2 – Brenda Van Dam’s testimony

Brenda Van Dam testimony – II based on transcript from June 6th 2002

the court: welcome back, ladies and gentlemen. okay.

mr. Dusek: ma’am, when we quit I think we just had gotten to the point where you were at the bar with your two female friends. did other friends — other people you know arrive that night?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: what are their names?

Brenda Van Dam: Rich and Keith.

mr. Dusek: did they arrive before or after you folks arrived?

Brenda Van Dam: after.

mr. Dusek: and do you know whether or not any friends of the defendant arrived that night?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: did you know their names?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: were you introduced to them at all?

Brenda Van Dam: I was.

mr. Dusek: tell us what happened at that point.

Brenda Van Dam: they actually showed up before Rich and Keith, and mr. Westerfield introduced us to him — to them and that was it.

mr. Dusek: do you remember their names?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: what were you doing when the introductions were made by the defendant?

Brenda Van Dam: talking to Denise and Barbara.

mr. Dusek: did you then include the defendant and his friends in your conversation?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: it was sometime after that that Rich and Keith showed up, is that right?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: are they related or connected in some way?

Brenda Van Dam: Rich — Keith actually was married to Rich’s wife — wife’s sister, so they’re brother-in-laws. but now they’re divorced so — it’s confusing. Liz Brady and her sister — Keith was married to her sister, and Liz is Rich’s husband (sic), and now her sister and Keith are divorced.

mr. Dusek: all right. and Keith and Rich are still friends?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: did you know they were going to be there that night?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: do you know why they came there that night?

Brenda Van Dam: they said they came to watch one of Keith’s friends that was in the band.

mr. Dusek: did you know the name of the band that was gonna be there that night?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: what happened when Rich and Keith arrived in relation to you and your two friends?

Brenda Van Dam: they started talking to us.

mr. Dusek: they were part of your group?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: where was that going on?

Brenda Van Dam: Rich and Keith — we were at the bar and they came in, and Keith stood over by Barbara on the other side and Rich stood over on the little area by me.

mr. Dusek: what was the defendant doing at that point?

Brenda Van Dam: he was behind me.

mr. Dusek: was he or his friends part of your group?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: eventually did you leave the bar area?

Brenda Van Dam: yes, we did.

mr. Dusek: where did you guys go?

Brenda Van Dam: we went to play pool.

mr. Dusek: who all went?

Brenda Van Dam: first Keith and Barbara wanted to go and we decided we would join them, and so then Denise and I went .

mr. Dusek: and to play pool is in exhibit 31 photograph “d”; is that correct?

Brenda Van Dam: that’s correct.

mr. Dusek: were the tables open?

Brenda Van Dam: yes, they were.

mr. Dusek: who played?

Brenda Van Dam: Keith and Barbara played on one table and Denise and I played on the other table.

mr. Dusek: did anybody join you and Denise?

Brenda Van Dam: yes. the two friends that mr. Westerfield introduced us to asked if they could join us.

mr. Dusek: what did you say?

Brenda Van Dam: Denise said yes, and she broke us up into two teams.

mr. Dusek: what were the teams?

Brenda Van Dam: she played with one of the gentlemen and I was on the other team with the other gentleman.

mr. Dusek: can you describe the two fellows physically so we can keep them apart in any sort of way?

Brenda Van Dam: gosh, it’s really hard to remember, but one of them wore glasses.

mr. Dusek: did you have the fellow with glasses or the other guy?

Brenda Van Dam: the other guy.

mr. Dusek: where was the defendant when you folks were playing pool, if you know?

Brenda Van Dam: I didn’t watch him.

mr. Dusek: was he ever in that room with you when you were playing pool?

Brenda Van Dam: i remember one time he was leaning against the pole just kind of watching.

mr. Dusek: is that pole visible in any of the photographs in exhibit 31?

Brenda Van Dam: right here.

mr. Dusek: that turquoise pole in photograph “d”?

Brenda Van Dam: turquoise pole in photograph “d”, yes.

mr. Dusek: was he doing anything?

Brenda Van Dam: just staring at us.

mr. Dusek: did he ever play pool with you folks?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: describe how the games went while you were there playing pool.

Brenda Van Dam: we played three games. Denise played with her partner for two and they won.

mr. Dusek: both?

Brenda Van Dam: they won both games, and then on the third game i asked if we could switch partners so that i had a chance to win a game, and somehow that happened and i ended up winning the third game.

mr. Dusek: do you remember at this point if the band was playing yet?

Brenda Van Dam: I think they were just starting.

mr. Dusek: do you know if the defendant was with you the entire time you guys were in the pool room?

Brenda Van Dam: no, i don’t.

mr. Dusek: what caused you guys to leave the pool room? was there something else going on?

