by Virginia McCullough


God in heaven heard our cries,
and angel's tears filled somber skies.
Out of anger and out of shame
We quickly sought to place the blame.
It was as though secretly we shared
fear/of a finger pointing in the mirror."

-- a poem, "For Polly,"
By Captain Patrick T. Parks
"Who Killed Polly?" (Chapter 10) by Frank Spiering


On October 1, 1993, beautiful 12-year-old Polly Klaas was kidnapped from the safety of her own bedroom in the small town of Petaluma, California The man with the knife confronted three young girls enjoying a slumber party and demanded, "Who lives here?"  Polly replied, "I do" and she vanished into the night with the stranger.

The Petaluma Police Department responded quickly to the 911 call placed by Polly's frightened mother, Eve Nichol.  The 46 officers of the Petaluma Police Department  were under the command of Captain Dennis DeWitt.  Assisting the Captain in the investigation into the kidnapping of the girl would be Captain Patrick T. Parks and Sergeant Michael Meese.  Sergeant Mike Kerns would become the spokesperson for the police department handling the massive media that descended on the tiny town.

The haunting words composed by Captain Parks in his poetic tribute to Polly Klaas possess the ring of truth acquired by insider knowledge.

"Out of anger and out of shame
We quickly sought to place the blame"

All of America was outraged when we learned that a child had been stolen from the sanctity of her own home.  Anger is a natural and justifiable emotion when a villain destroys the security of our American dream.  This is a given -- but shame?  How many Americans felt shame when Polly was kidnapped?

What would these hard-working Petaluma officers know that would fill them with shame as they investigated this high profile case?

They knew that between 10:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., a stranger armed with a knife and carrying a duffel bag threatened Polly and her two friends; the man took Polly away with him after he verified she lived there.

Responding to mother Eve Nichol's 11:03 p.m. call to 911 the Petaluma Police arrive at 427 Fourth Street by 11:09 p.m.  It is said that at 11:13 p.m., a description of the kidnapper is radioed to all law enforcement in Sonoma County including sheriff's deputies throughout the county.  It is initially believed that the kidnapper is on foot.

However, less than one hour after Polly Klaas "goes missing", the man who stole her takes her to a home at 7565 Pythian Road, Santa Rosa, California.  The location is also identified as 7565 Highway 12 and/or 7565 Sonoma Highway.  To reach this property a traveler turns off of Highway 12 onto Pythian Road.  Once on Pythian Road one sees a large, beautiful winery on the right and to the left are many buildings belonging to Sonoma County. The road begins a slow gentle climb up the hill but it soon narrows until two cars can barely pass each other.  The climb becomes steeper until the driver reaches a dead end.  There the road is closed by a gate posted with signs declaring "No Trespassing" and "Beware of Guard Dogs".  A fork to the left of the dead end leads to several more residences; the road is also posted "No Trespassing".

Directly opposite this drive is another posted driveway leading up the hill to the right.  The drive is unpaved with a sharp drop off on the right hand side to the vineyard below.  The narrow pathway has a steep, rugged hill bordering it on the left.  As one reaches the top of the hill they notice a 1960s style ranch house well concealed from the circular drive by a wall of fencing and foliage.  To the right side of the home is a strange, two-story structure of wood and rock just under 100' long.  It appears to be some type of storage facility but no access doors or windows are visible from the driveway.

It was to this property that Richard Alan Davis brought Polly Klaas just before midnight on October 1, 1993.  A home, a storage unit and 188.3 acres of prime Sonoma County real estate was the destination of the stranger and the child.  Who owned this isolated property and why did the man bring the girl here?  The owner was listed as the [Redacted] Phillips Living Trust and the principal beneficiary of that trust was Naomi Edith Phillips Knock.  In twelve pages of  paper work dated March 10, 1994 and submitted to the court by Michael J. Fiorentino, Special Agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration, Mrs. Knock's relationship to her husband, John Richard Knock is detailed.  (Click to read.)  The Pythian Road property is identified in the Fiorentino declaration as "Property No. 1".   The government informant named in the declaration, Sonia Vacca, was the primary money courier for John Richard Knock and his business partner, Claude Louis Duboc, from 1987 or 1988 until Vacca's arrest on October 12, 1993 -- twelve days after the kidnapping of Polly Klaas.   Vacca estimated Knock made 50 million dollars from his smuggling ventures and Knock invested five million dollars in real estate in the San Francisco Bay area.  In paragraph 15, page 4 of the Fiorentino declaration "Vacca said that Knock had his property listed under foreign companies, or in his wife's name, Naomi, or various other names in his wife's family".  The declaration traces the history of the Knock/Duboc organization from the infamous 1988 "Drug Tug" case that resulted in the jailing of tug captain Calvin Robinson to the case centering on Claude Duboc  who,  the United States government alleged,  ran a marijuana and hashish trafficking organization that netted $165 million every year.

