In reply to Frisina’s post “Danielle van Dam” on March 12, 2002:

Danielle wasn’t abducted late in February 2002, but at the beginning, as can be seen from the timeline at the bottom of that post.

Her body didn’t turn up some two weeks later, but almost four weeks, again as can be seen from the timeline.

Her blood wasn’t found in Westerfield’s residence: one drop was said to have been found in his motor home (it wasn’t properly documented), again as can be seen from the timeline. Also, there was one small stain which was said to be on his jacket at the dry-cleaners (it wasn’t seen by the dry-cleaners).

He was accused of possessing child pornography, but wasn’t charged under a child porn statute.

Although the trial hadn’t even begun, and Westerfield had pleaded “not guilty”, you wanted to kill him. How can we trust jury verdicts when people are so ready to presume guilt?

Her body wasn’t found in the desert, it was merely a rural area (and wasn’t on his route).

The police had already questioned him extensively on the 4th.

Both of his vehicles (car and motor home) were impounded on the 5th: his car was later returned to him.

I’m not aware of Danielle’s parents being taken to the desert by the police (or anyone else), whether on the 7th or any other day. However, Danielle’s father did go to the desert in the middle of the month, but that was without the police, and in fact was against police advice. (Interestingly, he passed within a short distance of the body dump site, and did so at about the time the body was dumped there if the entomology evidence is correct.)

I’m also not aware of any claims Westerfield had been camping in the desert on the night of her disappearance, in fact that’s contrary to what he said and is not consistent with trial testimony either. But if it were true, then he couldn’t have kidnapped her, as the desert is well over 100 miles away. This is perhaps a reference to the discredited claim by the tow truck driver that he pulled Westerfield’s motor home out of the desert sand on the Saturday (it was actually the Sunday).

He was the prime suspect from the 4th, as evidenced by the fact that the police got a search warrant for his premises that very night, and placed him under 24 hour surveillance at the same time.

Similarly, they had already seized items from his home on the 5th.

He was a collector of adult porn. Among his images were a few that were “questionable”: maybe they were child porn and maybe they weren’t. Some members of law enforcement declared they weren’t, but the judge wouldn’t allow the jury to hear that.

He hasn’t been linked to any other disappearances.

It was closet doors that the police took from Danielle’s room. They did find unknown fingerprints in her home, but once they had determined that these didn’t come from their only suspect, they apparently made no further attempt to identify them (so maybe they came from a known sex offender).

64,000 is the total number of images of all types on his computers, including those images which were part of the Windows operating system and other programs (such as Word and Excel). Nudes comprised about 8,000 to 10,000 of these. 2,200 was the total number of videos (these were apparently all just clips). The number of nude or porn videos wasn’t given. About 85 of the still images, and 39 of the movies, were considered “questionable”. Most of the images were of adult women. The number of teens wasn’t given, but remember that porn featuring 18-year-olds is legal. Even if some were under 18, remember that Danielle was just 7, so that effectively removes porn as the motive for the kidnapping and murder. We weren’t told the number which clearly involved minors, but remember that images of minors, even unclothed minors, are not necessarily porn: pictures of Danielle’s first bath were shown in court, and she was presumably nude at the time, but no one claimed that these were child porn. “Questionable” means that either the images were porn and the girl featured may have been under 18 (or may not have been); or the girl was under 18 and the images may be considered suggestive (or may not be). So this was highly subjective. The images shown in court as evidence of child porn included ones of a teenage girl sunbathing in a bikini, photos which were apparently taken by her mother who denied they were pornographic - they were just ordinary family photos.

What we can conclude from all the above is that none of the images were clearly child porn, otherwise he’d have been arrested on the 5th, he would have been charged under a child porn statute, and no members of law enforcement would have declared the images to not be child porn.

We now know that no evidence was found that Westerfield had ever been in Danielle’s house or at the body dump site, and the entomology (insect) evidence excluded him as did the dog scent evidence. The small amount of evidence of her found in his environment can easily be innocently explained by them being neighbors and having visited him recently. So it is extremely unlikely that he was guilty of the crimes.

You can find confirmation of most of the above facts in the book on the case, Rush to Judgement, also the Wikipedia article on David Westerfield.