When little girls have a slumber party, most parents expect that things won’t get too wild. Sure, they might be up giggling all night, or perhaps might get daring enough to call a boy from class. Still, at the end of the day, it is almost always a fairly harmless affair, so it is an unbelievable shock when it ends in tragedy and a missing child. This is what happened with the disappearance of Polly Klaas.
The Slumber Party
Polly Klaas was a completely average twelve-year-old girl in almost every way. On the last night that she was seen, she was enjoying time spent with her friends during a slumber party. Polly and two of her friends were having a grand old time, giggling and staying up late when something completely unexpected happened. Out of nowhere, a man appeared in the room and proceeded to threaten the girls. He set about tying them up, covering their faces with pillowcases as the poor traumatized young girls cowered in fear. To the horror of Polly’s two friends, after they were tied up, the man then proceeded to carry a sobbing Polly out of the room where she was never seen again. The two girls worked together to untie themselves and get adult help, but it was too late.
Polly’s shocking disappearance rattled her entire town, leaving many people wondering what sort of area they actually lived in. California has seen its fair share of crime, but Polly’s disappearance proved to be particularly disturbing because of the very nature of it and the young age of the victim. Her case garnered a wide range of attention, including celebrity attention from Winona Ryder who offered a $200,000 reward for Polly’s return and also dedicated funds from Little Women, which was conveniently Polly’s favorite book, to institutions and groups that are designed to help to locate missing children.
Richard Allen Davis was a man known for his history of crime. He had only been out on parole for a short while, less than three months, when he apparently actively planned to kidnap Polly. With a history of crime, including sexual assault, behind him, Richard Davis was exactly as terrible as you would expect him to be.
What is most disturbing about Richard Davis in this capacity is the fact that police almost had him. At one point, police were able to question Davis and asked him a variety of questions surrounding Polly’s disappearance. In fact, they even searched his car. Unfortunately, they did not find anything that would help them truly prove that he had something to do with Polly’s disappearance despite his disheveled appearance. Davis was reportedly covered in dirt and twigs, which would later be found to be related to the evening’s grim turn.
What Happened To Polly?
Because of the poor shape that Polly’s body was eventually found in, police were unable to determine the full extent of what happened to Polly. A large portion of the trial was built around Davis’ intent to sexually assault Polly. Given the nature of his previous crimes and the similarity with Polly’s case, police believe that Davis abducted Polly with intent to assault her and ultimately killed her when he was done with her.
Davis, on the other hand, tells a different story. According to Davis, he kidnapped Polly and had no intent to assault her. He blamed his decision on drugs and alcohol, and ultimately claimed that his actions were carried out in a sort of stupor. Once he came to, he realized what he had done and strangled Polly in a panic. In a final attempt to clear his name, Davis stated in court that Polly’s father had molested her, resulting in Mr. Klaas trying to harm his daughter’s killer in the middle of the court hearing.
Ultimately, Davis led investigators to Polly’s body and made it possible for her family to put her to rest once and for all. In the end, no one can say for certain what happened when Davis abducted Polly, but a light was lost in the day that she was taken. Polly, her friends, and her family will never be the same because of this man’s actions. However, it has led to certain favorable outcomes including more support for missing children foundations, her father’s commitment to supporting parents with missing children, and the interest in developing new laws to keep criminals like Davis off the street. Polly’s family has done an incredible job of keeping her spirit alive and have used a terrible tragedy for the greater good.
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