Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

THE OTHER VAN DAM STORY(New article from San Diego will have V.D. PR machine will be in overdrive!)
San Diego Online ^ | May 1, 2002 | Thomas K. Arnold

Posted on 05/01/2002 4:03:29 PM PDT by FresnoDA

Front Pages

\Edited by Sarah Sabalos LaSpaluto
Wednesday, May 01, 2002

The Other Van Dam Story

—Thomas K. Arnold

Talk show host Rick Roberts made headlines with his KFMB-AM radio show about Damon and Brenda van Dam’s allegedly swinging lifestyle. But he wasn’t the only radio personality—or media outlet—to cast a critical eye on the backstory of the Danielle van Dam kidnapping case.

John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou, whose John and Ken Show airs weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m. on Los Angeles station KFI-AM, devoted three shows to the case, even traveling to San Diego to broadcast from the van Dams’ Sabre Springs neighborhood. The week before that, they were the first to cast aspersions on the van Dams, a full day before the Roberts broadcast.

The Millennium Children’s Fund had just announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Danielle. Fund administrator Douglas Pierce had visited with the van Dams, and the next day he called a press conference in Los Angeles at which he voiced suspicions about the couple’s behavior. For an hour, Pierce blasted the van Dams for their apparent lack of emotion and general rudeness to him.

“I don’t know how much was true and how much was hysterical, but that’s what made it fascinating. We tried to unravel it on the air,” Kobylt says. “In retrospect, I think he did peg their personalities very well—the lack of emotion, the detachment, the obsession with the media message—and perhaps he got the vibe that they live a different life than most people.”

As soon as Pierce finished on-air, John and Ken introduced their next guests: an angry Damon and Brenda van Dam, who lambasted Pierce as a nut case. “We had scheduled them in advance, but when they heard Doug was on the show, they canceled, only to change their minds right before show time,” Kobylt says.

After the interview, John and Ken picked apart the conversation and spoke critically about the van Dams’ lack of emotion and their defensiveness about questions pertaining to their own behavior and actions the last night Danielle was seen. The next day, the swinger story broke in The San Diego Union-Tribune—furthered that evening on San Diego radio by Rick Roberts.

“It’s a very dramatic story,” says Kobylt. “Everybody got obsessed with it pretty quickly... We have a pretty fair audience in San Diego—we’ve even made it into the top 10 on occasion—and we started getting calls from people who live in the neighborhood and know the van Dams. As a result, it might as well have been in L.A. I tend to look at the whole [Southern California] area as the same, anyway.”

(By press deadline, the van Dams could not be reached for comment by San Diego Magazine.)

While the van Dam case has been duly covered by most of the mainstream media, the Star tabloid stoked the flames of controversy with a front-page banner that screamed, “The new JonBenet—what Danielle’s mom and dad are hiding.” Inside was a two-page story headlined, “Tragedy of little Danielle—and the dark sex secrets her parents are trying to keep hidden.”

Quoting the proverbial unnamed sources “close to the probe,” the Star reported that later-arrested suspect David Westerfield “was aware of the van Dams’ sexual activities and had approached Brenda about hosting a sex-swap party in his house.” The Star said Brenda had admitted to police “that the couple belonged to a swingers’ club called Club CB” and that sources say she “flirted outrageously and danced with Westerfield” the Friday night Danielle disappeared. “He [Westerfield] knew that Brenda and her friends were sexually involved, and he wanted to be part of the action, but for whatever reason, he was not invited by Brenda to accompany her and her four friends back to her home that night for more partying and sex,” the Star says it was told by a source.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: starmagazine; swingers; vandam
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-6061-80 ... 301-320 next last

[John and Ken]


Carmen Genovese 02/26/02 15:43
Carmen has known David Westerfield, the accused kidnapper and killer of Danielle van Dam, for over 20 years. He claims that rather than being a brutal psychopathic murderous pedophile, David’s actually a sweet puppy dog (ACCUSED of being a brutal psychopathic murderous pedophile).
Robert Shapiro, Fmr OJ Attorney 02/25/02 13:07
Danielle van Dam’s neighbor, David Westerfield, was charged with her murder, even before her body was found. Former O.J. Attorney Robert Shapiro joined the show to explain how this could be done. Also, how could a guy with so much evidence against him possibly defend himself? Rob knows a thing or two about that sorta thing.
van Dam neighborhood 02/15/02 16:13
Excerpts from the live broadcast on the street where Danielle van Dam was abducted 2 weeks earlier. John is accosted by members of the Psychic Friends Network, David Westerfield leads undercover cops to fried chicken, then slams the door in John and Ken’s face. Neither Mr. Westerfield nor Mr. Kobylt were arrested over the course of the broadcast.
Brenda and Damon van Dam 02/07/02 11:05
Brenda and Damon van Dam join the John & Ken show via telephone to discuss their efforts to find their missing 7-year-old daughter.

