Girl alive during police stop, kidnap suspect says

December 07, 1993|By Knight-Ridder Newspapers

PETALUMA, Calif. -- The man accused of kidnapping Polly Klaas reportedly has told police that she was alive and hidden nearby when Sonoma County sheriff's deputies questioned him about 90 minutes after the 12-year-old girl's abduction.

But Petaluma police Sgt. Mike Kerns was quick to say yesterday that police have no way of knowing if what twice-convicted kidnapper Richard Allen Davis said is true, labeling such reports "pure speculation."

Sources familiar with the investigation said the suspect told officers that he made a second trip to the Pythian Road scene where deputies, unaware of Polly's kidnapping, initially searched his car and helped pull his '79 Pinto from a ditch in the early hours of Oct. 2.

Mr. Davis reportedly said he came back to pick up Polly and take her to Cloverdale, where he killed her and disposed of her body.

"The veracity of the information he gave us -- other than where to find Polly -- everything else is in question. We can't just assume that everything people tell us is true," said Sergeant Kerns, who added that Mr. Davis has not been given a polygraph test "to my knowledge."

Members of the Klaas family said they were aware of the reported details in Mr. Davis' statement.

"I've heard he is saying that, but we don't trust him," said Elizabeth Klaas, Polly's aunt.

Polly's grandfather, Joe Klaas of Carmel, said he does believe that's the way it happened.

"I think she probably struggled, he hit a ditch, and then he hid her because he knew he was in trouble," he said yesterday.

Reports that Mr. Davis told police Polly was alive when deputies questioned him focused attention again on law enforcement actions the night of the abduction.

Exactly where Polly was during 38 minutes of questioning that began at 12:08 a.m. Oct. 2 has been the topic of varying theories, and Sergeant Kerns said investigators have not ruled out the possibility that Mr. Davis did not act alone.

As yesterday wore on, the only new fact to emerge was that dental records during the preliminary autopsy confirmed that the body found hidden underneath a piece of plywood just south of Cloverdale was that of Polly Klaas.

Tests on all of the physical evidence collected both at the Cloverdale and Pythian Road sites could take months, Sergeant Kerns said, adding, "There are still a lot of unanswered questions about motive and the sequence of events."

Police presented documentation on the case to the district attorney's office yesterday afternoon. Mr. Davis was expected to be arraigned and formally charged today.

Mr. Davis remains under protective custody at the Sonoma County Jail in Santa Rosa.

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