Feb. 11, 2002 -- The parents of a 7-year-old San Diego girl who has been missing for 10 days are offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to her return.
Danielle van Dam was reported missing on the morning Feb. 2. Police have not named any suspects, nor have they ruled anyone out, and say they are working dozens of leads.
Over the weekend, talk radio hosts and the local press in San Diego shifted their attention to the girl's parents, as rumors about Brenda and Damon van Dam's social life became the focus of Internet chat rooms. The parents told ABCNEWS' Good Morning America that Danielle's disappearance has nothing to do with their lifestyle.
"It saddens us that anyone would want to focus on anything other than finding our daughter," Danielle's mother, Brenda van Dam, said on Good Morning America. "She is the victim here and that's where we're keeping the focus — on finding our daughter."
The Search Continues
On Saturday and Sunday, about 200 volunteers fanned out across a 25-mile radius from the van Dam home in the Sabre Springs neighborhood. The search was organized by the Texas-based Laura Recovery Center Foundation, which was named in honor of a girl who was kidnapped and killed in 1997. The van Dam case was also featured on the Saturday night edition of the syndicated television show America's Most Wanted.
Police have also searched the canyons and homes in the region surrounding the family's suburban home, along with the home of David Westerfield, a neighbor of the van Dams who has been questioned in connection with Danielle's disappearance. Police have not called him a suspect.
Last week, police searched a desert area where Westerfield said he spent the weekend and seized and searched two of his vehicles — a Toyota SUV and a mobile home. The Toyota was returned to him, but police still have the mobile home.
During a search of Westerfield's home, police confiscated several items, including a dozen boxes that have not been returned to him.
A Night Out
Westerfield, 49, lives two doors down from the van Dams and hired an attorney after police had questioned him several times. He was one of several people who were with Danielle's mother at a neighborhood bar on Feb. 1, the night that Danielle was last seen. He told police that he left the bar around 10:30 p.m. after dancing with Brenda van Dam.
Brenda van Dam said she returned home from the bar around 2 a.m. for a pizza snack with two of her friends. Her husband, Damon, had stayed home with the couple's three children, and had put Danielle to bed about 9 p.m.
When Brenda van Dam went into Danielle's room to wake her around 9 a.m. on Saturday, she was not there.
Danielle is 4 feet tall, weighs 58 pounds, and has blue eyes and blond hair. Anyone with information on her appearance can call police at (619) 531-2000 or visit the Web site www.DanielleMissing.com.