1 posted on 05/01/2002 4:03:30 PM PDT by FresnoDA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: MizSterious;spectre;Amore;Travis McGee;BunnySlippers;Doughtyone;Hillary's Lovely Legs;Snow Bunny... guys have to read this post...
2 posted on 05/01/2002 4:04:07 PM PDT by FresnoDA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MizSterious
Choose Your Neighbors Well
By Heide Seward, Research Fellow

The tragic story of Danielle van Dam, the 7-year-old San Diego girl whose recent kidnapping and murder attracted international attention, in part because of the seemingly random nature of the abduction, may yet yield some lessons that can prevent similar heartbreaking occurrences in the future.

Danielle’s father, Damon van Dam, tucked her in bed on the night of February 1 and then went to bed himself. Her mother, Brenda, was out with several girlfriends and did not return home until 2 a.m. Her father woke up in the middle of the night to find a sliding door open downstairs, but returned to bed without checking Danielle’s room.

In recent days, further details of the police investigation of the case have emerged during a preliminary court hearing to establish whether prosecutors have sufficient evidence to continue holding in custody 50-year-old David Westerfield, neighbor of the van Dams. Mr. Westerfield quickly emerged as the chief suspect in the case, in large part because of his suspicious behavior in the days immediately following the child’s disappearance. He was arrested on February 22 and is being held for the kidnapping and murder of Danielle. Police have found evidence of Danielle’s blood and her fingerprints in Westerfield’s motor home. That isn’t all they found, however. A search of Westerfield’s residence yielded still more incriminating evidence. According to a March 13 article in the San Diego Union-Tribune, “Authorities… found computer images of child pornography, bestiality and animated cartoons of young girls being tied up and raped.” Add possession of child pornography to the list of charges against him.

Such details present a picture of a rather sleazy neighbor. If Mr. Westerfield is ultimately convicted in this case it will become still more difficult to preserve the fiction, argued strenuously as fact by some, that pornography is a victimless crime. While it is true that not all users of pornography will go so far as to kill someone, several high-profile murderers of recent decades—Ted Bundy comes to mind—were heavily involved in pornography. And, few people will defend child pornography, since it is clearly exploitative.

Another important lesson that this case can teach us about protecting children could easily be lost in the confusion surrounding the real nature of child abduction. The media often focus on abductions committed randomly by complete strangers, but in fact, only about one quarter of such cases involve a child being snatched by a stranger. According to 1997 statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, almost half of child abductions—49%—are committed by family members, mostly parents. Another 27% are committed by acquaintances. When it comes to violent crimes committed against juveniles, the vast majority—65%—are committed by acquaintances. The so-called “stranger danger” tends to be exaggerated.

Dr. Janice Crouse, BLI’s senior fellow, said, “This means that the choices parents make about who they and their children associate with can indeed make an enormous difference when it comes to protecting their children. The ancient admonition to choose your friends wisely remains good advice.” Tragically, the van Dams may have learned this lesson too late. In this particular case, if reports about their “swinger” lifestyle and their participating in wife-swapping are true—and they have not denied it—the case may serve as a cautionary tale for other parents about the real reasons for living “godly, upright and sober lives,” in the words of the Book of Common Prayer. Such clean living is not only physically healthier, it also tends to protect both parents and children in other significant ways.

3 posted on 05/01/2002 4:06:28 PM PDT by FresnoDA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: spectre

Danielle van Dam — Victim of "Alternative Lifestyles?"
by Chris Weinkopf | February 13, 2002

MAYBE, JUST MAYBE it was a total stranger who abducted seven-year-old Danielle van Dam from her San Diego home almost two weeks ago. Some thug could have picked her parents’ house at random and snuck in during the middle of the night, evading detection despite the home-security system. Somehow, the intruder could have found his way up to Danielle’s bedroom and removed her against her will—again, without being noticed.

Then again, maybe not.

The practical realities and crime statistics—less than 1 percent of the 800,000 children reported missing in the U.S. last year were abducted by someone unconnected to the family—suggest otherwise. Yet to judge by the initial coverage of Danielle’s disappearance on national TV, one would think her kidnapping had to be the exception to the rule.

The story, as first told on The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Early Show, Larry King Live, and America's Most Wanted, mirrored the account of Danielle’s parents, Brenda and Damon: Brenda was out partying that Friday night with friends at a San Diego nightspot. Damon put the kids to bed around 10. Brenda and her pals showed up around 2:30 and joined Damon for some pizza. The friends then left, and Brenda and Damon went to bed without first checking in on their daughter. They didn’t discover that she was missing until 9 a.m. Saturday morning.