Brenda Van Dam: people had started dancing and the band was starting.

mr. Dusek: where did you go?

Brenda Van Dam: we actually went out to the truck then.

mr. Dusek: who did?

Brenda Van Dam: Denise and Barbara and Keith and Rich and i.

mr. Dusek: did anybody get inside the car?

Brenda Van Dam: Denise and Barbara and i.

mr. Dusek: who was sitting where, if you remember?

Brenda Van Dam: I was in the driver’s seat, Denise was on the console and Barbara was in the passenger seat.

mr. Dusek: what’s going on out there?

Brenda Van Dam: we smoked marijuana.

mr. Dusek: who did?

Brenda Van Dam: Denise and Barbara and I.

mr. Dusek: was anything going on with Barbara and Keith?

Brenda Van Dam: i’m not sure.

mr. Dusek: do you think something was going on?

Brenda Van Dam: I think something was going on.

mr. Dusek: what do you think was going on?

Brenda Van Dam: I think they were kissing.

mr. Dusek: where was Keith?

Brenda Van Dam: he was on the — on Barbara’s side of the truck.

mr. Dusek: inside or outside the truck?

Brenda Van Dam: outside.

mr. Dusek: where was Barbara?

Brenda Van Dam: in the passenger seat.

mr. Dusek: why do you just think they were and don’t know for sure?

Brenda Van Dam: I was talking to Rich. he was on my side of the car and I wasn’t really paying that much attention.

mr. Dusek: was anything going on with you and Rich?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: can you estimate for us how long you guys were out there?

Brenda Van Dam: maybe 10 minutes.

mr. Dusek: then where did you go?

Brenda Van Dam: went back in.

mr. Dusek: to where?

Brenda Van Dam: Dad’s cafe.

mr. Dusek: what part of Dad’s ?

Brenda Van Dam: oh, we started dancing.

mr. Dusek: who did?

Brenda Van Dam: the girls and i started dancing. i danced with Rich that night and Keith.

mr. Dusek: and did you dance with the other girls?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: did you dance with anybody else in the place?

Brenda Van Dam: at the end of the night a gentleman came up and asked me if I would dance with him.

mr. Dusek: and can you describe him for us?

Brenda Van Dam: he was probably in his mid 40s with blond hair.

mr. Dusek: did you dance with him?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: fast dance or slow dance?

Brenda Van Dam: it was a slow dance.

mr. Dusek: how about the other dances that you were dancing with the girls, fast dances, slow dances?

Brenda Van Dam: fast dance.

mr. Dusek: and Rich and Keith, did you dance with them?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: fast dance, slow dance?

Brenda Van Dam: fast.

mr. Dusek: how about the defendant, did you dance with him?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: are you sure?

Brenda Van Dam: positive.

mr. Dusek: how about with his friends, do you remember if you danced with them?

Brenda Van Dam: I can’t remember.

mr. Dusek: during this time at Dad’s were you doing any drinking?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: what did you drink that night?

Brenda Van Dam: i had three cranberry and vodkas, a shot of tequila and some water, a red bull and I may have had a diet coke.

mr. Dusek: what’s a red bull?

Brenda Van Dam: a red bull is an energy drink. it has lots of caffeine in it.

mr. Dusek: is it an alcoholic drink?

Brenda Van Dam: no, it is not.

mr. Dusek: how much water were you drinking?

Brenda Van Dam: i had about two glasses.

mr. Dusek: do you remember when or where you were having the water?

Brenda Van Dam: probably in between the drinks.

mr. Dusek: and you were there for how long?

Brenda Van Dam: from about 8:30, 8:45 until closing about 1:50.

mr. Dusek: while you were dancing with the folks that you were dancing with, were there times when you weren’t dancing?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: did you speak with the defendant while you were in that dance area/bar area?

Brenda Van Dam: at one time he came up to me and he asked me — he said that Rich had said something to him to the effect of “we know what you’re about” or “we know what you’re up to” and he asked me what he meant, and I told him he had to go — he had to go ask him because i had no idea.

mr. Dusek: so we understand, who’s “he”?

Brenda Van Dam: mr. Westerfield.

mr. Dusek: the defendant was saying that Rich —

Brenda Van Dam: Rich Brady, yeah.

mr. Dusek: we can’t talk at the same time.

Brenda Van Dam: i apologize.

mr. Dusek: did you speak anything else with the defendant while you were there?

