Rights offering detail :
Taken In the Night: The Polly Klaas Story
July 19, 2021
Marc Klaas
Non-fiction: True crime
Marc Klaas has been a child safety and victims’ rights advocate ever since the kidnap and murder of his daughter. He was driven by a clear vision and an unyielding determination to create meaning out of chaos.

In October of 1993, Polly Klaas was kidnapped at knife point from her home during a slumber party while her mother was asleep in the bedroom next door. She was twelve years old. She was later strangled to death by her abductor, Richard Allen Davis, who was found guilty of the crime three years later.

It took sixty-five harrowing days, filled with misinformation, false hope, shocking revelations and tragic missed opportunities for her father to find out what happened to his daughter. But finally knowing that Polly was dead left him with no way to fill his days or nights until he vowed that Polly’s tragedy would represent more than a statistic and instead needed to be a flashpoint for change and advocacy.

In the aftermath of Polly’s tragedy, outpourings of grief and rage were expressed throughout the country as Polly became America’s Child. She was featured on the cover of People Magazine with the caption “How could this have happened?” Determined that Polly’s tragedy have a greater purpose, the focus of Marc’s life has been to answer that question and to prevent it from ever happening again.

While waiting for Polly’s killer to be brought to justice in a court of law, Marc founded the non-profit www.KlaasKids.org, became a go to Cable News crime analyst, and editorial page regular. While he struggled spiritually and his path forward was fraught with tears and anger, as he stood next to President Clinton, surrounded by dignitaries in a Rose Garden ceremony dedicated to Polly “whose death galvanized a nation,” it was a transformative moment, and he began to find healing in his new calling.

Without Marc Klaas’s dedication to child safety there wouldn’t be Megan’s Law, which requires that people convicted of sex crimes notify law enforcement agencies of where they intend to live after they leave prison and stay registered as offenders for the rest of their lives. There wouldn’t be an advanced multilingual system of flyer distribution and search tactics. And there would not be the Amber Alert, which plays such an important role in all child abduction scenarios.

This is the untold story of what happened to Polly Klaas. It is also the story of how her father had to extricate himself from the depths of despair by ensuring that his daughter’s death is given meaning and her legacy endures. It is a cautionary tale with the potential to educate and inform parents while enabling children to make good decisions that will never compromise their safety. The circumstances surrounding Polly Klaas’s kidnapping and murder ignited the public’s awareness and was the impetus for change. Her father Marc is responsible for the implementation of major child safety protocols and laws throughout the world. Ultimately this is a story that offers inspiration from real world events and demonstrates how, together, and individually, we have the power to rise above circumstance.

Marc knows that he is not alone in his grief, but through his work he has met many people like him who fight to make sense of madness by forcing some measure of good from it.

Until now he has never told this story.
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