Patterson to promote children’s safety with resource fair
by Nick Rappley | Patterson Irrigator
Oct 13, 2011 | 1779 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Marc Klass
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What: Child Safety Fair

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22,

Where: North and south city parks

Info: Jason Hayward, 895-8180

A nationally renowned advocate for missing children will attend a city-sponsored Child Safety Fair on Oct. 22 in Patterson’s north and south parks.

Marc Klaas, founder of the Sausalito-based KlaasKids Foundation, will give out child safety information and describe what to do when a child goes missing, while representatives from his organization scan fingerprints, take photographs and collect DNA samples of children for their parents.

The fair, which will be attended by Tabitha Cardenas, mother of 4-year-old Patterson murder-kidnapping victim Juliani Cardenas, will also feature police and fire crews and include a K-9 demonstration and bounce houses.

Patterson City Councilwoman Deborah Novelli, who has spearheaded the effort, said she was moved after hearing Klaas speak earlier this year.

“I was inspired by Marc Klaas and all the good that he has done,” Novelli said. “Even one missing child is one too many.”

Klaas served as the keynote speaker during the April 1 Heroes with Heart Gala dinner in Sacramento, where several law enforcement officers and FBI agents were honored for their investigative efforts after Juliani was kidnapped. They also appeared together at a June 25 community safety awareness event in Turlock.

Tabitha Cardenas’ ex-boyfriend, 27-year-old Jose Esteban Rodriguez, pulled the boy from his grandmother’s arms Jan. 18 at her home on Barros Street before speeding away in his car. Juliani’s body was found in the Delta-Mendota Canal near Santa Nella two weeks later, and Rodriguez’s body was found in the canal near Crows Landing on Feb. 12.

Klaas has experienced similar tragedy. His daughter, Polly, was kidnapped Oct. 1, 1993, and murdered. A wanted parolee named Richard Allen Davis invaded the bedroom of the 12-year-old girl in their family home in Petaluma and snatched her in front of friends who were attending a sleepover. Davis subsequently strangled and killed the girl, whose body was found Dec. 3, 1993, near Cloverdale.

The KlaasKids Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to the safety and recovery of missing children, and it advocates for public policies that keep children safe in their communities. The group has helped more than more than 7,000 families of missing children, counseling them on ways to find their kids and work with police, according to the foundation’s website. The group, which also creates and distributes posters of missing children for the families of victims, has a 24-hour hotline.

The safety fair later this month will also include a talk by crossing guards, who will discuss proper use of crosswalks. In addition, the American Red Cross will share information about Internet child safety and resources.

For information: www.pollyklaas.org or http://klaaskids.org.

Nick Rappley can be reached at 892-6187 or nick@pattersonirrigator.com.

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