As usual, the story behind the story has been available mostly outside the establishment media—on the Internet and talk radio.

Last Friday, San Diego talk-show host Rick Roberts presented his listeners with an alternative scenario for what might have happened. According to his "reliable" source "high in law enforcement," the van Dams are "swingers," and not in the dancing sense. They engage in "lots of wife-swapping," and reportedly did so in their garage the night Danielle disappeared. According to rumors circulating like mad on local talk shows and Internet bulletin boards, the van Dams lock their garage from the inside during their swingers’ parties to make sure Danielle and her two brothers don’t stumble in on the festivities.

That would explain why the van Dams might have failed to notice an intruder breaking into their home and walking off with their child. It also provides a motive for neighbor David Westerfield, the only suspect thus far identified by San Diego police. According to the rumors—which are, it should be noted, only that—Westerfield was a frustrated, would-be swinger who wanted to attend the van Dams’ soirees, but was denied admission for lack of a partner.

There’s more to the Westerfield angle: He saw Mrs. van Dam at the bar earlier in the evening, where, he claims, they danced (which she denies). He also high-tailed it out of San Diego and into the desert the next morning, which was enough to make police suspicious. So far, they have searched his home, where they found child pornography, and seized two of his vehicles, but they haven’t sought his arrest.

It’s easy to speculate by connecting the dots: At the nightclub, Westerfield might have learned about the orgy planned later in the evening. Mindful that Danielle’s parents would be distracted, he could have used the opportunity to sneak into their home and take her, thereby satisfying his perverted sexual appetites and exacting revenge against the van Dams for not including him in theirs.

It’s just a theory, and it’s rooted purely in conjecture, but it’s also the best lead available so far, which raises a worthwhile question: Why have so many in the press, the national TV media in particular, been reluctant to pursue it?

Surely it’s not just that the stories are unsubstantiated. That, after all, never kept the media from investigating claims of Nicole Brown Simpson’s drug use, the basis of O.J. defenders’ absurd charge that drug lords were "the real killer."

For their part, the van Dams have yet to deny the innuendos categorically. Asked about the alleged swinging on a San Diego TV station, Mrs. van Dam replied that "rumors are rumors," and "they have absolutely nothing to do with this investigation." Newsweek, one of few national media outlets that’s questioned the van Dams’ telling of events, quotes their spokeswoman, Sara Fraunces, as issuing the classic non-denial denial: The van Dams "do not lead a perfect lifestyle," she said, but that’s immaterial to the matter at hand.

Fraunces no doubt chose her words carefully. In the last 35 years, the term "lifestyle" has become not only the code word for any sort of sexual deviance, but also the quick way to claim a certain immunity from inconvenient questioning about it. This is the same logic Bill Clinton and his defenders used to rationalize perjury and lying to the American public, because it was "just about sex." For Gary Condit, it justified denying his affair to Washington police. His lifestyle took precedence over their duty to find Chandra Levy, dead or alive.

Like the "right to privacy" (a term invoked almost exclusively in sexual matters), the "lifestyle" claim is an appeal to the sexual revolution and its promise of an uninhibited sex life free of all responsibilities and moral judgment. It supersedes even laws, justice, or, in the case of Danielle van Dam and others, human life. To many of the reporters covering the van Dam story, the couple’s right to privacy similarly transcends the need for a complete and thorough investigation of their daughter’s disappearance.

But the couple’s "personal life" is a legitimate subject of inquiry, and not just for investigators. With their appeals to the press and calls for volunteers to help look for Danielle, the van Dams have made the investigation into their daughter’s kidnapping a very public affair. Privacy concerns should keep neither police nor reporters from pursuing all viable leads—certainly not when there’s a chance Danielle may still be alive.

It may be, as Mrs. van Dam claims, that Danielle’s abduction has nothing to do with her parents’ sexual predilections, but at this point, there’s no way for the van Dams to know that for sure. If they are lying about that Friday night’s events, then their credibility on all matters must be called into doubt. And even if they are telling the truth about that night, but they hosted sex parties in their home on others, that could yield a long list of potential suspects—people with unhealthy sexual behaviors who know the lay of the house.

The fetishization of "privacy" shouldn’t keep the van Dams from being forthright, or preclude the press from doing its job. The life of a little girl is at stake.

Hope for missing girl fading

Police say time elapsed with no news does not bode well

By Joe Hughes

February 13, 2002

San Diego police conceded yesterday that the odds of finding Danielle van Dam alive are diminishing and that an arrest in the case could be weeks away.