Brenda Van Dam: not that i recall.
mr. Dusek: do you recall anything about a father/daughter dance discussion?
Brenda Van Dam: I may have talked about the father/daughter dance. it was coming up the following thursday.
mr. Dusek: whose father/daughter dance?
Brenda Van Dam: Danielle’s.
mr. Dusek: who was she supposed to be going with?
Brenda Van Dam: Damon.
mr. Dusek: when was that coming up?
Brenda Van Dam: it was on thursday night at the school.
mr. Dusek: the following thursday after the night at Dad’s ?
Brenda Van Dam: yes.
mr. Dusek: do you recall who you were talking with about that?
Brenda Van Dam: no. i know I told Denise and Barbara. I may have told mr. Westerfield.

mr. Dusek: about what time you left the bar, do you remember?

Brenda Van Dam: umm, well, it was probably a little bit before 2:00.

mr. Dusek: at the time that you and your friends gathered up to leave, do you know if the defendant was still there?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: no, he wasn’t or no, you don’t know?

Brenda Van Dam: no, i don’t know if he was there.

mr. Dusek: did you ever see him leave that evening?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: how about his friends, the two fellows? were you aware of them leaving at any time?

Brenda Van Dam: no, I was not aware.

mr. Dusek: how did it come to be that you guys decide to gather up and leave?

Brenda Van Dam: Keith was talking to me about wanting to get together with Barbara, and he — he asked me if I could make it
happen for him and I said i don’t know. I told him they had to come back to my house to pick up their car.

mr. Dusek: “they” was who?

Brenda Van Dam: I told him that Denise and Barbara needed to come back with me to pick up their car, and so they — I told him he could come back for a few minutes and talk to her.

mr. Dusek: was there any sign or warning that the establishment was about to close?

Brenda Van Dam: i remember there being a last call for alcohol.

mr. Dusek: what did you do, you and your girlfriends do?

Brenda Van Dam: i drove — i walked out back and got the truck. i pulled around to the front of Dad’s cafe. I went to the window and knocked on the window. Denise and Barbara were in the smoking area.

mr. Dusek: that would be the area in exhibit 31 photograph “e” that’s partially covered there?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: what happened then?

Brenda Van Dam: they came out and we got into the truck and we drove away. that was just Denise and Barbara came out.

mr. Dusek: and did you expect other people to go back to your house with you?

Brenda Van Dam: i thought that Rich and Keith were gonna come by.

mr. Dusek: did you make it all the way home in one trip?

Brenda Van Dam: no. when we started driving away Barbara realized that she had left her cigarettes, and we had to make a u-turn and go back and she jumped out and got them.

mr. Dusek: how quickly did you have to make that return to Dad’s ?

Brenda Van Dam: it was pretty quick. it was by the first red light.

mr. Dusek: when she picked up her cigarettes where did you go?

Brenda Van Dam: we drove back to my house.

mr. Dusek: and do you know where Keith and Rich were at that time?

Brenda Van Dam: actually, when we got to the red light of Springhurst and Poway road they were in front of us.

mr. Dusek: then what happened?

Brenda Van Dam: we drove to our house. i pulled into the driveway. Keith and Rich parked in front.

mr. Dusek: as you pulled into your driveway did you see any vehicles around the defendant’s home?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: did you see a motor home there?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: did you have to go by his home to get to your house?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: so once you stopped at your house what happens?

Brenda Van Dam: Denise, Barbara and I went inside. Keith and Rich were getting out of Keith’s car and they started coming in.

mr. Dusek: what happens once you get inside?

Brenda Van Dam: i — as soon as i got inside, i noticed to the left that there was a red blinking light on the alarm monitor.

mr. Dusek: what did that mean to you?

Brenda Van Dam: it meant that there was a door or a window open.

mr. Dusek: do you recall if there were any lights on inside?

Brenda Van Dam: there was a tv on up in my master bedroom, and when you walk in the front door you can see up there.

mr. Dusek: and did you see your husband, Damon, at that point?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: what happened once you got inside and noticed the light blinking?

Brenda Van Dam: I told Denise that there had to be a door or a window open and i needed to find it.

mr. Dusek: so what did you do?

Brenda Van Dam: so she started looking for it, and I went upstairs to tell Damon that Keith and Rich were stopping by for a minute, because he was up and i asked him if he wanted to come down.

mr. Dusek: all right. then what happened?

Brenda Van Dam: Keith and Rich came in. Denise and i started looking for the open door or window and we found it in the
garage.

mr. Dusek: which door was it?

Brenda Van Dam: it was the garage door leading out to the side of our house.

mr. Dusek: had you seen that door opened earlier in the evening?

Brenda Van Dam: yes, I did.

mr. Dusek: when?

Brenda Van Dam: when we were in the garage.

mr. Dusek: let me show you what’s been marked as court’s exhibit 24, labeled at the top “Van Dam residence side garage door.” do you see the door that was open?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: which door is it?

Brenda Van Dam: it’s in picture “a.”

mr. Dusek: that goes from inside the garage to the side yard?

