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Monday, August 22, 2005

The Serial Killer Across the Street

OK let me tell you a story that is all true.

I lived for 7 years in a beautiful neighborhood in San Diego.....one of those lovely new devolpments of white stucco houses with red tile roofs and backyards full of bougenvilla and palm trees.

It was a semi gated community and like everyone else we bought our house brand spankin new. People came from all over the world to work at Qualcomm, Intel, Cisco and Nokia and thought nothing of dropping 650k for a house in a neighborhood with its own elementary school, play ground and pristine well groomed bike paths. It had that Pleasantville feeling of affuent suburban happiness. It never rained, the people were rich and beautiful and the sidewalks were always full of roller skating, scootering, bike rideing children.

Across the street from me, and right there was a guy named David Westerfield. David sits on death row now for the murder of seven year old Danielle Van Dam. I knew him pretty well and he was a computer guy of some sort just like everything else. Only two things set him apart from the rest of us. He was divorced, and had grown kids, and he liked camping and had this enormous 500k Airstream moter home parked at his house.

I used to dislke the camper being there, it blocked the view of cars for my kids as they went across the street. It was a cul de sac and so I really didn't like to see this super huge camper there all the time and I used to complain to him about it in a joking way.

It was against the many rules of the community to have the thing there and had we moms wanted to we could have had it booted. But, we didn't. Thats has haunted alot of us.

OK so long story short, he used to take this thing 'camping' every weekend. He would go to Mexico he said, and to the beaches and deserts and stuff. He had this tow thingy he kept these off road things you drive in and it had a bumper sticker that said " SANDTOYZ" on it.

He was often in his driveway working on old cars, a porche and a souped up VW were two I remember.

The Dads on the block would check out what he was up to as the families walked to the playground next to his house every evening. THat was where we met Danielle, she was a nice little girl and lived two houses down from us with her Mom and Dad and two brothers.

When David came back from his 'camping trips' on Sunday night he would meticulously clean the RV. I mean it was weird. He would take out the rugs, the furniture and wash it all down with bleach and water. It used to take him a whole day. My youngest is full of mischief and when we would see him with the hose she would ask to hold it and want to squirt the RV. I never let her since I was afraid she would turn it on David! Thank God!

I wish to God I could tell you there was something that creeped me out about him but honest to goodness there wasn't one thing.

He had two nice kids he saw alot of, his house was really nice, he put a pool in and everything, it all seemed very normal to me. He was even nice, once when my husband was in Venezuala he helped me jump my van when my kid left the light on in the back.

I have nightmares about that sometimes.

He knew both my nice little girls by name.

We walked by his house every day. I gave a deposition in his trial. About the camper that is.

Anyhow, one night he snapped and went to the neighbors house when little Danielle was up in her bed. It was the middle of the night and everyone was asleep.

He took her out of her bed and brought her to the desert in the camper and killed her and left her body in this ditch.

They figured out it was him because they found traces of her blood in his house and a strand of her hair in the camper.

He had had a number of brushes with the law regarding kids and nothing ever happened.

They know for sure he killed that one kid and have been trying to get him to help solve a number of other cases but so far he isn't talking.

We moved a few mthes before this happened thankfully but it has made me very paranoid about some things like who my kids talk to and letting them go out alone and locking my doors at night.

He went and found his way to the house thru an unlocked garage. Lots of people left doors unlocked there, I know I did.

Now I lock up my house but good. And I check and check the doors are locked. Always.


15 Comments:

Blogger DIAMONDKT said...

The BTK killer seemed to be a "nice/normal" guy from the outside too. You just never know where evil may lurk! Sorry, I'm sure that doesn't make you feel better, but unfortunately it's true.

4:54 PM  
Blogger EXSENO said...

Yes and Bundy was a real charmer with the lady's.

That's a really scary thing tho to know that your children were living so close and exposed to someone like that and you never sespected. Very scary, Callie, I don't blame you for being parinoid. I would be too.

In fact I am anyway. My grandson belongs to the Boy Scouts and I hate it when he go's on trips with them anything can happen then it's to late I hate feeling that way too, but I was raised in CA and we were what you call street wise. Living in this small town, my kids and grandkids don't seem to have that instinct. Bothers me all the time.

5:13 PM  
Blogger callieischatty said...

yeah the BTK killer thing was a guy with a family and stuff too.

