Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Polly Klaas

Polly Hannah Klaas (January 3, 1981 - October-November 1993) was a kidnap and murder victim whose case gained national attention.

She was born in Fairfax, California to Marc and Eve Klaas. Her parents divorced when she was 2 1/2 years old. However, while Eve gained custody of her, Marc often visited Polly. Polly's mother married Alan Nichol and had another child in 1987. Polly got along with her parents, but she didn't get along with her stepfather. Polly was also close to her paternal grandparents, Joe Klaas and B. J. Klaas. The two took Polly on several trips. Her family moved around quite a bit during her short life.

While she was withdrawn, she had a dramatic side to her personality, and a sarcastic side too. Even as Polly Klaas got older, she feared of being kidnapped by a bogeyman.

The 12 year-old girl was kidnapped at knifepoint from her home in Petaluma, California on October 1, 1993. She was later strangled. Richard Allen Davis was convicted of the crimes, in 1996, and sentenced to death.

Polly had invited two of her friends over for a sleepover. Around 10:30 PM Klaas opened her bedroom door to fetch sleeping bags, when she saw a man with a knife. He tied the girls up, told Klaas' friends to count to one thousand, and then kidnapped her. Over the two months, about 4,000 people helped search for her. Television shows such as 20/20 and America's Most Wanted covered the kidnapping. Winona Ryder offered a $200,000 reward for her safe return.

In the course of the search, police officers encountered Davis in a nearby rural area. His car was stuck in the mud. Since the original sketch issued by the staff police artist bore no resemblance to Davis, they helped him out of the mud, and sent him on his way. It was discovered, later, that Klaas was buried alive at this time, and the meeting with the police may have prompted Davis to kill her.

On November 30, police arrested Davis, as his palm print had been found in Klaas' bedroom. Four days later, he led police to Polly's dead body, with her miniskirt pulled up and her legs spread apart. Davis said that he strangled her from behind with a piece of cloth. Although there was no way to check exactly how she died, as the body had decayed for two months, the statement was consistent with the evidence.

Table of contents
1 Related Organizations
2 Related Literature
3 External Links

Related Organizations

The Polly Klaas Foundation was formed on October 23 to search for the girl. Following the discovery of her murder, the Foundation devoted itself to preventing crimes against children, assisting in the recovery of missing children, and lobbying for legislative assistance. The organization sometimes describes Klaas as "America's Child."

The KlaasKids Foundation was founded in 1994 in order to help prevent crimes against children.

See also: Megan Kanka, Laura Kate Smither, Samantha Runyon, Elizabeth Smart, Dru Sjodin

Related Literature

External Links