Brenda Van Dam: to the side yard.

mr. Dusek: and so we make sure we have the same door, i’m showing you now court’s exhibit 8a, labeled at the top “Van Dam residence garage.” do you see the side garage door that was open when you returned home that evening?

Brenda Van Dam: it’s in picture “g.”

mr. Dusek: thank you.

and the red light, the alarm that was on, is that visible in any of these photographs?

Brenda Van Dam: it’s in photograph “a” circled with blue.

mr. Dusek: what happened to the light after you closed the side garage door?

Brenda Van Dam: the light went off.

mr. Dusek: what did you do?

Brenda Van Dam: we went into the kitchen and heated up pizza.

mr. Dusek: was there a time when you went upstairs?

Brenda Van Dam: yes, there was. when i first came in from closing the door — actually Keith and Rich were sitting in the living room area and they asked where Barbara was, or they were jokingly saying why did Barbara go upstairs, and I didn’t know she was up there so I went upstairs and —

Mr. Dusek: hold on a minute, ma’am.
(pause)
the court: okay, mr. Dusek.

mr. Dusek: do you recall using any restroom facilities at the house that night?

Brenda Van Dam: no, i don’t recall.

mr. Dusek: do you remember going upstairs to use the bathroom at all?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: what happened when you went upstairs?

Brenda Van Dam: I went upstairs, and Barbara was laying on the bed next to Damon.

mr. Dusek: what were they doing?

Brenda Van Dam: they were talking.
mr. Dusek: anything else that you saw?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: what did you do?

Brenda Van Dam: I told them that they were being rude, that there were people downstairs and that they both needed to come downstairs.

mr. Dusek: what happened?

Brenda Van Dam: we all went downstairs.

mr. Dusek: what was going on downstairs?

Brenda Van Dam: Denise was heating up pizza, and we all went into the kitchen area and ate pizza.

mr. Dusek: where did the pizza come from?

Brenda Van Dam: it was left over from earlier in the evening.

mr. Dusek: did you check on your children that evening once you got back from Dad’s ?

Brenda Van Dam: no, I did not.

mr. Dusek: did you go to their rooms at all?

Brenda Van Dam: yes, I did.

mr. Dusek: when was that?

Brenda Van Dam: when i first went upstairs to tell Damon that Keith and Rich were here, I went to their doors and closed them because the voices, their voices were traveling up, and I didn’t want them to wake up.
mr. Dusek: “their voices” being?

Brenda Van Dam: Keith and Rich.

mr. Dusek: so we understand the layout of the upstairs, i’ve had marked as court’s exhibit 15 this floor plan labeled at the top “Van Dam residence-upstairs.” we’ve shown you this floor plan before, haven’t we ma’am?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: does that appear to be a floor plan of the upstairs area to your residence?

Brenda Van Dam: yes, it is.

mr. Dusek: using the pointer, can you point to the area where you would get upstairs, the stairway?

Brenda Van Dam: right here.

mr. Dusek: appears to be the left middle side of that diagram?

Brenda Van Dam: yes, it is. i’m sorry, yes it is.
mr. Dusek: is the master bedroom depicted in that photograph?

Brenda Van Dam: the master bedroom is over here.

mr. Dusek: where it says “master bedroom”?

Brenda Van Dam: where it says “master bedroom.”

mr. Dusek: and the children’s bedrooms, are they depicted?

Brenda Van Dam: yes, they are.

mr. Dusek: as you come up the stairs, how do you get to Dylan’s room?

Brenda Van Dam: Dylan’s room is the first room on the right.

mr. Dusek: and then Danielle’s bedroom is where?

Brenda Van Dam: her room’s the second room on the right.

mr. Dusek: is labeled “Danielle’s bedroom”?

Brenda Van Dam: yes, it is.

mr. Dusek: and the far bedroom is whose?

Brenda Van Dam: this is Derek’s bedroom.

mr. Dusek: okay. when you went to their doors what was the condition, open or closed, of their doors?

Brenda Van Dam: all of the doors were a little bit open. we leave them a little open when we go to bed.

mr. Dusek: and you closed all of them?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: did you look inside?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: why not?

Brenda Van Dam: because when i got — when I went upstairs to tell Damon that I was home, i asked him how — how the tuck-in went, how everything went that night, if anyone asked for me, and he said that everything had gone fine, that they all had brushed their teeth and they had been read to and no one asked for me.

mr. Dusek: once you got the doors closed, what was going on downstairs?

Brenda Van Dam: Denise was heating up pizza.

mr. Dusek: where was the group?

Brenda Van Dam: the group was in the kitchen area, the eating area.

mr. Dusek: what was going on there?