But Westerfield was very affluent and seemed to have this whole wonderful perfect life.

The truth of the matter is that psychopaths like him have the hightest level of EI or emotional intellegence of anyone in the general population.

They can read peoples feelings and reactions the best, and then prey on them.

5:48 PM  
Blogger callieischatty said...

So true Exseno and Dave.....Bundy was a ladies man, and the BTK guy was seemingly so together as well.

5:48 PM  
Blogger fsgsf said...

Hardly ever do murderers and child molesters look the part! We live in a sick world indeed! God help us!

peace!

NJ from NJ

7:42 PM  
Blogger callieischatty said...

Well this guy is on death row.

I am against the death penalty myself but I have to say this one gave me pause.

7:54 PM  
Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Your story is a good reminder that people are not always what they seem to be.

Remember Ted Kzenzeski, the brillant man, I believe coming from an ivy league school, tormented by terrible bouts of parinoid schizophrenia? And look at this BTK killer, a church goer, boyscout leader.

As someone who used to practice child abuse law, and represent many of these men, I learned to develop an eye towards picking them out, but for the most part, they seemed to be just like, your typical next door neighbor.

Thank God no other children were harmed by this man.

3:46 AM  
Blogger fsgsf said...

I guess the fact that I am not an upstanding , church going, boyscout leading citizen, also means that I aint a serial killer, rapist, or child molester! lol

I find the positive in everything!

Peace!

NJ from NJ

9:07 AM  
Blogger callieischatty said...

Yes Aaron I believe your lack of church attendance and boy scout leadind may well be a sign.

Barbara, actually the police believe that more children were in all probabilty harmed by Westerfield.

The fact that after returning from Mexico, or who knows where and cleaning his camper so thouroughly led them to believe there may have been others. In Mexico, well anything is possible.

And also, men of 50 don't just begin haveing a thing for little girls. This is a life long cycle.

The pattern is that some part of him wanted to stop and wanted to be caught and that may have prompted him to kill so close to home where the chance of discovery was far greater.

The thrill barameter has to always be raised for these kind of psycho people. I read about this after it came out and it did make sense.

As much as any of it makes sense. I don't think we ever will know what makes people do stuff like that. I wish we did and then we could have a better chance of stopping it.

10:04 AM  
Blogger mojoala said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:33 AM  
Blogger mojoala said...

I have blogged the fear associated with this.

10:47 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

Creepy! 8-\

12:14 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

You know Callie, I really do feel for you. When I first moved to the town I live in now, I had that same feeling of trust that you did. I left doors unlocked all the time, only made sure windows were close after we put the air conditioner on.

I've come to my senses now. Where I grew up, it was a small rural town, where everyone knows everyone else, their families living in that town for over 100 years. Outsiders were easy to spot, and neighbors watched out for the kids in the neighborhood. Any wierd activity made its way through the comunity like a fire through a papermill. The wierd members of the community were castigated, children were kept away from them, and they were kept at bay from the sublte idea that one assault against a child would be the last. Community watch had a different meaning back then...

Where I live now... my community is one left turn from a major state route. I am a 15 miniute drive from over 1,000,000 people. That is no exageration. People come and go so often that other than my immediate neighbors, I have no way of knowing who is who.

So, I've taken the additional steps to live more securely. Doors locked every night. 2 viscious dogs and a gun.

We dont allow our dogs to associate with the neighbors. Simply because we dont want them to have a false sense of security should any of them be the next BTK or Westerfield.

Better to be prepared than be a statistic.

I am very very very glad to hear that nothing happened to your family, and saddened for the family that lost their child. I hope that guy dies and goes straight to hell.

12:50 PM  
Blogger FutureWorldLeader said...

IT is always the ones you least expect.Terrible thing really.You would trust him to just be with your kids yet he snapped and killed someone elses.It is a good thing you moved cause I do beleive that the girls house was a few houses down from yours while your own was rite acros the street!

4:46 PM  
Blogger TheChurchMilitant said...

Thanks for noticing and commenting on my idiot blog.

My inane response to your comments may be found here:

http://thechurchmilitant.blogspot.com/2005/08/i-get-mail_25.html

As for Westerfield and others like him, I think they should be tortured until they reveal the locations of all their victims (known victims' families getting the first shots at them)and then publicly executed.

Civilized? No. But it may teach somepervert out there a lesson before it is too late.

10:22 AM  

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