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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Danielle Van Dam's Mother Testifies

Aired March 14, 2002 - 12:24   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: We have been keeping an eye on a courtroom in San Diego, California. The mother of Danielle van Dam, the 7-year-old who turned up missing several weeks ago. The mother now is on the stand. This all has do with the preliminary hearing surrounding the charging of David Westerfield with murder.

Investigators, earlier in the week, had testified that fingerprints from Danielle were found in David Westerfield's motor home, and with Danielle van Dam's mother on the stand, we will take you there live now in San Diego.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

BRENDA VAN DAM, MOTHER OF VICTIM: My husband was home with them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry, say that again please.

VAN DAM: My husband was home with them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Can you recall about what time you headed out for Dad's (ph)?

VAN DAM: This is the weekend before Danielle was missing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

VAN DAM: We headed out to Dad's approximately between 9:00 and 9:30.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the evening?

VAN DAM: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And whose vehicle, if you can remember.

VAN DAM: Mine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The three girls went in the one car?

VAN DAM: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you to meet up with anybody at Dad's?

VAN DAM: No. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was supposed to happen down there at Dad's?

VAN DAM: We were just supposed to be together as friends and have a good time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your honor, I'm sorry. I'm having trouble hearing...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay. I understand. It's difficult.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you try to keep your voice up a little bit and we are going to try to adjust this speaker. You weren't here to hear, but this is not my normal department, so I'm not as familiar with the knobs as I would be, so it'll take me a second, but let me try. I think I did it. Say something in there, please.

VAN DAM: Testing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How's that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you estimate for us how long you stayed at Dad's that first occasion?

VAN DAM: Until closing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which is?

VAN DAM: Approximately 2:00.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did do you down there?

VAN DAM: We had drinks, and we danced.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who's we?

VAN DAM: Denise, and Barb, and I.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Together?

VAN DAM: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you dance with any guys?

VAN DAM: I don't remember.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know if Mr. Westerfield was there that evening.

VAN DAM: Yes, he was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you know he was there?

VAN DAM: He bought us a drink. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When did that take place, in the sequence of events, if you can tell us? Early, middle, late...

VAN DAM: Early, early part of the night. Early part of the evening.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know if he was there when you first got there? Did you pay attention?

VAN DAM: He was there when I first got there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you able to recognize him?

VAN DAM: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How?

VAN DAM: Because he is two doors down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you speak with him?

VAN DAM: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was the conversation about?

VAN DAM: I don't remember. I don't...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything of substance that you can come up with?

VAN DAM: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was the tone, or the nature, of the conversation, the contact you had with him that evening?

VAN DAM: He bought us drinks, and Denise and I and Barbara were together, so we didn't talk a whole lot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amongst yourselves or to him?

VAN DAM: To him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you remember what he bought you?

VAN DAM: I had a cranberry and vodka.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did say anything when he bought the drinks, or offered to buy the drinks, on that occasion?

VAN DAM: Not on that occasion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you have any further contact with him besides what you have just described, that evening?

VAN DAM: I can't really remember. It's been a while. I have been through a lot. I can't... UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you tried to remember if there is anything noteworthy about what happened that night?

VAN DAM: We were talking the weekend before Danielle was missing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am.

VAN DAM: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are pool tables in Dad's?

VAN DAM: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On that occasion, do you remember if you played pool at all?

VAN DAM: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, you didn't, or no, you don't remember?

VAN DAM: No, we didn't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were there any guys that you met up with at Dad's that night -- that occasion?

VAN DAM: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where did you go when you left?

VAN DAM: Back to my house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who did you go with?

VAN DAM: I had Denise and Barbara in the car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about Mr. Westerfield, did you take him home?

VAN DAM: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see him leave the bar?

VAN DAM: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you aware of him leaving at any time that evening?

VAN DAM: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you got home that evening, what happened?

VAN DAM: Denise and Barbara got into their car and went home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you do? VAN DAM: Went inside and went to bed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The next time that you had contact with Mr. Westerfield was when?

VAN DAM: When Danielle and I sold Girl Scout Cookies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This would be the second Girl Scout trip?

