Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Killing of Polly Klaas

Polly's Last Night

It is hard to know for certain what exactly happened to Polly after she was kidnapped.  The only person who knows is Davis — and he has reason to evade and lie.

Before he confessed, several police officers tried to get the truth out of Davis.  Most took a harsh, confrontational approach.  The suspect remained mum.  Then Sgt. Mike Meese, a balding 40-year-old, tried a softer approach.  "The goal at the time was to find out where Polly was," Meese said about his "nice" treatment of the reviled Davis.  "I think that what I tried to do with him was treat him with as much dignity and respect that I could accord to another human being. There are people I know that don't feel that way because of what he says he has done, but I never talked down to him . . . I had a conversation with him.  It was done in such a way that he wasn't backed into a corner per se."

Davis responded.

He told Meese that when he arrived in Petaluma, he planned to look up his mother who was living there.  He could not find her.  By happenstance, he ran into some guys selling marijuana.  He told Meese that he believed the joint he smoked was laced with PCP and so his memory of what happened  afterward was foggy.

The story of the spiked joint is probably untrue.  Drug testing was a condition of Davis' parole, and  he passed a drug test the next day.

He did not remember going to Polly's house but he recalled breaking into it.  He could not give a reason as to why he took the little girl.      

During his confession, Davis sometimes became emotional.  Tears filled his eyes but it was not clear if they were for Polly or for himself or just a put-on to win sympathy.  At one point Meese patted the child-killer on the back and Davis told him, "[You] ain't got to show me no consideration or no respect.  I know I'm a piece of shit."

The suspect claimed he drove around aimlessly for awhile, trying to figure out what he should do now that he had a kidnapped child in his car.  He untied Polly during the drive.  At one point, his Pinto got stuck in Dana Jaffe's mud.  He took the little girl out of the car, he claimed, and left her — alive and neither bound nor gagged — in a nearby hillside.

Then he went through the encounter with the cops about his trespassing.  Once his car was freed, he went back to where he left his victim.  He thought she was sleeping.  She awoke and said, "I thought you had left me."

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