Brenda and Damon van Dam, both from south Florida, married 13 years ago. Danielle was born in Texas, and the family lived in a suburb of Dallas while she was a baby. They moved to Arizona and stayed less than a year before Damon van Dam found a new job in California.
Brenda, a stay-at-home mother, was the "cookie mom" for Danielle's Brownie troop and volunteers regularly in her children's classrooms.
"She loved for me to be there," Brenda van Dam said.
The mother and daughter are very close, said Call, the family friend. Brenda van Dam, who has referred to Danielle as her "best friend," often took her daughter with her to appointments at a beauty salon, and Danielle would sit in a massaging chair while her mother got manicures. Last year, she took Danielle to get her nails painted and her hair styled for a father-daughter dance at her elementary school. Yesterday, her mother hung ribbons at a park near their home to keep Danielle in people's minds.
Damon van Dam, the son of two teachers, spent the past nine months working as a contractor for Qualcomm. Before that, he worked for Nuera, a high-tech company in Sorrento Valley.
Damon travels regularly for business, and the family was planning to accompany him Feb. 11 on a two-week trip to Italy. Danielle was excited about the trip, her parents said.
$400,000 dollar house, Brenda VD is a "stay-home-mom" I agree with your quary, WHERE DO THESE FOLKS GET THEIR MONEY??? Damon VD seems to be quite the job hopper? In California, being a contractor is code-word for being Unemployed in the high tech community!!!
Very interesting...........is there money to be made in SWNGING??? If so, can't be that much???
|Van Dam case is an example of how privacy goes public
February 7, 2002
Twice I've driven to the van Dam house, deep in the hyperventilating heart of Sabre Springs.
I wasn't expecting to learn much from this suburban crime scene.
The street where Danielle van Dam played is hardly an architectural or sociological enigma in this neck of the county.
It's your typical high-end, two-story tract housing on the southern end of what a decade ago was hopefully dubbed the "Diamond Gateway."
Back in the pioneer days of the early '90s, the sales pitch was for Rancho Peñasquitos, Carmel Mountain Ranch and Sabre Springs to serve as the northern entrance to San Diego.
From an aerial view, the three neighborhoods formed a rough diamond with Interstate 15 dividing its length.
North County's answer to the Golden Triangle, if you will.
Well, the concept of three united neighborhoods never caught on.
Over the course of the last decade, the master-planned communities at the northern end of the I-15 car-pool lanes evolved largely on their own.
In a word, they cocooned.
They turned inward to nurture and school the above-average children of their prosperous young families.
No, Sabre Springs, landscaped with half-grown trees that make the meticulously maintained houses look larger than they are, wasn't going to yield easy answers to a child's mysterious disappearance.
What, beyond the basic pathos, was to be learned from the purple (Danielle's favorite color) ribbons hanging from those trees on the road from the elementary school to Danielle's house?
These kinds of fluttering ornaments have become communal reflexes, it seems. With each passing day, the purple ribbons dry out and fray a little more in the Santa Ana winds.
And what was to be learned from the dozen or so media trucks with their satellite dishes on giraffe-like necks? Or the massive police command vehicle or the four-member crisis counseling team, huddled as if over a game of bridge?
And what was to be learned from watchful media colleagues, armed with cameras and notebooks, aching to report breathless news to the waiting world?
What I ended up taking home was a simple image of what Danielle's block looked like to her.
How large and how safe it must have seemed to her blue eyes.
Like a new movie set with her a budding star.
Now that her sweet French name has become a household name, the facade of her little life is under a sort of siege.
Maybe like you, I've been listening to the radio talk shows, possible harbingers of what's to come after Danielle's fate is known.
Some voices criticized the late 10:30 p.m. bedtime for the 7-year-old. (I had the same thought, I confess.)
Others pointed at the partying until as late as 3 a.m.
Others the apparent failure to monitor the security system.
Those domestic details, normally the business of no one, are in the background as the police search for Danielle and her abductor.
In the Stephanie Crowe case, an unsolved Escondido homicide also involving a sleeping girl in her own bedroom, the whole Crowe family was subjected to trial in the court of public opinion.
When the stakes are terribly high, the standards of a family's privacy can be terribly low.
Driving down Danielle's street in Sabre Springs, you can imagine young families living happily inside their handsome homes.
As Pete Seeger might sing, "Big boxes all the same."
But when something like Danielle's disappearance occurs, the front doors get blown off.
Fairly or not, the whole world watches the stricken family's every move.