Brenda Van Dam: they were talking and heating up pizza.

mr. Dusek: anything to drink?

Brenda Van Dam: water.

mr. Dusek: any alcohol?

Brenda Van Dam: no alcohol.

mr. Dusek: any marijuana?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: how long would you say they hung around there on the kitchen area eating at your house?

Brenda Van Dam: probably about 20 minutes.

mr. Dusek: then what happened?

Brenda Van Dam: Denise and Barbara left.
mr. Dusek: was anything said as they left?

Brenda Van Dam: they said they were tired and they were going home, and i walked them out to the front, said goodbye to them.

mr. Dusek: as they left were they with anyone else?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: did they have Danielle with them?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: where were Keith and Rich when the girlfriends left?

Brenda Van Dam: they were in the kitchen talking to Damon.

mr. Dusek: what happened after the girlfriends left?

Brenda Van Dam: I went back into the kitchen, and Damon told Keith and Rich that he didn’t want to have to kick ’em out but we were tired and wanted to go to bed, and so they both left.

mr. Dusek: how do you know?

Brenda Van Dam: i walked them to the door and i closed the door.

mr. Dusek: did they walk out with anybody?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: did they have Danielle with them?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: where did you think she was?

Brenda Van Dam: in her bed.

mr. Dusek: did you lock up after your guests left?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: and what did you do?

Brenda Van Dam: locked the front door when they left and the back door was already locked.

mr. Dusek: how do you know?

Brenda Van Dam: because when we first got home Layla was inside, and she just likes to jump a little bit, and she was jumping on Keith a little bit and I was gonna let her out. I went to the back door to check it and it was already locked and I didn’t have to let her out ’cause she settled down.

mr. Dusek: do you recall the temperature that night, what the weather was like?

Brenda Van Dam: it was very cool.

mr. Dusek: what do you mean by that?

Brenda Van Dam: we slept with the windows closed.

mr. Dusek: okay.

after you got everything locked up where did you and Damon go?

Brenda Van Dam: straight to bed.

mr. Dusek: what’s the next — can you estimate for us about what time it was that you got in bed, if you can?

Brenda Van Dam: probably around 2:30.

mr. Dusek: and how long — I think you’ve already answered that one. what’s the next thing that you recall happening after you got in bed and fell asleep?

Brenda Van Dam: i recall Damon getting up to do something with the dog.

mr. Dusek: did you wake up?

Brenda Van Dam: not fully. i just remember him getting up. Layla had chewed up her bed that night and it was in the — Damon threw it into the laundry room so she didn’t have a bed, so she was very edgy and she didn’t want to lay down anywhere and sleep.
mr. Dusek: did you say anything to your husband as he got up, whenever that was?

Brenda Van Dam: i don’t recall.

mr. Dusek: did you notice anything at that time regarding any alarm lights?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: did you get out of bed?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: what’s the next thing you remember happening?

Brenda Van Dam: i woke up in the morning.

mr. Dusek: where was Damon?

Brenda Van Dam: he was already downstairs.

mr. Dusek: so what did you do?

Brenda Van Dam: i laid in bed for about ten more minutes and then i got up and took a shower.

mr. Dusek: did you have any responsibilities that morning?

Brenda Van Dam: yes, I did.

mr. Dusek: what were they?

Brenda Van Dam: I was going to be watching my neighbor across the street’s — her two children.

mr. Dusek: how long were you supposed to watch them?

Brenda Van Dam: for a couple hours.

mr. Dusek: was there a time when she was due over at your house with the kids?

Brenda Van Dam: about — I think it was 9:30.

mr. Dusek: once you got your shower taken care of what did you do?

Brenda Van Dam: I went downstairs and asked anyone if they wanted breakfast. i started making breakfast and the door bell rang.

mr. Dusek: who all was downstairs?

Brenda Van Dam: Derek, Damon and Dylan.

mr. Dusek: how about Denise — or i’m sorry, Danielle, do you recall where she was?

Brenda Van Dam: i thought she was still in bed sleeping.

mr. Dusek: had you checked her before you came downstairs?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: what happened when the neighbors showed up with their two kids?

Brenda Van Dam: I told christie that Danielle was still sleeping and that if she wanted to she could go up and wake her up.

mr. Dusek: did she?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: what did she do?

Brenda Van Dam: she was in the family room with Dylan and Derek playing and her brother.

mr. Dusek: what happened then?

Brenda Van Dam: i started to crack eggs to make breakfast, and then i realized that she had not gone up to get Danielle up, so i told her i’d do it myself.

mr. Dusek: did you?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: what did you do?

Brenda Van Dam: i walked upstairs and I went into her room.

mr. Dusek: do you remember if her door was open or closed?

Brenda Van Dam: it was open.

mr. Dusek: how had it last been the last time you had seen the door?