"We are not real hopeful on her condition," homicide Lt. Jim Duncan said.

Against that grim backdrop, searchers continued to scour areas around the Sabre Springs neighborhood where 7-year-old Danielle was reported missing 11 days ago.

Searchers combing a riverbed near Danielle's school, Creekside Elementary, found a blue backpack stuffed with old papers, a blue denim shirt and some underwear. They were collected in evidence bags by San Diego police.

Duncan, lead investigator on the case, said he had not been notified about the items. Asked about their potential significance, he said, "I would assume if somebody picked up something worthwhile to the investigation, I'd have heard about it."

Duncan said the investigation remains focused on David Westerfield, 49, a self-employed design engineer and a neighbor of the van Dams.

Westerfield has submitted a DNA sample for study, Duncan said. It has been sent to the FBI crime lab in Washington, D.C., and given the highest priority. Other evidence has been sent to a local crime lab.

Detectives brought in a bloodhound from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department yesterday to search Danielle's room for any sign Westerfield had been there. Police searched Westerfield's home and the girl's room with dogs last week.

Duncan said the bloodhound is better trained and has a more acute nose than dogs used previously. It has been used by the FBI in high-profile cases.

Danielle was last seen by her father, Damon van Dam, when he put her to bed about 10 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 1. Her mother, Brenda van Dam, returned home with friends in the early-morning hours of Feb. 2. The couple discovered their daughter missing at 9 a.m.

People who were in the van Dam home Friday and Saturday have been cleared, Duncan said.

"We have no other potential suspects," he told the media yesterday.

"Progress is slow," said Duncan. "We do not appear to be close to an arrest."

Much rests with the examination of forensic evidence, a painstaking task that can take time.

Duncan said some material was taken from the motor home Westerfield took to the desert the weekend Danielle disappeared, even though Westerfield cleaned it before it could be examined, Duncan said.

He also said there has been no confession in the case.

As investigators concentrate on Westerfield, Danielle's parents continue to be questioned about their private lives on radio and television.

In CNN's "Larry King Live" Monday, the van Dams refused to discuss what King called spousal swapping. They said the focus should be on finding Danielle.

An investigator said police looked at swinger Web sites early in the case. One has shut down since Danielle disappeared.

Yesterday, Duncan said the couple's "lifestyle is not our focus. That is not the direction we are going to go; we want to solve this case."

In another development, Don Blakstad, a retired San Diego phone company owner, said he would offer $100,000 for Danielle's safe return. Blakstad said he hasn't spoken with the van Dams or the police about the reward.

He said he thought more money might convince someone who knows something about the case to come forward.

His attorney, Charlie Becker, said Blakstad has money to back a $100,000 check.

The latest offer follows $75,000 in rewards announced Monday.

4 posted on 05/01/2002 4:08:45 PM PDT by FresnoDA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: FresnoDA
What bothers me now is their current involvement with the new missing child case in San Diego. They have no reason to be involved there and it's purely for media attention. This family will always bother me. Their lifestyle isn't questioned hard enough even though it lead to the daughter's abduction.
5 posted on 05/01/2002 4:10:39 PM PDT by BigBlueJon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: FresnoDA
I was a little shocked to see Mrs. Van Dam with Jahi Turner's parents.
6 posted on 05/01/2002 4:13:59 PM PDT by opinionator
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: FresnoDA
Ummm, what exactly is new in all the above posts. Sounds like the same info that was discussed here for the last couple of months.
7 posted on 05/01/2002 4:15:04 PM PDT by Diddle E. Squat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: BigBlueJon
What bothers me now is their current involvement with the new missing child case in San Diego. They have no reason to be involved there and it's purely for media attention. This family will always bother me. Their lifestyle isn't questioned hard enough even though it lead to the daughter's abduction.

You are correct Big John....the VD's and their PR machine believe (mistakenly) that the people of San Diego will by their Bravo Sierra caring routine...these people are deviants...bottom line....

The reason they are hanging around these people is strictly for fame...or then again, is it for another reason???

