Skip to comments.Missing Girl's Neighbor Again Probed
Posted on 02/14/2002 7:10:24 AM PST by MizSterious
Missing Girl's Neighbor Again Probed
Thu Feb 14, 7:45 AM ET
SAN DIEGO - Nearly two weeks after a 7-year-old girl disappeared, police again searched the home of a neighbor they have called a potential suspect in the case.
Detectives, who spent more than five hours at the home of David Westerfield on Wednesday night, carried out several boxes and other items but declined to say if they had uncovered anything important.
Westerfield, who lives two doors down from the van Dam family, has had his home searched several times and has given authorities a DNA sample that was sent to an FBI (news - web sites) crime lab for analysis. Police have also seized the 49-year-old self-employed engineer's motor home.
Danielle van Dam was last seen Feb. 1 when her father put her to bed in the family's home 20 miles north of downtown. No one has been arrested in the case and police said as recently as Tuesday that their case was progressing slowly.
The girl's parents said they would hold a news conference Thursday in front of their home. They have offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to their daughter's safe return.
On Tuesday, investigators used a bloodhound to search the van Dam home, saying they hoped the dog might be able to turn up any clues they had missed in previous searches. They have not said if they found anything.
Marc Klaas, who became an advocate for missing children after his daughter was murdered in 1993, met with the van Dam family Wednesday to "help them deal with this a little bit," he said.
"I can emotionally give them support and tell them what to expect," Klaas told reporters after meeting with Danielle's parents.
Klaas's 12-year-old daughter, Polly, was abducted from her home in Petaluma during a slumber party. Her body was found 65 days later. Richard Allen Davis was later convicted and sentenced to death for the crime.
RICK ROBERTS SOURCE, HIGH-PLACED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL TOLD RICK
The comments of Rick Roberts source (a high placed law enforcement official) are in bold type. Additional information from other sources (press, etc.) are in italics.
David Westerfield has been quoted in the press as saying that he was a friend of the van Dams.
The van Dams have denied this, stating that their only contact with him was when Brenda and Danielle came to his home to sell girl scout cookies, and when they exchanged greeting as they passed by.
The bar has been identified in the press as "Dads Café and Steak House."
David Westerfield openly admitted that he was at the bar that night. He claims that he danced with Brenda van Dam. Brenda denies this.
According to the Union Trib., David Westerfield left the Sabre Springs neighborhood in his RV on Saturday morning. He went first to a campground at the Silver Strand. There, he paid to stay for two nights. However, he deposited the wrong amount of money in the camp fee deposit box (he paid an amount equal to 4 nights, not 2). Some time after noon, a park ranger came to his RV to give Westerfield a refund. Approximately 20 minutes after being visited by the ranger, Westerfield left the campground and headed to the desert. He is reported to have told police that he left because "he didn't know anybody down there. He decided to go to the desert where his friends were." SDUT 2/8/02
Sometime over the weekend, Westerfield went to the desert (south of Glamis, a mile and a half south of state Route 78) and drove his RV into deep sand. His vehicle was towed by Dan Conklin, a towing service owner, who claimed that Westerfield was in such a hurry to leave after his vehicle was freed that he refused to go back an get something he had left behind. 2/8/02
Westerfield has been repeatedly questioned by police.
His home has been repeatedly searched.
The SD Union-Trib reported that Westerfield retained criminal defense attorney Steven Feldman on Thursday, February 7, 2002.
Police impounded Westerfields SUV and RV. While the SUV has been returned to him, the police retain custody of Westerfields RV.
Walsh also said that the parents have been completely cooperative with the investigation from the beginning (as opposed to Ramsey, Smith). They have admitted to going to the bar and have passed lie detector tests.
What a horrible ordeal. I hope the investigations bring the truth out quickly. The neighbor has a lawyer who has told him to keep quiet and so it seems unlikely.
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