SAN JOSE — The sound of a car door opening. A raspy voice giving directions: "Keep going. Keep going. Right there." Then silence.
The soundtrack of the journey to find what remained of Polly Klaas echoed in a courtroom Wednesday as jurors heard audiotapes that police made of their bleak pilgrimage.
The tapes record the dramatic hours on Dec. 4, 1993, when Richard Allen Davis led police to the body, dumped beside U.S. 101 about 75 miles north of San Francisco.
Listeners tensed as they relived the moment when hope died that Polly would ever come home alive. It ended with just a few words.
"Right over there . . . by the bush," jurors heard Davis saying as the police car he was riding in pulled into a field beside the highway.
Shortly after that the tape went blank.
At that point Davis and police got out of the car to walk to where Polly's body lay, covered by brush and plywood. Davis walked in front, then stopped abruptly, investigator Mike Meese testified Wednesday.
"He said he didn't want to go any closer to it," Meese said.
"We were able to identify a portion of her body--actually a skull," Meese said. In fact, the skull had separated from the body in the two months it had lain in the field.
Back in the car--and back on tape--Davis asked Meese about the condition of the remains. "Was she decomposed?" he said.
A juror put his hands to his eyes, others in the courtroom looked fixedly at the walls or jammed fists to mouths.
In the front row, Polly's grandmother bit her thumb and clutched a piece of crumpled tissue. Beside her, Polly's father clenched his hands and, from time to time, squeezed his eyes shut.
Davis is accused of abducting Polly from her bedroom during a slumber party on Oct. 1, 1993, and later murdering her.