By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Safety Saturday a success
safety saturday  pic 1
Five-month-old Kayla Sponaugle smiles while her mother Patricia holds her during a free fingerprinting at the GDI Safety Saturday. Nearly 200 children received free fingerprinting during the event. - photo by JONATHAN MCCORKELL / The Journal

More than 800 people visited GDI Insurance’s safety event on Saturday, held at GDI offices on Geer Road in Turlock.

The event featured visits from Marc and Violet Klaas, parents of Polly Klass who was kidnapped and killed in 1993; Tabitha Cardenas, mother of Juliani Cardenas; and Midsi Sanchez, who was kidnapped in 2000 at 8 years old, but escaped after four days in captivity.

Nearly 200 children were fingerprinted and given free photos with DNA kits and a nine-point plan on what to do if a child disappears. Parents appreciated the event.

“I’m very grateful that everyone here can get this service for fee. It’s beneficial because it can help facilitate a recovery versus having nothing to go by should —God forbid — anything happen to your children,” said Turlock resident and mother of two Karina Mota.

The ABC show “20/20” also attended the event to interview Midsi for a story about survivors. The “20/20” crew shot video of the Marc and Violet Klaas registering children for the Klaas Kids program, which provides free fingerprinting for children. The show is expected to air July 10.

Merced 1480KYOS radio’s Jacque MacDonald also attended the event. MacDonald hosts a radio show called “Victims Voice.”

In 1988 her daughter, Debi Whitlock, was murdered in her home while her 3-year-old daughter slept just feet away. MacDonald launched a relentless search to find her killer, and nine years later her work paid off, a tip led to the arrest of the man who stabbed and then raped her daughter.

MacDonald’s show features stories of victims of violent crimes and their families. It airs from 12:15 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays.

On top of inspirational speakers and free id kits, attendees received free hotdogs and beverages and children were able to go inside a fire engine and get free fireman hats with stickers.

To contact Jonathan McCorkell, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.