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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Children murdered in California

On April 28, 2013, a 9-year-old girl was reportedly found in her own home, stabbed to death apparently by an intruder. The investigation is ongoing and the Calavaras County Sheriff's Office has scheduled a  press conference is scheduled. The news has already caused many to relive horrific child murder cases in California.

California is no stranger to child victims and some of the nation's most heart-wrenching and terrifying crimes against children have taken place in the state.

Here are some of the most notable cases of children murdered in California.

Danielle Van Dam Case

Danielle Van Dam: Born September 22, 1994, Danielle's life came to a tragic end when her neighbor, David Alan Westerfield, abducted the seven-year-old from her San Diego, California bedroom on Feb. 2, 2002. Convicted of kidnapping and killing the young girl, the 61-year-old pedophile now sits in San Quentin where he awaits the death penalty.

Danielle Van Dam Case Resources

Polly Klaas Case

Born on Jan. 3, 1981, Polly Hannah Klaas was abducted at knifepoint from her mother's Petaluma, California home on Oct. 1, 1993. Polly had two friends over who spent the night as the three planned to enjoy a slumber party. Richard Allen Davis crept through a window, tied up Polly's friends and put pillowcases over their heads, then led Polly out of the home at knifepoint. Davis ultimately led authorities to Polly's body. It is believed he sexually assaulted her, murdered her then buried her in a shallow grave. Richard Allen Davis is currently on death row at California's San Quentin.

Polly Klaas' father Marc Klaas went on to found the Klaas Kids Foundation. He is a prominent speaker on child victims, missing children and promoting child safety awareness.

Despicable Comments by Richard Allen Davis at Sentencing

Marc Klaas: Klaas Kids Foundation

Polly Klaas Case Resources

Sandra Cantu Case

When eight-year-old Sandra Cantu disappeared from her Tracy, California home, no one thought that a 28-year-old Sunday School teacher and mother of a 5-year-old would be responsible. In what may be one of the nation's most shocking and horrific crimes, it was determined that Melissa Huckaby abducted, drugged and most likely sexually assaulted the young girl with a rolling pin. Details of the sexual abuse Huckaby inflicted upon Sandra were kept secret due to her plea arrangement.

Sandra Cantu was born on March 8, 2001. It is believed that Huckaby murdered her at her father's church on March 27, 2009. Huckaby pled guilty and avoided the death penalty. Though initially indicted on rape charges, the charge was dropped as part of the deal. Huckaby maintains she never sexually assaulted Sandra Cantu though the evidence in the case says differently.
Melissa Huckaby was sentenced to life without parole and is currently housed at the Central California Women's Facility.

Sandra Cantu's Father Speaks During Melissa Huckaby's Sentencing

Melissa Huckaby Apologizes to the Cantu Family

 Sandra Cantu Case

Sandra Cantu Case Resources

Samantha Runnion Case

Born in Boston, Massachusetts on July 26, 1996, Samantha Bree Runion became the subject of an intensive, California search when she was abducted from the front of her grandmother's Stanton, California home on July 15, 2012. Samantha had been outside playing with a friend when a man by the name of Alejandro Ávila approached the girls claiming he had lost his dog. Avila grabbed Samantha and drove off with the child screaming for her friend to get her grandmother.

Samantha Runnions' body was found the next day, naked along a highway. Avila's DNA was found under Samantha's fingernails.

Avila was sentenced to death. He is currently at San Quentin.

Erin Runnion visits place where Samantha's Body was Found

Erin Runnion Interview

Samantha Runnion Case Resources

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