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Van Dams Thank Jury

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The parents of Danielle van Dam have expressed thanks to the jury which convicted a neighbor for the kidnap slaying of the San Diego seven-year-old. Brenda and Damon van Dam also thanked their friends and family for their support, and thanked the San Diego area community for what they called “how to treasure and find a little child.” Danielle vanished from their home February first. Her body was found alongside a rural road east of San Diego nearly a month later. The jury yesterday recommended a death sentence for David Westerfield, instead of life in prison without parole. Brenda van Dam told a news conference this morning: “We were relieved and happy with the guilty verdict.” On whether the parents want Westerfield to be sentenced to death or to spend the rest of his life in prison, Mrs. van Dam said: “What matters most is that this monster could never again hurt another child. I was ready for either outcome. I think it was horrendous what happened to my daughter and I think it was the right punishment.”