SAN DIEGO — The man accused of killing Danielle van Dam told police that he was "pretty drunk" the night the girl disappeared and does not remember the hours after he left a bar where he was trying to socialize with her mother, according to a police tape-recording played for the jury Wednesday.
"I don't remember how I got home--that's how bad it was," Westerfield told a police interrogation specialist two days after the 7-year-old disappeared. In the same interview, Westerfield denied any involvement in the abduction.
Witnesses have testified that Westerfield was at a neighborhood bar the night of Feb. 1 while Danielle's mother and two of her female friends were enjoying a "girls' night out" of drinking, dancing and smoking marijuana. The girl was found to be missing about 9 a.m. the next morning.
Prosecutors allege that Westerfield--his advances spurned by Brenda van Dam and the other women--left the bar early, sneaked into the Van Dam home and kidnapped Danielle. Her nude, decomposing body was found Feb. 27 in a rural area.
In the interview with interrogation specialist Paul Redden, Westerfield denied any amorous intentions toward Brenda van Dam, who lived two doors away, saying, "She's not my type."
He also said he could not recall Danielle.
"If you brought [Danielle] in right now, I wouldn't be able to tell her from five other, 10 other, kids," Westerfield is heard saying on the tape-recording. "I wouldn't be able to recognize her."
Prosecutors allege that Westerfield stuffed Danielle's body into his recreational vehicle and, after a meandering trip of several hundred miles to the Imperial Valley desert, dumped her body "like trash" in the Dehesa area of San Diego County.
In his interview with Redden, Westerfield said he was in the desert scouting for camping places to take his son.
"Does this sound weird to you?" he asked Redden. "It's perfectly normal for me."
At one point, Westerfield referred to a spot in the desert as "this little place we were at." Redden said he found the use of "we" suspicious, because Westerfield insisted that he was alone.
In court documents released before the trial, Redden is quoted as saying that he concluded that Westerfield was lying about not being involved in the disappearance.