Tameka Jones, right, and her husband Tieray Jones, left, arrive at a news conference Tuesday, April 30, 2002, in San Diego to appeal for the safe return of Jones' son two-year old Jahi Turner. Police believe that Turner was abducted Thursday afternoon from Balboa Park after his stepfather briefly left him unattended. Tieray Jones told police he left the boy alone in a playground for about 15 minutes while he went to get a soda from a vending machine about 150 yards away. When he returned, the boy was gone. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)


8 posted on 05/01/2002 4:15:59 PM PDT by FresnoDA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

Amazing how Ken hasn't aged since he was on 'Bewitched'.
9 posted on 05/01/2002 4:16:35 PM PDT by Diddle E. Squat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Diddle E. Squat
True that it is nothing new to follower of the VD news...but it is the hardest hitting piece yet IMO by a mainline San Diego publication. Could mean that despite their best efforts, the VD's and their PR machine are stalling?? What do you think?
10 posted on 05/01/2002 4:18:30 PM PDT by FresnoDA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Diddle E. Squat

ALERT!!....standing behind the STEP DAD (second row, far left)....VD Public Relations Guru.....

Susan Wintersteen!!!!  As if Doves at the memorial were not enough...another PR stunt....


Tameka Jones, center, asks for the safe return of her two-year-old son, Jahi Turner, as her husband Tieray Jones, left, and Brenda van Dam, right, look on at news conference in San Diego, Tuesday, April 30, 2002. Police believe that Jahi Turner was abducted Thursday afternoon from Balboa Park when he was left unattended by the boy's step-father, Tieray Jones. Brenda van Dam is the mother of 7-year-old Danielle van Dam who was reported missing from her home in February and later found murdered. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
Brenda van Dam, the mother of murdered 7-year-old Danielle, fought back tears March 14, 2002 as she described the frantic search for her missing daughter, but was defiant when grilled about her party lifestyle. Van Dam (C),who testified at a preliminary hearing in the high-profile child abduction and murder case, is seen with husband Damon van Dam(L) and friend Susan Wintersteen during an news conference at their San Diego home on Feb. 22. Photo by Fred Greaves/Reuters

11 posted on 05/01/2002 4:19:01 PM PDT by FresnoDA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: FresnoDA
Yeah, that is creepy. Reminiscent of OJ proclaiming to be hunting for the 'real killer'. OTOH, even as deviant as this couple is, having had their world turned upside down could move one to behave in unusual ways.

I have made no conclusion on who and how many are guilty in the Westerfield/VD case.

12 posted on 05/01/2002 4:24:23 PM PDT by Diddle E. Squat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: cherry


Published on March 28, 2002

Are the van Dams Fit Parents?
By Robert Kumpel

The saturation of news about the lifestyles of Brenda and Damon van Dam has not been lost on North County residents. While few can think of any friends who use recreational drugs and "swing" with other couples, most seem to believe that the parents' admitted drug use and the Friday-night partying gives them a share of the culpability for their daughter's death.

Joe Bernstein of Escondido believes that the van Dams' social life was possibly a factor in their daughter's kidnapping. "I've read and heard that they've had extracurricular activities as a couple. It could have been a situation of her turning down offers from the gentleman [David Westerfield] in question. There could have been some jealousy. It's possible, it's probable. I don't know anyone who takes recreational drugs or is involved in swinging. I think Child Protective Services should investigate them. They were probably too busy taking care of their own particular 'joys of life' to check on their kids that night. I think they'll probably find Westerfield guilty."

photoAnother Escondido resident, Brenda Deal, immediately thinks of one thing when the van Dams are mentioned. "They're partiers. I probably know two people who use recreational drugs and zero who are swingers. Their partying definitely had something to do with Danielle's disappearance. When I'm at home at night, my child is in the same house as me. I check up on her, and I would not even think to go out and lock myself in the garage and do that kind of stuff without checking on my daughter. I don't think they are unfit parents, but I think they should change a little of their priorities. Honestly, I think they didn't check on their kids that night. Their only daughter was taken from them forever, and I would rather be dead than have that happen to me."

Amanda Arendt of Fallbrook finds the van Dams' social life "pretty controversial." "I feel really sorry for the parents, but at the same time I question their lifestyle. Personally, I couldn't do that to my kids. None of the people I know take recreational drugs or 'swing.' I'm sure that anything that influences your state of mind can lead to any act. If anybody you had a grudge against, or if there's, you know, any false doings against anybody else, there's just...I'm sure they'd want to take it out on them somehow. Children are a target that's close to home. I wouldn't investigate their fitness as parents, though. They're entitled to do what they want. Children go missing every day, and Child Protective Services doesn't investigate those parents. I have no idea why they didn't check on their children that night. Personally, I think it was stupidity. I would be kissing and hugging my daughter every night before I went to bed. Different people raise their kids different. I think a lot's going to come out in this trial -- a lot that the parents don't want to come out."

