North Bay News

20th anniversary of Klaas disappearance remembered

Friday, September 27, 2013

Next week marks the 20th anniversary of a story that stunned the Bay Area -- a young girl, snatched from her own home in Petaluma. The abduction and killing of Polly Klaas ultimately led to major changes in California, from the law to police procedures.

Marc Klaas has never run from his daughter's murder. Instead, he says it has given meaning to his life.

"In my mind, she is a 12-year-old girl," Klaas said. 'But, of course I think about high school, graduation, getting married, career, of course I think about those things."

Oct. 1 will mark the 20th anniversary of Polly Klaas' abduction from a slumber party in her Petaluma bedroom. She abducted from in front of her friends, and later killed.

Police detained the killer, Richard Alan Davis, on a rural, Sonoma County road a little more than an hour after the break in, but knew nothing about the crime. It was a systematic failure.

Mark Klaas can never bring his daughter back, but in the years since, he has made certain that Polly's death has some meaning.

As the result of her case, today we have AMBER Alerts and we have the three strikes law, because Davis had been a repeat offender. He is in San Quentin, sentenced to death.

"I will witness that execution with great joy," Klaas said. "I will drink champagne after he is snuffed."

Marc Klaas, 20 years later, has not forgotten and has no forgiveness.

"And I would love it if the last thing he saw were my eyes," Klaas said. "Because I know the last thing my daughter saw were his eyes. He saw the fear in her eyes. And he would see the hatred in mine."

Beyond three strikes and AMBER Alerts, the Polly Klaas kidnapping led to requirements that convicted sex offenders register where they live. And based on the mistakes police made, there is an entire new set of FBI protocols for missing children cases.

Klaas says he plans to observe the anniversary with close friends and police and volunteers who worked on the case, as well as survivors of kidnappings and the family's he has helped.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
missing person, children, murder, child abduction, child death, crime, amber alert, north bay news, wayne freedman
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