SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - It was 10 years ago Thursday that seven-year-old Danielle Van Dam disappeared from her home in Sabre Springs. What followed few people will ever forget.
Danielle Van Dam's face is one that few in Sabre Springs will ever forget after she was kidnapped from her bedroom and killed 10 years ago. The search was extensive, but Danielle's parents' worst fears were soon realized four weeks later when Danielle's little body was found near a tree in Dehesa.
Today the scene is much quieter, with just the occasional car zipping by. Weathered teddy beard and mementos make a makeshift memorial for the seven-year-old who died at the hands of a man she tried to sell Girl Scout cookies to.
David Westerfield spoke to the media as detectives scoured his home and truck as part of their initial search of the area. It was just routine, however the case began to build and 24 days later, News 8's cameras rolled as investigators arrested him. His trial began four months later, and two months after that came the words the Van Dam family waited to hear.
While tapes and discs hold onto the stories, what the families go through extends much further than a few minutes on air. Though it's been 10 years, Danielle's mother has said it's still painful. She would have been a high school senior this year, dealing with senior pictures, prom and graduation.
As for David Westerfield, he's filed an automatic appeal in the case, which is standard. He remains on death row in San Quentin State Prison.