VAN DAM: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where did you go to deliver?

VAN DAM: We went to the right of my house, crossed the street, went down. And then we turned right on Briarleaf (ph) and went to two houses, and then his house was the last house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you actually made it to his house?.

VAN DAM: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happen when you got to his house for the cookie sale?

VAN DAM: He invited us in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you go in?

VAN DAM: We went in. I asked him if I could see the kitchen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The kitchen, for what reason??

VAN DAM: To see the remodel

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he show you the kitchen?.

VAN DAM: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Described how that happened.

VAN DAM: We walked into the kitchen, but we stayed on the outside of it. And I guess -- I don't know what room it is -- and we were standing by the bar area. And I looked at his knobs on his counter. We have granite in our kitchen, and I had been was thinking about changing the knobs. That's it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you discussed the kitchen remodel?

VAN DAM: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It had been completed since the occasion you had been in the house?

VAN DAM: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What day was this, please? VAN DAM: I don't know the exact date, but I sold him Girl Scout cookies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you remember (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

VAN DAM: It was approximately Tuesday or Wednesday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's fine. As long as I got the (UNINTELLIGIBLE). OK.

VAN DAM: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who was with you when you went to the house for the Girl Scout cookies?

VAN DAM: Danielle and Dillon (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dillion (ph) is the youngest?

VAN DAM: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you take him along?

VAN DAM: There was nobody at home. Derrick (ph) had a play date, so I couldn't leave him at home alone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about Derrick? What was he?

VAN DAM: He had a play date, but I don't exactly remember which friend he was playing with.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's a play date?

VAN DAM: He went to a friend's house after school

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you remember what time of day or night you went out selling the Girl Scout cookie?

VAN DAM: I know it was in the evening, because when we walked home, it was starting to get -- the sun was going down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did your children do when you were in the house speaking with Mr. Westerfield?

VAN DAM: They saw the pool out back, and they asked if they could go look at it

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who did they ask?

VAN DAM: They asked me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then what happened?

VAN DAM: And I asked him if it was OK, and he said as long as they didn't fall in. And they went out back for a couple minutes and looked, and they came right back in. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where else did they go in the house?

VAN DAM: Nowhere. Dillon (ph) asked to go upstairs, and I told him absolutely not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about Danielle? Did she ask or go anywhere else, besides with you, and out in the backyard?

VAN DAM: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see any comforters in the house?

VAN DAM: Not that I recall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A bed, comforters that would have been piled, perhaps, on a couch or a counter in the area where you were?

VAN DAM: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you have a discussion with Mr. Westerfield, aside from the remodeling when you were in the house with him there?

VAN DAM: Yes, I did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did he say?

VAN DAM: He asked me asked me why I did not introduce him to my friends the weekend before. He said they look like a lot of fun

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your friends were who?

VAN DAM: Denise and Barbara.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you tell him?

VAN DAM: I told him that I didn't know his name, and I asked him how could I have introduced you -- I don't even know your name? And he said, Hi, I'm Dave Westerfield, and he gave me a business card.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He did that right then?

VAN DAM: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you take it?

VAN DAM: I took it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then what happened?

VAN DAM: He asked me to tell my friends that I had a rich neighbor to introduce them to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened? What did you tell him?

VAN DAM: I told him that they were trying to talk me into going to dad's that Friday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The coming Friday?

VAN DAM: The coming Friday -- but I wasn't sure if I was going to be going, because my husband had planned to take our oldest son, Derrick, snowboarding

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where were they going to go?

VAN DAM: Big Bear. .

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who were you going to take: Derrick (ph), who is the oldest boy?

VAN DAM: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At least possibly?

You have to answer out loud?

VAN DAM: Yes. Sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What else did you tell him about that possibility?

HEMMER: We are going to leave the preliminary hearing regarding David Westerfield, the man who is accused of kidnaping and murdering 7-year-old Danielle van Dam. Brenda van Dam on the stand there, answering questions exclusively about what happened that night when a group of neighbors who went out for a drink and, apparently, some dancing as well.

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