For the first time since Jessica Ridgeway went missing, Marc Klaas is sharing his thoughts in an exclusive interview with FOX31 Denver.
Klaas said he has been closely following the developments in Jessica’s kidnapping and murder case.
He said, “My heart just breaks. Everyone in the country has been following this case, hoping against hope this little girl will be found alive. I’m not surprised given the circumstances that began to emerge that she was found dead. Now it is a desperate attempt to find the killer, who is probably a man and my best guess he would be someone who is familiar with her routing and took advantage of that for the worst possible outcome.”
Klaas became a reluctant expert on child abductions and murders after his own 12-year-old daughter, Polly was taken at knife-point from a slumber party at her California home in 1993.
Her killer, Richard Allen Davis, was eventually caught and sentenced to death.
Davis had a lengthy criminal record, and Klaas believes Jessica’s killer does as well. And he believes that may help solve her murder.
Klaas said, “Usually people who have committed other crimes especially heinous crimes, we know who they are. They’ve been through the system before, their DNA collected, a pattern established. Law enforcement has a lot of tools especially the FBI. I hope it happens sooner than rather than later.”
Klaas has done extensive research since his daughter’s death. He told FOX31 Denver, “The thing is nobody is talking about this issue, no one has defined it as a problem that there are solutions to this issue. This is a good time to jump start that conversation, and I can think of no better place to jump start that conversation than Westminster, Colorado, Where they are dealing with the fear factor with just the worst case scenario playing out.”
Klaas doesn’t believe the government needs to legislate a solution. He believes people need to start talking about the issue on the street corner, at school board meetings and in homes.
He said, “This is not kind of issue that needs to be legislated. It needs to be a conversation by people saying we’ve had enough and we’re going to do something about this.”
Klass says protecting our children doesn’t need to be high tech or cost a lot of money.
He says parents need to have a frank discussion with their kids.
He says kids should always tell their parents where they are going to be and who they will be with. He suggests safety in numbers, and teaching kids to travel with at least one other person, preferably an adult.
Klaas added, “They should also know that if something feels wrong, it probably is wrong, and they should put distance between themselves and whatever it is that is making them feeling vulnerable or uneasy. I also believe it is good idea to have a cell phone at this point, even younger than 10 so they do have that 24/7 connection with responsible adults in their lives.”
Beyond that, he says communities need to start a grass roots effort to beef up surveillance when kids are going to and from school.
Klaas said, “This is something that could be initiated through a neighborhood watch program, it could be initiated through neighbors working together, taking turns walking kids to and from school, it could be a church project or elderly project.”
For more tips on protecting our kids: http://www.klaaskids.org/index.htm