Bill Schlote has heard plenty about the case even though he lives in Sierra Madre. "I understand that she goes out on her own with some friends, apparently, but he stays at home with the kids. I don't know of anybody who uses recreational drugs, and I don't know anybody who's into swinging either. It's a possibility that their partying had something to do with the kidnapping. She apparently had seen their next-door neighbor, who allegedly committed this crime, numerous times. As far as investigating them as parents -- I think it's a little late for that. I don't know if everybody checks their children. Normally, when they tuck the children away, they probably get up once or twice a night to check on them, but that's kind of hard to say. Who really knows? You think you're in a safe neighborhood, and they apparently thought they were. It's difficult to say what's going to happen. The justice system has a lot of attorneys who do plea-bargaining, and too many people who get off of their crimes because of plea bargaining. They make a mockery of the system."

Angela Rhodes of Ramona has followed the case closely and has talked about it with her friends. "I've heard from a couple of different people. I heard [a] police officer...[who] was much more in depth than what was on the news. It's second-hand, and I don't want to repeat anything. But I expected a lot more to come out at the pretrial. I listened to quite a bit of it on the radio, and they just touched on [their lifestyle] compared to what I heard the officer had said. What I heard on the radio wasn't as much as the officer had said either.

"Personally, I have really mixed feelings. I'm pretty conservative, but people can do their own thing. I was surprised about the drugs. I can just see the type of women dancing together in the bar -- dancing together is one thing, but being as risqué as they would disgust me if I saw them dancing in a bar. I know one person who I work with who is involved in swinging. But that's all I know. Based on what I heard from the pretrial stuff, they didn't even know Westerfield. He apparently seemed surprised that the dad was even home, because she had originally told him that the dad had taken the son. If he had been one of their partners or more involved in their life, then I would think the parents' lifestyle was a little to blame, but no, I don't believe so.

"As far as what I've heard of her as a mother, I think she sounds fine. Their son is getting a little older, so if they want to smoke pot in the garage, their son is going to understand that something funny is going on. If their children are unaware of the sexual things, that's okay, but if there are drugs and other things around the children, that's different. But it sounds as if it was not around the children. It also sounded like they didn't smoke pot that often in their garage. If my husband is home with my kids, I don't check them before I go to bed. Everyone is totally all over them for not checking on their kids, but their dad is their parent too, and he's just as responsible as the mother. If I have a baby-sitter, I go check on my kids. But if my husband's home, I don't necessarily go check on them unless there's a reason, like if they were sick. I certainly think they have the right person and I certainly know, O.J. got off, and it was shocking and amazing, so nothing would surprise me."

Leana Navarrete of Escondido has read a lot of Internet bulletin boards discussing the van Dam case. "I've read a lot of people condemning them, saying they are swingers, and I've read a lot of people defending them, saying they aren't. All I know are rumors. The only facts I've heard is that this lady Barbara came in and jumped on his bed and was kissing him. So I assume that if he was okay with that, then I would assume that he is okay with being with other women. Personally, I know one or two people who use drugs recreationally, but none that I would consider amoral people. I don't know anyone who is a swinger. I think their lifestyle had a direct effect on her disappearance, but I believe it had a direct effect on how well they watched their children. I think that if the person who committed the crime knew of this lifestyle, he may have known that they would not be around to protect their children at that time. If the person who committed the crime knew about it, it might have effected him pulling it off. I don't think the parents need to be investigated by Child Protective Services. I've seen worse situations where people have literally beaten up their children and not been investigated. I think that they were good parents. They were involved in the kids' sports, Brownies, Girl Scouts, you know, all that stuff. I think they were suitable parents. I assume Damon didn't check his kids because he had put them to bed and saw that they were in bed, and Brenda trusts her husband, so she didn't feel the need to check. The father should be just as responsible for them as the mother is. I think, according to the DNA evidence, that Westerfield's attorneys have a really hard job to prove that he didn't do it. It's really incriminating evidence."

Chris, who did not want her last name published, lives in Rancho Peñasquitos, right across the 15 freeway from Sabre Springs. "Sure, I've read that they were swingers and all those things." She reports the number of people she knows who use recreational drugs or engage in swinging as "zero." While she is aware of their lifestyle, Chris says that it had no effect on the disappearance of their daughter. "From the way it was described, it points to the fact that they kept it a very separate issue from their parenting. Based on what I know, I wouldn't report them as unfit parents. But I have no idea why they didn't check their children before going to bed that night. I thought that was extremely bizarre. I think he's [Westerfield] going to be found guilty. There's enough evidence."

Raylene Kaaisubish from Pauma Valley has a contradictory take on the van Dams. "They were pretty good parents from my point of view. They took care of their children, and they love their kids. You're talking to somebody who knows a lot of people who do recreational drugs, but nobody that I know of is into swinging. But their partying had something to do with her disappearance. If they weren't doing what they were doing that night, she wouldn't have been kidnapped. I think they should just let them grieve. I mean, they lost their daughter. They were probably tired, and their dad tucked them in, so that's probably why they didn't check on their kids. Somebody -- David Westerfield -- is going to be convicted."