The Claude Duboc case is featured in author Rodney Stich's 1999 book, "Drugging America - A Trojan Horse".  (Click to read.  Stich is the only author to detail the relationship between Claude Duboc and his duplicitous attorneys. This relationship led to Duboc's life sentence and the forfeiture of all of his assets to the United States Government.   Of course Duboc's attorneys, including "dream team" members Robert Shapiro and F. Lee Bailey,  took their cut off the top.   According to a June 4, 1996 article by ABC News, "Bailey began representing Duboc in March of 1994, about three months before joining the defense team for Simpson's double murder trial.  Bailey said he was drawn into both cases by Los Angeles attorney Shapiro and traded a $500,000 referral fee due Shapiro for the Duboc case for what Bailey was owed for his role in Simpson's defense."  [United States v. Claude Luis Duboc, Case No. GCR 94-01009-MMP, United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida, Gainesville Divison)

The infamous "Flea" Bailey became lead counsel and brought on board another expensive attorney, Ed Shohat of the Miami law firm of Bierman, Shohat, Loewy, Perry & Klien.  Counsel fought counsel who retaliated against counsel and, of course, all at the expense of very rich Claude Duboc who was sitting in a Florida jail, having been convinced by his original  attorneys to waive extradition to the United States of America.

This case would become F. Lee Bailey's Waterloo.  In the 1996 federal trial conducted in Tallahassee, Florida, Claude Duboc was convicted.  But it was not just Duboc who lost.   When his client lost, so too did F. Lee Bailey.  Following Duboc's conviction, Bailey was ordered to forfeit $17 million in BioChemPharma, Inc. stock that Bailey insisted constituted his legal fees.    This dispute between Bailey and the federal government over Duboc's international treasure trove would lead to Bailey spending 44 days in jail and eventually to his disbarment.  Two of the witnesses testifying for the federal government against Bailey were his former  associates, Robert Shapiro and Ed Shohat.

Shohat earned $11,867 in legal fees before Bailey convinced Duboc to fire him.  In May of 1996 Shohat sued Bailey for slander because, court records disclose, Bailey said Shohat "was a liar, could not conduct himself with honesty and fidelity, was guilty of misconduct, was guilty of a felony, would conspire to kidnap a criminal defendant's child, and could not be trusted to conduct himself honorably in or out of court" (emphasis added).  Bailey's statements were made in Bailey's affidavit to Judge Maurice Paul dated May 10, 1996. The statements were privileged as being  statements made during the course of judicial proceedings.  Shohat's lawsuit argued that the statements made by Bailey did not fall under this protection statute because the statements were irrelevant to the case.  The specific statements at issue were shocking.
AFFIDAVIT OF FRANCIS L. BAILEY, JR. DATED 5/10/96, filed in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida, Case No. 94-1009, entiteld United States v. Duboc et al.

    5.    In the fall of 1994, Mr. Shohat devised a scheme whereby he would arrange a drug importation from Colombia about which the authorities would be tipped, with the resultant credit flowing to Duboc.  He claimed that he had used this scheme successfully in the past.  I was asked to fund the venture.  I refused, telling my client  that I did not wish to wind up in a cell next to Shohat, and that such a move, if made without prior DEA approval,  would constitute a felony.

    6.   Shortly thereafter Mr. Shohat proposed that the children of John Knock, Duboc's fugitive co-defendant believed to have more money than Duboc, be kidnapped and held to induce Knock to surrender, all to the credit of Duboc.  I was told that kidnappers in Ft. Lauderdale were prepared to go forward, and that I should fund the deal.  I refused, pointing out to Duboc that such an undertaking would be a serious felony, and that in all probability his own children would be kidnapped by the very people he was hiring to kidnap Knock's and held for a large ransom.

    7.    As a result of these two incidents, both of which were discussed with SA Carl Lilley in Gainesville in October 1994,  I advised Duboc to fire Shohat, to which Duboc agreed.  A motion to strike Shohat's appearance was subsequently filed and allowed.

The children of John Richard Knock were the target of a conspiracy to kidnap them, according to Bailey's affidavit.  The kidnap conspiracy was an attempt to force asset-rich Knock to surrender himself in exchange for the safety of his children.  If there was a conspiracy to steal Knock's children to realize the largest asset forfeiture in United States history, could there have been a like conspiracy to steal Polly Klaas as a part of a drug deal gone bad?  Several sources in law enforcement, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that rumors at the time of kidnapping, shouted that there was a sting operation involving international drug dealers that had to be protected at all costs.  The price for protecting the largest asset forfeiture in United States history might well have been the life of Polly Klaas.

The home that Davis took Polly to that fateful night was owned by the [Redacted] Phillips Living Trust,  but who occupied the house at the top of the hill?  The chief witness to the events that occurred on Pythian Road the night of October 1, 1993,  is a mother named Dana Jaffe and her young daughter, Kalila.  Dana Jaffe further identifies herself on May 9, 2000 when she testifies in the trial of the United States v. John Knock and Albert Madrid in the court of Judge Maurice M. Paul.  Assistant United States Attorney James Hankinson questions Ms. Jaffe on direct examination and in response to his questions she states the following:

"My full name is Dana Louise Jafe, J-A-F-E."   Here Dana Jaffe spells her name with only one "f"; a spelling that differs from all other court documents, social security number papers, credit reports and newspaper articles documented prior to this court appearance.    She states that she is currently working as a banquet chef for the Sonoma Mission Inn, an employer she has worked for on and off since 1989.

Jaffe is then asked if she is related to the defendant, John Knock.  She states that Knock is her brother in law and that her sister, Naomi, is married to Mr. Knock.  Jaffe states that she moved back to California from Philadelphia in 1989 and moved into a residence located on Melita Road with her sister, Naomi.  She is then asked if she moved to another residence in that same general area and she states,  "Yes, it was right off of Sonoma Highway".  She furthers identifies the home as "the Hill House".   She states that she rented the home and paid her rent to a property manager, Liz Goodwin,  who was also involved in the [Redacted] Phillips Living Trust.  Jaffe states that she was originally paying $700 a month rent which also included the 199.3 acres; later her rent was lowered to $450 when she assumed some maintenance duties.

Jaffe states that she moved into the Hill House around the same time that her sister, Naomi, moved to "the Kahala" house in Hawaii.  The prosecutor asks her if she visited the Knocks several times late in 1993.  She states that when she visited the Knocks in November 1993, she assumed that they were buying the home in Hawaii.  Jaffe stated that John Knock was present when she visited and, in fact, she took a phone message for John at the Hawaii home.  The phone message simply said, "Tell him that Claude (Duboc) called".

Knock's sister-in-law, Dana, describes her brother-in law's "rather abrupt" departure from Hawaii in late 1993.  In December of 1993 Jaffe states that she once again spoke with a person identifying himself as "Claude" and asking for John.

When AUSA Hankinson asks Jaffe if John Knock ever told her what he did for a living, she replies, "No, sir".  However, she is later asked about an incident where a woman she did not know came up to the "Hill House" and left a briefcase with Jaffe.  The female told Jaffe that the briefcase contained money for Naomi and that it was from "a friend of a friend of a friend".  The stranger claimed that she did not know either Naomi or John Knock.  Jaffe claimed that the briefcase was locked and she stuck it under the bed at the "Hill House" and then telephoned Naomi in Hawaii to tell her what had happened.  Approximately one and one-half months later Naomi picked up the briefcase at roughly the same time that Mr. Knock was arrested in France.  The prosecutor points out to his witness, Jaffe,  that Knock was arrested in April of 1996.

Finally Jaffe is asked if she is familiar with a fellow named Marshall Way and she states that she is, but she "does not know him very well".   Perhaps she did not, but Marshall Way and his many connections are described in a search warrant signed by United States Customs Service Special Agent Gregory Small on October 25, 1993.  Detailing the enormous international sting operation that began with a confidential informant's tip in April of 1993, Small  describes the day to day, week to week, month to month observations until he announces on page 9 and 10, "On October 20, 1993, a federal complaint was filed in the Northern District of California charging Marshall WAY and three others with the conspiracy to distribute twenty tons of marijuana."  Way appeared before Magistrate Brennan and was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service (UCMS).

The 40 tons of pot had been brought into the port of Seattle by ship and downloaded and stored in Unit G, 25 Commerical Boulevard, Novato, California in Sonoma County's sister County -- Marin County.  The domino effect had begun, that would ultimately result is life sentences for John Richard Knock and Claude Duboc.  Why didn't the so-called "legitimate media"publicize any connection between an international sting operation and the disappearance of 12-year-old Polly Klaas?  Had the cover up already begun only twenty days into her kidnapping?

