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Mother hurriedly makes trip to bring her daughter home

by Phil Johnson
| September 10, 2013 1:03 PM

Sandra Stapley knows a mother’s anguish at even the thought of losing a child.

“I was so relieved when I heard she was safe,” Stapley said as she approached Coeur d’Alene on Monday. “All I want to do is listen to her and hear what is bothering her. She has been through a lot, and I don’t want to push her.”

Stapley is the mother of Sandra Laffoon, the woman who was allegedly assaulted by Dan “D.J.” Savage on Aug. 29.

Savage was arrested Monday in Portland, Ore., as police narrowed in on his cell phone signal.

Stapley said she did not know whether her daughter left willingly with Dan “D.J.” Savage Jr. 

“All I know is she cashed her check last Sunday and the next day she’s gone,” Stapley, 56, said. “She’s been trying not talk to him on Facebook, but I know he had been trying to chat with her.”

Stapley said she had spoken with her daughter five or six times since police located her with Savage in a Portland laundry. Stapley described her daughter as distraught.

“She’s been crying and saying she only wants me,” Stapley said. “She keeps calling asking when I will get there.”

Stapley, a former truck driver, began the eight-hour drive around 4:30 p.m.

Laffoon’s brother, Carl Holcomb, 17, said his sister’s disappearance has been a stress on the entire family.

“I’m just happy as hell they found her safe,” Holcomb said. 

Laffoon’s family’s feelings toward Savage have soured since a domestic dispute that occurred three weeks ago.

“I heard he abused her really bad,” Stapley said. “He might have some heart somewhere. Some people tell me he is real nice, some say he is real bad to women. If he can get some counseling maybe that could help him turn around. I just don’t want to see this happen again.”

According to Holcomb, the family spent five hours searching the Yaak on Sunday without any luck.

“I’m just concerned about how she feels inside,” Stapley said. “This has taken a toll on me. I’m pretty tough, but I’ve been crying. I didn’t know if she was alive or dead. I can’t wait to be there for her.”