Rick Hanson of Escondido says he's read a lot of rumors about the van Dams. "Specifically, they were swingers. Personally, I know of no one who uses recreational drugs or is involved in swinging. I think their lifestyle had something to do with it. For one thing, they weren't paying very good attention to their children. The other thing is, people who get involved in that sort of thing aren't exactly normal, and their friends aren't either. I think they should be investigated by Child Protective Services. Frankly, from what she testified, it wasn't normal what was going on in her house that night. They were under the influence of something, and, frankly, it doesn't sound like they were too interested in checking on their kids. I think Westerfield is involved, and I think there will be more coming out about the parents."

John Walsh, 20, of Escondido has heard similar rumors about the van Dams' lifestyle. "I heard they like to party. The mom smokes pot. They were swingers. Nothing too credible. I know quite a few people who use recreational drugs, but I haven't met any swingers yet. From what I heard, the next-door neighbor was jealous because he didn't have a partner for the swinging. I think that had a part in it, because he got jealous because he didn't have a wife. He got angry at them and, I guess, took it to the next level and kidnapped their daughter. I agree totally that Child Protective Services should investigate them. Since this first started, I think they've had something to do with it or were doing something wrong, because Mrs. van Dam didn't show very many emotions when the case first came around. It seemed like the neighbors were more involved in her disappearance than the mother was. They probably didn't check on their children that night because they were wasted. They're not really great parents. I hope that the neighbor who committed this serves life or death, and the parents should be investigated. They hold some responsibility for what happened to their own daughter."

Valencia Facchini of Scripps Ranch says that all she knows about the van Dams' lifestyle is rumors. "Just that they were swingers. I probably know about six or eight people into recreational drugs. I know two people who are into swinging. I don't think their lifestyle had anything to do with the kidnapping, though. I feel she really loved her daughter, and I don't think she would have exposed her daughter to that. Maybe they should be investigated as parents. But the father put the kids to bed and they were buzzed, and the kids were already in bed. I think something's going to come out of it -- I think the mom knows David Westerfield better than she's saying. I don't know if she's having an affair with him or not, but I think he's going to be convicted."

Valencia's husband, Luca Facchini, moved to San Diego from Italy ten years ago. The news reports and rumors have only fueled his cynicism. "I've heard different things, but I don't believe anything, honestly. If there is no proof, there is nothing to say. I know about 50 people who use recreational drugs and maybe 5 involved in swinging. I don't think that had anything to do with the disappearance of Danielle. They seem like good parents to me. They probably didn't check their kids that night, just out of routine. They shouldn't check every five minutes, you know. If they went to bed, they went to bed. The mother was at the bar and left the responsibility to the father. I think there will be a trial, and Westerfield is in big trouble. We can speculate all day long, but without proof, you don't know."

Nick, 22, a Carmel Mountain Ranch resident, is quite critical about the van Dam family. "I know quite a few people who use drugs, but I don't know anyone involved in swinging. But their social life absolutely had something to do with the tragedy. In their neighborhood, with the type of activity they had in their house, who knows what type of influences or other types of things were going on in that house? It all stems from that type of behavior. They should absolutely be investigated. You don't lose your kid at that hour of the night, and you don't have those types of things going on in a house where there are children. Who really knows why they didn't check their kids? If she were my daughter, I would make sure she was in bed and tucked away. That tells me that Mrs. van Dam wasn't a very good parent. I think that enough exposure to the incident and the investigation to their private life will shed some light with what's going on with that family and what's going on with America today."

Nick's friend Jenna, 17, is visiting from Oceanside. Although a bit less clear on the details, she still has an opinion. "I haven't really read that much, but I guess...I don't know. I know a lot of people who use drugs. I know a few who are into swinging but not very many. Their lifestyle definitely had something to do with the case. If you're into those kinds of things, it's going to influence the other parts of your life, including family life. I'm not really sure if they're unfit parents, but if somebody can enter the house and take their child without them noticing, that's pretty messed up. It just shows they're not paying attention too much. They're more involved in their own things. There could have been a number of reasons why they didn't check on their kids. They could have been busy doing whatever. I don't know. I heard something about the neighbor, and I truthfully think he had something to do with it, because I read that this guy was kind of crazy, and he was involved in weird things like child pornography."

