On February 4, 2002, two days after the disappearance of Danielle van Dam, the San Diego Police Department's polygraph expert Paul Redden administered a lie detector test to David Westerfield. The test could not be used as evidence in Westerfield's recent trial, and its contents had remained hidden from the public until Judge William Mudd ordered the 155 pages of its transcripts released last week. The following has been excerpted from those transcripts.
Paul Redden: Okay, here's what we're doing today. I'm gonna go through and explain the polygraph to you....
David Westerfield: Okay.
PR: So you will easily understand, if you lie you get caught.
DW: Um hum.
PR: That's what this test's all about....
PR: So first off I need to know, is David a liar or not?
PR: Is that true? David is or is not a liar.
DW: No, I'm not a liar.
PR: Okay, you don't look like one.... Okay, there [are] four components that I'm going to attach to you...and they're lying on the table right there in front of you.
DW: Um hum.
PR: The first two are the pneumo tubes. That's the tube...with the chains. One goes around your stomach, one goes around your chest. They are measuring your respiratory functions.
DW: Makes sense.
PR: Next component is the GSR, acronym for galvanic skin response. Two finger plates will be attached to your fingers and measure your skin response, basically sweating.
PR: Final thing is the cardio-cuff, just like a blood pressure cuff, measures increases or decreases in blood pressure.
PR: Your pulse rate and the strength of your heartbeat.... All of the questions in the exam will be yes or no answers. I'll ask you a question; you'll say yes or no.
DW: So you don't want an explanation?
PR: No, we'll...cover all that ahead of time.... Okay, let me explain how a polygraph works, so this thing will kind of make sense to you.
DW: Um hum.
PR: A polygraph works on your autonomic nervous system. And these are areas you can't control, no one can control.
DW: Um hum.
PR: When a person attempts deception or tries to lie, things happen inside our bodies that we have no control over.... You can lie to everybody else in the world, but you can't lie to yourself.
PR: But human nature, we like to tell stories, and we like to exaggerate stories. The fish gets bigger and bigger, so to speak.
DW: Um hum....
PR: The difference in a polygraph situation, if [I] ask a question that you're gonna lie to me about, that wall's gonna...look like [the] movie screen of your life. You're gonna see it just like the day it happened. You know you're lying, that little guy's up in your head saying, hey, that's not the truth. Now you know I know that you're lying, because I'm measuring these physiological things that are going on inside.
DW: Um hum....
PR: Did you have anything to do with [Danielle's] disappearance?
PR: Okay, do you know where she could be located right now?
PR: Okay, so you're no way involved in this thing.
DW: No, huh-uh. I -- your just asking me that question upsets me, but no.
PR: What do you think should happen to the person or persons -- there could be more than one involved here -- that are responsible for the disappearance of Danielle?
DW: I think they should be taken out and shot immediately.
DW: But that's not -- I know that they'll get...three to five years, you know, five to ten, something like that.
DW: It's not a hard-and-fast rule.
DW: I think that they, you know, people that...hurt the innocent are bad people.
PR: Okay. Can you think of any reason...?
DW: Because the innocent are innocent.
DW: You know what I'm saying?
PR: Particularly children are very innocent.
DW: ....They're very trusting.
PR: Okay, questions are about to begin. Is your first name David?
PR: Do you believe me when I promise you I won't ask a question we haven't gone over word for word?
PR: Regarding whether or not you yourself are involved in the disappearance of Danielle van Dam, do you intend to answer truthfully each question about that?
PR: Regarding the disappearance of Danielle van Dam, do you suspect anyone in particular of being responsible for her missing?
PR: Regarding the disappearance of Danielle van Dam, do you know for sure who is responsible for her missing?
PR: Other than what you told me, during the first 40 years of your life, do you remember ever lying to anyone who loved and trusted you?
PR: Regarding the disappearance of Danielle van Dam, are you yourself in any way responsible for her missing?
PR: During the first 45 years of your life, do you remember ever hurting anyone when you were drunk or angry?
PR: Regarding the disappearance of Danielle van Dam, do you know her whereabouts at this time?
PR: Are you afraid I'll ask a question we haven't gone over word for word?
PR: That concludes the first test....
DW: That's the hard part?
PR: That's the hard part.
PR: 'Cause now I...know, and you know that I know, and...that's the hard part. And now you're gonna help me resolve this thing.
DW: Um hum.... Did I, did I pass?
PR: No, you did not pass my test. And I don't think that surprises you....
DW: It does surprise me. Well, part of it's in my past.
PR: You are somehow involved in the disappearance of Danielle van Dam?
DW: No, I'm not. I mean, I'll take the test over again.
PR: Well, let me show you what I've done today, okay?