick Roberts radio show on KFMB/760 AM.
One email from Westerfields cousin illustrates a recurring theme in the correspondence.
"If there was sexual abuse in this family, the cousins email reads, "it likely was not a result of his (David Westerfield's) immediate family, but of his lecherous grandfather, Eldon Marple."
Eldon Marple lived most of his life on a family farm in Hayward, Wisconsin with his eight children, one of them David Westerfield's mother, Laura Nan Marple.
Eldon Marple authored several books on the history of the Hayward, Wisconsin lakes region and died on the family farm in December of 1990.
It was a day another family member who asked to be identified only as "Mickey" will never forget.
"The day he died, I think everybody rejoiced," said Mickey, 49, in a telephone interview with LOCAL 8 from her home in Iowa.
Mickey has vivid memories of Westerfield's grandfather because, she says, Eldon Marple sexually abused her in the early 1960s when she was just 10 years old.
Mickey says Marple sexually abused her in her bedroom, while the then 58-year old Marple was babysitting Mickey and her sister at their parents home in Long Grove, Iowa.
"There was fondling and he tried to penetrate," Mickey said. "It was like constantly going through my head, something is not right here. And, I can remember rolling over and trying to curl up in the blankets."
Mickey says the sexual attack was halted when her parents returned home and Eldon Marple walked out of her bedroom.
In 1970, when Mickey was 17 years old, Marple allegedly tried to assault Mickey again on the family farm in Wisconsin. Mickey says she was sleeping in the same room as one of Marples daughters, when he tried to get in bed with her.
"He crawled into bed with me and I curled up in a blanket and he wasnt able to touch me in any way," she said.
Mickey is related to the Marple clan through the marriage of two of her siblings. Mickeys brother married David Westerfields aunt. Her sister married one of Westerfields uncles.
It was not until the early 90s that Mickey finally got the nerve to ask her sisters whether they, too, has been abused by Eldon Marple. The subject came up as the women sat around their parents kitchen table during an 80th birthday celebration for their mother.
"Thats when all three of us said, 'yes.' I think Florine (Mickeys sister) mentioned that it did happen to her on the farm as well."
Other relatives who did not want to be identified told LOCAL 8 that Eldon Marple may have molested and/or attempted to molest at least nine in-laws and immediate family members when they were children. And, they say, the pattern of child abuse at the hands of Eldon Marple was a dark secret in the family.
Mickey never spoke of the alleged molestation to anybody besides her sisters. She did not undergo counseling and told LOCAL 8 she believes the emotional trauma may have played a role in destroying her marriage.
So, when Mickey heard about the murder trial of David Westerfield on her car radio, she wondered.
"My first reaction was could Eldon have had anything to do with this? That was my first reaction, sorry to say," she said.
After all, Mickey said, the Westerfield family spent vacations on Eldon Marples farm when David Westerfield was a child.
"It would not surprise me at all if you found out later on that every summer (the Westerfields) were in Wisconsin," said Mickey.
She also wondered whether Eldon Marple might have molested David Westerfield.
"Theres got to be something there in his past to have triggered something like this," she said. "A normal human being doesn't do something like this unless there been something to trigger it."
Mickey can not say for sure whether David Westerfield was abused by his grandfather. Her last recollection of David Westerfield was from the late 60s, when Mickey stayed at her in-laws Clairemont home shortly after the Westerfields moved to San Diego.
At the time of her visit, Mickey was 16 years old and David Westerfield was 17.
Mickey says she remembers David Westerfield as a polite, quiet teenager. She says the Westerfield family was not dysfunctional, although she recalls Westerfields father, David Horatio Westerfield, being quite strict.
"David, the father, Nans husband, was strict," she said. "The kids obeyed by certain rules and the lights always went out at a certain time. Of course, those are the types of things you remember when you are a child."
Mickey also recalled that Westerfields mother drank.
"She would sneak it all the time, for years," Mickey said. "She always sneaked a drink and at parties the (Marple) girls would drink more than they were supposed to. Nan was a secret drinker."
The jury that convicted David Westerfield of kidnapping and murdering Danielle van Dam never heard a word about the child molestation accusations against Eldon Marple, or the alleged alcohol abuse in the family.
In his penalty phase closing arguments, prosecutor Jeff Dusek reiterated what Westerfields sister had said on the stand about her brother.
"He was not raised around alcohol or drugs, or sexual abuse, or physical abuse," said Dusek. "He was not raised in a family where there were emotional or mental problems. He had it all."
Westerfields mother declined to be interviewed regarding the child molestation accusations against her father, Eldon Marple.
One of Westerfields aunts, Andi Marple Wittwer who testified in the penalty phase of the trial told us the allegations were false. Wittwer claims the accusations are coming from a spiteful side of the family.
Meanwhile, Mickey says she feels for the family, Westerfields mother and her children.
"I feel sorry for Nan. I cant imagine what shes thinking. If she even thinks that her father could have had anything to do with the way they (the Westerfield children) turned out."
As for Eldon Marple, Mickey says she feels nothing but anger and hurt.
"The man is dead," Mickey said. "Hopefully, he went to hell for it. Yeah, I suppose there is some anger there. Theres some hurt there, definitely some hurt."
Read more about David Westerfields grandfather, Eldon Marple: sawyercountyhist.org
To bvw, John Jamieson, FresnoDA and all the SaveDave team, I guess I won't need to be worried about accusing Westerfield of being an evil, disgusting child killer--it's a proven legal fact. But I sure wouldn't want to be one of those people so actively engaged on the internet of not just defending their daughter's killer, but in also accusing the child's parents of being her killers. I said before and I repeat: That was disgusting and vile.
There was a molester in my family. Unfortunately, no one came forward before he died. Sadly enough, there was some kind of criminal prosecution (he had to register as a sex offender). We never heard anything about it.
Registering as a sex offender only give the police some place to start looking. I don't think it protects anyone (unless or until the info is public anyway).
It sounds like we only know that Westerfield's grandfather molested girls. I "think" molesters don't tend to switch hit, but I'm not sure if that's something I've learned or read some where or if I'm just assuming.
Another armchair "psychologist" explains why nobody is responsible for their actions. I wonder what she thinks was in Adam's and Eve's "past" that "triggered" their disobedience.
"The pedophile is sexually aroused because the child is a child, regardless of the pedophile's sexual orientation, or the child's gender."
Personally I don't think Westerfield had to have been molested himself to become a pedo/killer
Here's an intriguing article arguing that in California, as things now stand, there is little difference between life without parole and the death penalty.
"Where Were You" when the world stopped turning that September day?~Alan Jackson
We will never forget.......
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