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Danielle Van Dam
Transcript of Danielle Van Dam
Danielle Van Dam Case
Danielle Van Dam was a seven year old girl from the Sabre Springs neighborhood of San Diego, California, who disappeared from her bedroom during the night of February 1–2, 2002. Her body was found by searchers on February 27 in a remote area. Police suspected a neighbor, David Alan Westerfield. He was arrested, tried, and convicted of kidnapping and first-degree murder. He was sentenced to death and is currently incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison.
Feldman argued that no evidence of Westerfield was found in the van Dam residence or at the body dump site, and that a foreign hair found under Danielle’s body was not his. In defense, Dusek argued that it is plausible for an intruder to enter a home without leaving trace evidence, especially if he is taking appropriate precautions.Conversely, Dusek argued, the nature and volume of Danielle's trace evidence in Westerfield's home and motor home, and on his jacket, allows no reasonable explanation other than guilt.
The forensic evidence presented by the prosecution included Danielle's blood stains on Westerfield's jacket and on the floor of his motor home, Danielle's fingerprints in the motor home, hairs from the van Dam family dog on Westerfield's motor home bed comforter, hairs consistent with Danielle's on the sheet of his bed, and matching acrylic fibers found on Danielle's body and in Westerfield's home, among other evidence
Law enforcement officials called in forensic entomologist David Faulker to study the signs of insect infestation on the body to try to gauge when Danielle had died.
But lead defense attorney Steven Feldman argued in his opening statement that scientific evidence would prove his client could not have killed Danielle. As it turned out, the prosecution never called Faulker to the stand and he was called by Feldman as a defense witness.
Early in the trial, San Diego County Medical Examiner Brian Blackbourne testified that the girl could have been dead from 10 days to six weeks when her body was found.
Faulkner testified July 10 that his analysis of the life cycles of the insects found on Danielle's body showed it wasn't available to insects until sometime between Feb. 16 and 18.