Carl Dan Claes
14 Years Old

March 20, 1981 to May 16, 1995

Carl Dan “C.D.” Claes from Lemon Heights, California was a gifted young boy, an only child born on the first day of spring. Carl Dan grew-up in Tustin.

A lover of hockey, Carl Dan played endline hockey and taught the neighborhood kids how to play. His favorite team was the NHL Penguins. His hero was player Mario Lemieux who had overcome tragedy in his life. Other things he liked was swimming, boogy boarding, music, making models, playing with Legos and woodshop.

Carl Dan loved his Ninnie and Grandpa. He loved animals. Only nine days before his death, he and his Popeye Dan George had gotten a black and white female kitten he named Felix, a name of a hockey goalie. He loved going to Plain City, Ohio, which was his Popeye’s hometown and to Texas to visit his great-grandmother and great-aunt.

Sensitive, giving and trusting described Carl Dan as well as mechanical.

Carl Dan was very handsome but shy around girls and had just begun liking them enough to ask one out.

Green was Carl Dan’s favorite color and his favorite band was Boyz II Men but he also loved the oldies.

Carl Dan was full of life and energy.


Carl Dan “C.D.” Claes, 14, from Lemon Heights, California had witnessed his grandmother pass-away due to a massive stroke, so his grandfather had purchased a d.j. system for him to help during the grieving process and to help him earn money by d-jaying dances, etc.

A group of known problem kids, some of whom were on probation, found out about the system and made friends with him. They convinced Carl Dan that people were out to get him and that they would protect him if he loaned his system to them. He loaned it to them.

On May 16th, 1995, Carl Dan tried to get the system back from the kids and he was executed.

They shot him once with a .22, then returned and shot him again.

His body was found May 17th, 1995 on a dirt trail where he bled to death.

In 1997 all trials came to a conclusion, guilty as charged in the heinous and premeditated murder of Carl Dan Claes. Carl’s Mom, Danella, and Granddad attended all phases of the trial and sentencing. Danella lost her health, job and home in 1997-1998. In 2003 she worked with the California Attorney General’s Office to ensure no resident of California would suffer the same fate.

Never a day goes by without Carl Dan’s family missing him. We attempt to live by his motto,

“Carpe Diem”.

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Carl Claes