Brenda Van Dam: it was closed.

mr. Dusek: and you walked into the room, what did you see?

Brenda Van Dam: just her bed.

mr. Dusek: didn’t see her?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: what did you do?

Brenda Van Dam: I went into the bathroom to see if she was in there, because sometimes she’ll get up and sit in there for a little while and she wasn’t in there. and then i asked Damon if she had slept in her own bed, because sometimes she liked to sleep in Derek’s room. he has two beds. and he said no, she should be in her room. and I said well, she’s not. and i started looking around the house and looking at other beds and looking in the closets. and Damon came upstairs and he started looking with me and we were yelling out her name and then we went downstairs. Damon went out front and I went out back but we couldn’t find her.

mr. Dusek: did you call anybody?

Brenda Van Dam: I called 911.

mr. Dusek: how about any of your friends, family, acquaintances?

Brenda Van Dam: I called Julie and I told her that Danielle was not in her bed, and her two children were getting very upset, and i told her she needs to come back and get them. and so — and then I called one of Danielle’s friend’s mom — her mom and talked to her.

mr. Dusek: a neighbor lady?

Brenda Van Dam: a neighbor lady.

mr. Dusek: did Damon do any searching other than right there around the house?

Brenda Van Dam: he — i’m not sure, because I was in the backyard, he went out the front door. I went over to my neighbor’s yard and looked in the next door neighbor’s yard.

mr. Dusek: you indicated you called 911?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

(marked for id: = trial ex. 36, 911 tape )

(marked for id: = trial ex. 36a-911 transcript)

Mr. Dusek: at this time i’ve had marked as court’s exhibit 36 a cassette tape, and i’ve had marked as court’s exhibit 36a —

mr. Feldman: i’m sorry. the exhibit number of the tape?

Mr. Dusek: thirty-six.

— and a four-page transcript. we have copies for the jury.

the court: all right.

mr. Feldman: your honor, i talked to counsel about this. we can go either sidebar to try and address you on it, just the manner in which the transcripts are to be viewed.

the court: better do it at sidebar just out of an abundance of caution.

—-

the court: okay, ladies and gentlemen. you’re going to be getting a copy of the transcript of the 911 tape. i just want you to know a couple things. number one, the best evidence of what the tape says is the tape itself. these are being given to you merely as an aid to assist you in listening to the tape. sometimes there are areas that might be inaudible. also, these are not for you. they’re just for your use right now, and they will be collected as soon as we’re done listening to the tape. all right. it appears that all of the jurors and alternates have a copy of the transcript.

Mr. Dusek: i’d ask that we be able to play the tape now.

the court: that’s fine.

(exhibit 36 – 911 tape being played)
the court: okay, ladies and gentlemen. just pass those to your right.
mr. Dusek: mrs. Van Dam, did you just get to hear that 911 call with us?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: is that your voice on that tape?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: how long did it take law enforcement to show up after that phone call, if you can remember?

Brenda Van Dam: approximately 15 minutes.

mr. Dusek: what were you doing during that time?

Brenda Van Dam: i don’t recall. I was searching for Danielle.

mr. Dusek: were you allowed back into the house that night?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: why not?

Brenda Van Dam: because they were looking for evidence.

mr. Dusek: where did you spend the night?

Brenda Van Dam: at my neighbor across the street, Julie.

mr. Dusek: what’s her name?

Brenda Van Dam: Julie Hennes.

mr. Dusek: is that the lady you were baby-sitting for?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: how many nights did you spend at her house?

Brenda Van Dam: one night.

mr. Dusek: when did you get back into her house — or i’m sorry, back into your house?

Brenda Van Dam: sunday night.

mr. Dusek: were there any restrictions law enforcement placed upon you going back into your house?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: do you know if they appeared to be done with their evidence collection?

Brenda Van Dam: they appeared to be done.

mr. Dusek: were any efforts made to clean your house once you were allowed to get back in?

Brenda Van Dam: before we went in — actually, when i first walked in there was black everywhere, and I didn’t want to take my boys back into that. I was afraid it would scare them. so a friend of mine called in a few of the neighborhood moms and they cleaned it.

mr. Dusek: did they complete the cleaning job?

Brenda Van Dam: downstairs.

mr. Dusek: did anything stop them from going upstairs?

Brenda Van Dam: i put a gate in front of Danielle’s room and i asked them not to go in there.

mr. Dusek: why?

Brenda Van Dam: because I did not want it touched.

mr. Dusek: did law enforcement come back on other occasions to try to get things out of her room?