Corinne Slawinski, 27, lives in Temecula and works in Carmel Mountain Ranch. "I used to know a lot of people who used drugs -- in my youth, but not anymore! I don't know anyone involved in swinging -- especially of that age! I think that the mere fact that when the alarm went off or when their door was open, they thought it was just a friend going out at whatever time of the morning, instead of checking on their might have had something to do with it. I don't think that being a swinger means that you are a horrible parent. I think you need to keep it away from your kids. Assuming that people are coming and going in and out of your house at all hours of the night and not thinking to check on your child... I think that would have something to do with it -- not necessarily their sexual escapades. I couldn't care less about that. I think maybe Child Protective Services should look into it just a little bit more. I've been asking myself over and over again why they didn't check on her before they went to bed, and I feel very badly because a child was killed. I never, ever want to say that it's the parents' negligence because I'm a parent myself. I have a three-year-old. But they may or may not have been partying too much or just not paying attention. I think that Westerfield is going to get convicted, but I don't think he'll get the death penalty."

Slawinski's friend, Gina Mangiameli, 20, also lives in Temecula, though she grew up in Rancho Bernardo. "I've only heard the negative things about the van Dams. At first, everyone was kind of bleeding heart, because it was parents who lost their child. Then as the case was delved into deeper, I heard about a lot of shady, underground things going on. I work in a group home, and a lot of the kids I work with are in rehab programs. But in my personal life, I don't know anyone who uses drugs. And swinging? No one. I don't think any of that directly had anything to do with their daughter's kidnapping, but I think it had to do with their level of awareness of where their daughter was at the time. I'm studying the area of parenting, children, and social services at Palomar College, so this hits a little close to home. I think that any chance where a child's life is endangered for whatever reason, whether it's sexual activity or drug use, should be investigated. I've been asking myself a lot about why they didn't check their kids before they went to bed. It could have been drug use...I really wouldn't know. I babysit for her [Slawinski's] three-year-old a lot, and I check him even when he's taking a nap an average of three or four times. It just makes me wonder. I think that because it's been so widely publicized that Westerfield is probably going to get the death penalty, although a lot of cases like this go in unexpected directions."

13 posted on 05/01/2002 4:38:07 PM PDT by FresnoDA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: FresnoDA
Interesting how ill informed these people are. Notice there is no mention of the habit BVD had of leaving her young children unsupervised, which is NOT a rumor but a fact. It makes me ill how anxious everyone is to be "tolerant" of disgusting deviancy, and how nobody expects parents to be RESPONSIBLE for the well being of their children. This wasn't a case like the Klaas case, where the mother did nothing wrong, this is a case of the shepherd either leaving the gate open and allowing the wolf in, or killing his lamb himself.
14 posted on 05/01/2002 5:16:20 PM PDT by Politicalmom
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: FresnoDA
Hi, Fres ... looks like you've got the story under control. ;)
15 posted on 05/01/2002 5:41:24 PM PDT by BunnySlippers
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: FresnoDA, HoHoeHeaux, fivecatsandadog, wonders, mommya, Hildy, vacrn, tutstar, ThinkingMan, RnMom
Very sad.... I wonder why the rest of the adults who spent so much more time then pierce hasn't come out lambasting them like the pierce? Now hold on, don't tell me everyone around them are swingers too! I won't believe it!!
16 posted on 05/01/2002 6:00:46 PM PDT by Freedom2specul8
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: FresnoDA
I just found your fit parents reading now. Maybe, just maybe....all the attention towards the parents alleged swinging behaviour is distracting from DW? What say ye? Now, back to reading the article?
17 posted on 05/01/2002 6:02:44 PM PDT by Freedom2specul8
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: FresnoDA
The unfit parents article was interesting...all of that was based on john and ken's show and rick roberts?
18 posted on 05/01/2002 6:11:03 PM PDT by Freedom2specul8
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

Comment #19 Removed by Moderator

To: FresnoDA
From the other ya think this is bogus?

. A search of Westerfield’s residence yielded still more incriminating evidence. According to a March 13 article in the San Diego Union-Tribune, “Authorities… found computer images of child pornography, bestiality and animated cartoons of young girls being tied up and raped.” Add possession of child pornography to the list of charges against him. Such details present a picture of a rather sleazy neighbor. If Mr. Westerfield is ultimately convicted in this case it will become still more difficult to preserve the fiction, argued strenuously as fact by some, that pornography is a victimless crime. While it is true that not all users of pornography will go so far as to kill someone, several high-profile murderers of recent decades—Ted Bundy comes to mind—were heavily involved in pornography. (bogus??) And, few people will defend child pornography, since it is clearly exploitative.

20 posted on 05/01/2002 6:13:58 PM PDT by Freedom2specul8
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-6061-80 ... 301-320 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson