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Doctor Describes Sad State of Polly Klaas’ Remains

May 6, 1996 GMT

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ A doctor who performed the autopsy on the body of Polly Klaas testified today to the pitiful state of the 12-year-old’s remains.

Dr. A.J. Chapman said the skull had separated from the body and the hair had fallen away from the head. Some of the body was mummified; some was reduced to the skeleton.

The testimony, delivered in a matter-of-fact monotone, proved too much for Polly’s family.

Polly’s father, grandfather and grandmother left the courtroom shortly after Chapman began talking, grandmother B.J. blinking back tears.


Polly was kidnapped from her home during a slumber party on Oct. 1, 1993. A nationwide search followed. Her body was not found until more than two months later, when defendant Richard Allen Davis led officers to the site.

Chapman said the state of the body made it impossible to determine the exact cause of death. But he said a piece of cloth and rope, each tied into loops approximately 3 inches in diameter, indicated she was strangled.

Jurors looked on solemn-faced as Chapman discoursed on the process of decomposition and how the presence of animals and insects can affect it.

Chapman said it was impossible to detect the presence of any semen.

``There was no identifiable remnant of any organ,″ he said.

The question of sexual assault is the main contested issue in the trial. Defense attorney Barry Collins has conceded Davis committed the kidnapping and killing, but said Davis denies any sexual contact with Polly. His argument is seen as an effort to keep his client from facing the death penalty.

The main physical evidence is an unrolled condom found near the spot off Pythian Road where Davis was questioned by sheriff’s deputies on the night of the kidnapping. At the time, the deputies were unaware a child had been kidnapped.