Brenda Van Dam: yes, they did.

mr. Dusek: did you provide them with any physical evidence that they wanted from the house?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: did they ask for physical samples from you and your husband and your children?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: blood, hair, that type of thing?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: did they also ask for samples from your dog?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: did you provide those?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: did Danielle go to the dentist?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: do you remember the name of the dentist?

Brenda Van Dam: it was “a Poway dental.” her dentist was dr. Baker.

mr. Dusek: did you provide law enforcement with her dental records?

Brenda Van Dam: i gave the permission to go and get them.

mr. Dusek: did they ask to put a tap on your phone, trace your phone calls?

Brenda Van Dam: not that i recall.

mr. Dusek: in your stairway, going from the bottom up to the upstairs, do you recall whether or not there was any markings on

the wall in there?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: do you recall any blood being found on the stairway going upstairs?

Brenda Van Dam: i do.

mr. Dusek: do you know how that got there?


Brenda Van Dam: i assume it’s from our dog.

mr. Dusek: do you remember the dog being bloody sometime?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: when was that?

Brenda Van Dam: she was running around the backyard and she came around the corner and hit Damon’s leg and her nose was bleeding very badly.

mr. Dusek: when was that in relation to Danielle’s disappearance?

mr. Feldman: your honor, this is speculation. no foundation, objection.

the court: overruled. you can answer.

the witness: a couple weeks before.

mr. Dusek: i’d like to show you a picture of the master bedroom i believe. it’s exhibit no. 20. do you recognize what I have depicted here, ma’am?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: and i’d like to direct your attention to the photographs “a” and “b”, what are they looking at?

Brenda Van Dam: that is our steam cleaner.

mr. Dusek: and is that right in the entrance way to your house.

Brenda Van Dam: yes, it is.

mr. Dusek: how long had it been there?

Brenda Van Dam: just a few days.

mr. Dusek: why was it there?

Brenda Van Dam: Danielle wanted the dog to sleep in her room and so i let her, and the dog peed in her room and i had to steam clean it up.

mr. Dusek: when did you do that in relation to her disappearance?

Brenda Van Dam: I did that on wednesday or thursday before —

mr. Dusek: her disappearance?

Brenda Van Dam: — her disappearance.

mr. Dusek: you also have a vacuum?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: was the vacuum out the day that she disappeared?

Brenda Van Dam: it was.

mr. Dusek: where was it?

Brenda Van Dam: it was upstairs in the hall.

mr. Dusek: let me show you what’s been previously marked as court’s exhibit 19, photo display board labeled at the top Van

Dam residence, roman numeral two. do you see that vacuum cleaner?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: why was it there?

Brenda Van Dam: because i planned to vacuum upstairs.

mr. Dusek: and the vacuum cleaner is shown in photograph what on exhibit 19?

Brenda Van Dam: photograph “g”.

mr. Dusek: did you use that vacuum cleaner after you discovered Danielle missing?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: what does Danielle sleep in? her nightwear?

Brenda Van Dam: her pajamas.

mr. Dusek: can you describe ’em for us?

Brenda Van Dam: they’re baby blue. they go about down to her calves and there’s little cascading flowers that come up her legs.

mr. Dusek: what material, do you know?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: after she wears — gets into her pajamas, do you know if she has any contact with your dog?

Brenda Van Dam: yes, she does.

mr. Dusek: describe that.

Brenda Van Dam: she’ll go downstairs and wrestle with Layla. she lays all over her.

mr. Dusek: from the time that Danielle was discovered missing,, can you remember her at any time before that bleeding?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: was there an incident where she got into something with the dog?

Brenda Van Dam: she was roughhousing with Layla and Layla jumped up on her back and scratched her.

mr. Dusek: when was that in relation to the events you’ve described?

Brenda Van Dam: i believe it was on wednesday before she was taken

mr. Dusek: did you check her out?

Brenda Van Dam: I did and it was a minor scratch.

mr. Dusek: where?

Brenda Van Dam: on her back.

mr. Dusek: about how long?

Brenda Van Dam: it was about three, four inches long.

mr. Dusek: did you see any blood?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: what happened after she got scratched?

Brenda Van Dam: she got mad at the dog and went upstairs.

mr. Dusek: was there any blood on the clothing that she was wearing on top of this scratch?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: how long was her hair when she disappeared?

Brenda Van Dam: we had just had her hair cut the saturday prior to the 1st.

mr. Dusek: was a picture taken of her after she had her haircut?

Brenda Van Dam: we had a passport photo taken on Friday .

mr. Dusek: the Friday that you described going to Dad’s ?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: why did you have a passport picture taken?

Brenda Van Dam: we were planning a trip to italy.

mr. Dusek: for what reason?

Brenda Van Dam: Damon was working — he was going to be working in italy for two weeks and we were going to go along with him.

mr. Dusek: and this haircut that she had, was that before the first trip to Dad’s or the second trip to Dad’s . do you

remember the day?