Dana Jaffe was the RP (reporting party) that phoned in a "suspicious vehicle" parked on her Pythian Road property.  Jaffe had placed the call from a pay phone at a deli store near Pythian Road and she waited there for Sonoma County Sheriff Deputies Howard and Rankin to respond.  The deputies went back up the hill with Jaffe and her daughter and interviewed a man whose identification showed him to be Richard Allen Davis.  Davis appeared disheveled and  was drinking an open can of beer in front of the deputies.  The officers noticed additional cans of beer in the car.  The deputies told him to discard the open can, attached chains to his car, got the vehicle out the quagmire, and sent the man on his way.

Later Davis would state that Polly Klaas was alive on the very steep hillside bordering the left hand side of the driveway and when the deputies departed the area, he came back to retrieve her.  Allegedly Davis killed the girl on the outskirts of Cloverdale where her body was found in the early wintery days of December 1993.

Dana Jaffe resurfaces again on November 27, 1993 when she calls the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department to report she accidentally stumbled upon what would later be called "key pieces of evidence" while on a hike near the site where she had seen the intruder on her property the night of kidnapping.  The evidence includes several items of clothing, an unrolled condom, a condom wrapper, wrist ties and strapping tape.  Deputy sheriff McManus takes the evidence back to the sheriff's office where he lays it out to dry and photograph.  He leaves the condom overnight and picks it up the next day.

The very next day, on November 28, 1993,  Sonoma County Sheriff Deputies Howard and Rankin are called into their office by Detective Vanbebber and each man is asked to recall the events of October 1, 1993 (Incident History #LS932740300).  Neither deputy sheriff had completed a written police report at the time of the incident.  They are now asked to complete a supplement report in detail, the day after Jaffe discovers more damming evidence.  Their reports are very similar and each report specifies that Richard Allen Davis told each officer that he was on the Pythian Road property just before midnight "sight seeing" (Case no. 93-1128-14).

Two days later, on November 30, 1993, in the Mendocino County Jail,  Richard Allen Davis is interviewed by Petaluma Police Officer Larry Pelton and FBI Special Agent J. Larry Taylor.  Petaluma Police Sgt. Mike Meese makes the introductions and is present for the interview.  Davis keeps saying that he thinks he is being interviewed for getting a DUI which is a violation of his parole. On Page 5 of the transcript Davis talks about the incident that occurred at 7565 Pythian Road on October 1, 1993.  He states:

"Anyway, dudes I used to know a long time ago.  Thought I'd get and out and get in contact with them and, you know, try and cause work wasn't going right.  I thought I'd be able to, dude, I use (sic) to deal weed with a long time ago, and I ended up getting stuck on some people's property and the sheriffs had to pull me out of a ditch."

In the last paragraph on page 5, Davis continues:

"....the next thing I know there these two sheriff's unit and a... they told me it was marijuana county..."

Finally in the last paragraph on page 6, Davis states:

"...they got a gate there right - says Private Property, I didn't know whether to keep on driving, I didn't want to drive in nobody's yard, because I know people who grow stuff you drive into there (sic) yard they (unintelligible) start shooting."

Officer Larry Pelton asks Davis, "What's the name of the friend you were going to see?" Davis replies:

"I can't say that."

On page 19, Davis again states:

 "Yes, No.  That's why I was trying to go do a drug deal instead of getting back into crime, you know.  I'm done with robberies.......You know I do another robbery or anything and I'm going back the rest of my life".

 On page 20 Davis tries to convince Officer Pelton once again that he was after drugs the night he got stuck on Pythian Road the night of   October 1, 1993.  He says:

"So I figured well, you know, if I can find these dudes, you know, I, I never did them wrong.  Maybe they'll kick me down half a pound and maybe I can keep myself going and start kicking 'em back, you know."

Who is telling the truth about the Pythian Road events the night of Polly Klaas's kidnapping?  We might never know, but, as citizens and parents,  we should not allow ourselves to accept one side's version of the truth while that side withholds the necessary information to see the events in their full perspective. Our well being, and the well being of our children, depends on obtaining the full truth about why our children "go missing" and end up murdered while the multi-million dollar war on drugs continues to fail.

If we do not demand the truth from those sworn to protect us, we can echo the last two lines of Petaluma Police Chief Patrick T. Parks ode to Polly Klaas:

"It was as though secretly we shared
fear/of a finger pointing in the mirror."

Virginia McCullough ©  3/4/2002