van Dam family weighs lawsuit against "Murderabilia" website

Posted at 7:11 PM, Nov 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-21 14:07:46-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- From an autographed Charles Manson handprint to a Christmas card signed by a San Diego killer, so-called 'Murderabilia' items are now up for sale, prompting one local victim's family to fight back.

On one of these sites this day - dubbed a "True Crime Collectible" site, Manson's face and collectibles related to him were placed on the home page, from autographed stamps to a signed handprint for $900.

"We find it abhorren that someone would profit from someone else's pain," said Spencer Busby.

Busby represents the van Dam family. In 2002, 7-year-old Danielle van Dam disappeared from her Sabre Springs bedroom. Her body was found weeks later.

Neighbor David Westerfield was later arrested and convicted of her murder.  He is currently on death row in San Quentin State Prison.

10news searched the website and found two items related to Westerfield.  One is a Christmas card signed by him selling for $30.

Another is a drawing of Westerfield with an adult version of Danielle, signed by the illustrator, who is believed to be an inmate.

Price tag? Nearly $200. The site has been seen by Brenda van Dam, Danielle's mother.

"She found it outrageous, disgusting and an insult to her family," said Busby.

The family is now weighing a lawsuit against the site, which we aren't naming, to prevent drawing more attention to it.

There are laws preventing profiting from crimes, but those apply to the criminals.

"The family doesn't appreciate people out there making money off the death of their daughter, period," said Busby.

Busby says they could sue for misuse of Danielle's likeness, inflicting emotional distress, and invasion of privacy.        

"They didn't ask to be public figures. They are entitled to their privacy and their seclusion.  Their case is over, and this is bringing up old wounds," said Busby.

Busby says a suit could also help determine if Westerfield is somehow profiting from the sales, which could lead to that money being seized.

10news reached out to the website for comment but have yet to hear back.

After the 10news story aired Monday evening, it appears the Westerfield-related items were removed from the site.