Brenda Van Dam: it was after the first trip to Dad’s , that saturday.

mr. Dusek: i’ll show you what’s been previously marked as court’s exhibit 9. do you recognize what we have depicted here?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: is that the passport photograph?

Brenda Van Dam: yes, it is.

mr. Dusek: what day was that taken?

Brenda Van Dam: it was the Friday , february 1st.

mr. Dusek: how do you know when her hair was cut?

Brenda Van Dam: because i took her.

mr. Dusek: how do you know the exact date?

Brenda Van Dam: i don’t know. I have a receipt.

mr. Dusek: did i ask you to look for a receipt?

Brenda Van Dam: you did.

mr. Dusek: did you find one?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

(marked for id: = trial ex. 37-haircut receipt)

mr. Dusek: i’ve had that marked as court’s exhibit 37. it appears to be a receipt from hair camelot. do you recognize that, ms. Van Dam?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: what is it?

Brenda Van Dam: it’s a receipt for when we had haircuts.

mr. Dusek: is that the one you found for me?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: does it say what date you had the haircut?

Brenda Van Dam: it is january 26th.

mr. Dusek: does it even give you the time of at least paying for it?

Brenda Van Dam: yes. it says 14:38.

mr. Dusek: where was the haircut?

Brenda Van Dam: hair camelot.

mr. Dusek: just to be sure, what year?

Brenda Van Dam: january 26th, ’02.

mr. Dusek: thank you, ma’am.

when she got her haircut, how much hair was cut off?

Brenda Van Dam: four — four or more inches.

mr. Dusek: and after she got her haircut, about how long was her hair?

Brenda Van Dam: shoulder length.

mr. Dusek: can you estimate for us how long that would be in inches?

Brenda Van Dam: no. eight?

mr. Dusek: and before she had her haircut, would you estimate for us how long it was?

Brenda Van Dam: it was around september.

mr. Dusek: all right. and how long was her hair before she had it cut?

Brenda Van Dam: down to the middle of her back.

mr. Dusek: did you have any photographs taken of her before her haircut?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: what pictures were those?

Brenda Van Dam: her school pictures.

mr. Dusek: did you find a picture for us and provide it to us?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

(marked for id: = trial ex. 32, photo-Danielle)

mr. Dusek: i’ve had marked as court’s exhibit 32 a photograph. do you recognize what we have here, ms. Van Dam?

Brenda Van Dam: yes, that’s Danielle.

mr. Dusek: when was that photograph taken?

Brenda Van Dam: in october.

mr. Dusek: october of 2001?

Brenda Van Dam: october of 2001.

mr. Dusek: and does that photograph accurately depict how long her hair was in october?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: did she have her haircut at any time after the october photograph until you had her haircut in january?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: did you do any trimming or snipping on it?

Brenda Van Dam: no.

mr. Dusek: what color was her hair?

Brenda Van Dam: brownish blonde.

mr. Dusek: and your two boys, what color was their hair?

Brenda Van Dam: blond blond.

mr. Dusek: how long is Dylan’s hair?

Brenda Van Dam: spiked.

mr. Dusek: which means?

Brenda Van Dam: it means it’s very short.

mr. Dusek: very short means how long?

Brenda Van Dam: maybe an inch on top.

mr. Dusek: and the other boy, how long was his hair?

Brenda Van Dam: about an inch and a half on top.

mr. Dusek: how long has their hair been that short?

Brenda Van Dam: for a couple years.

mr. Dusek: did you have any photographs showing how long their hair was in relation to Danielle’s hair?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: did you provide me with that photograph?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

(marked for id: = trial ex. 33, photo Van Dam kids )

mr. Dusek: i’ve had marked as court’s exhibit 33 another photograph depicting Danielle and the two boys.

do you recognize what we have there, ms. Van Dam?

Brenda Van Dam: that’s a school picture.

mr. Dusek: was that taken at the same time Danielle’s picture in 32 was taken.

Brenda Van Dam: yes, it was.

mr. Dusek: and the boys there, which one is on the left?

Brenda Van Dam: that’s Dylan.

mr. Dusek: does that show how long his hair was for the past several years?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: the boy on the right is —

Brenda Van Dam: that’s Derek.

mr. Dusek: does that show how long his hair was for the past couple years?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: your hair color is what?

Brenda Van Dam: blonde.

mr. Dusek: is it chemically treated?

Brenda Van Dam: yes.

mr. Dusek: how long has it been treated that way?

Brenda Van Dam: for years.

Mr. Dusek: may I have a moment, your honor?

the court: sure.

(pause)

Mr. Dusek: no further questions, your honor.

the court: all right. cross-examination.

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