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 Polly Hannah Klaas

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Polly Hannah Klaas

  • Birth 3 Jan 1981 Fairfax, Marin County, California, USA
  • Death 1 Oct 1993 Petaluma, Sonoma County, California, USA
  • Burial Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea
  • Memorial ID 6887238

Murder Victim. She was kidnapped at knife point from her mother's home during a slumber party in Petaluma, California, on October 1, 1993 and was later strangled. The kidnapper (later identified as Richard Allen Davis) tied up her two friends, pulled pillowcases over their heads and told them to count to 1,000, and them abducted her. Over the next two months, about 4,000 people helped search for her and television shows such as "20/20" and "America's Most Wanted" covered the kidnapping. During the initial search, police officers encountered Davis in a nearby rural area, where his Ford Pinto was stuck in the mud. Unaware of the All Points Bulletin (APB), the local police released him after calling his driver's license number in to their dispatcher (which only traced his driving record, but not his criminal record). It is believed that he then drove to an isolated spot, murdered her, and buried her in a shallow grave. On November 30, 1993 police arrested Davis for violation of parole during routine patrol and the arresting officer recognized him from police sketches. As his palm print had been found in her bedroom, he was charged with the crime. Four days later, he led police to her body near Cloverdale. Davis was tried and convicted on June 18, 1996 of first-degree murder and four special circumstances (robbery, burglary, kidnapping, and a lewd act on a child). On September 26, 1996 a San Jose Superior Court jury returned a verdict of death. At his formal sentencing by a judge, Davis provoked national outrage by taunting his victim's family by extending his middle finger to the courtroom television cameras. He still remains on death row at San Quentin State Prison, in Marin County, California. Since the murder, her father, Marc Klaas, became a child advocate and established the KlaasKids Foundation. He has made himself available to parents of kidnapped children, and has appeared frequently on the television news and talk shows "Larry King Live," "CNN Headline News," and "Nancy Grace." The original APB issued for her was broadcast on the California Highway Patrol (CHP) channel, which only CHP radios could receive. CHP practice changed after the case and such bulletins are now broadcast on all police channels. The story of her kidnapping and the manhunt for Davis was depicted in episode 1, season 1 of "The FBI Files" documentary television show, titled "Polly Klaas: Kidnapped" which premiered on October 20, 1998. Since her kidnapping and murder, politicians in California and other US states supported three strikes laws, and California's Three Strikes act was signed into law on March 8, 1994.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 28 Oct 2002
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6887238
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Polly Hannah Klaas (3 Jan 1981–1 Oct 1993), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6887238, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea.