Eighteen years… 18 years! That’s how long registered sex offender, Phillip Garrido, kept Jaycee Lee Dugard in his backyard prison from the age of 11.
“I tell you, here’s the story of what took place at this house, and you’re going to be absolutely impressed… It’s a disgusting thing that took place from the end to the beginning. But I turned my life completely around…” said Phillip Garrido, kidnapper, during an August 27 interview with KCRA-TV from the El Dorado County Jail.
On June 10, 1991, 11 year old Dugard was walking to her school bus stop in South Lake Tahoe, California. Sadly, she never made it there. Carl Probyn, Jaycee’s step-father was in his garage and saw a car stop in front of Jaycee, open the door and pull her in. Probyn didn’t have his car keys so he jumped on his mountain bike and tried his hardest to chase the car. He couldn’t catch up to them so he rushed back home and called 911. That was the last time anyone saw Jaycee for 18 years.
Within hours of Dugard’s disappearance, local and national media came upon South Lake Tahoe to cover the story. Within days, dozens of local volunteers assisted in the search effort, which involved nearly every resource within the community. Within weeks, tens of thousands of fliers and posters were mailed to businesses throughout the United States. Since Dugard’s favorite color was pink, the entire town was covered in pink ribbons as a constant reminder of her disappearance, and a support to the family throughout the community.
A reward was offered, which was displayed on the posters and fliers. The kidnapping case also attracted nationwide attention, and was featured many times on the television show “America’s Most Wanted.”
During Dugard’s imprisonment, it was reported that she wrote down her thoughts and feelings on her one journal.
“I got [a cat] for my birthday from Phil and Nancy… they did something for me that no one else would do for me, they paid $200 just so I could have my own kitten.”
CNN reported that, “They took vacations together; they went to the library together; and they ran a family business together. The children were homed schooled. They kept pets and had a garden. They took care of ailing family members together. They had special names for each other.”
It seemed as if Garrido tried everything in his power to make the young Dugard feel loved and secure. But then again, how could that be possible?
On September 5 of that year, she wrote: “I don’t want to hurt him … sometimes I think my very presence hurts him … so how can I ever tell him I want to be free. I will never cause him pain if it’s in my power to prevent it. FREE.”
In 1993, Phillip Garrido went back to prison for six weeks on a parole violation. “Shortly after Phillip Garrido returned from jail, he impregnated a then 14-year-old Dugard with their first child,” said police. He ended up impregnating her again four years later.
Jaycee was now 29, and lived along with the two children she bore with her rapist. Luckily, Jaycee’s fate finally changed on Monday, August 24, 2010 when a University of California Berkeley female cop grew suspicious of Garrido after he came to campus with the two daughters, aged 15 and 11, looking for an event permit to distribute religious flyers.
“He was clearly unstable,” Lisa Campbell, the UC Berkeley manager of special events said at a press conference. And her mother mode went into gear when she watched Jaycee’s 15-year-old stare “straight up in the air.”
Campbell stalled Garrido, and asked him to return on Tuesday, August 25. Meantime, she went to fellow UCBPD officer Ally Jacobs, who ran a background check on Garrido and discovered he was a sex offender. Police quickly jumped into action to question Garrido, Nancy, the two daughters, and Jaycee, who was renamed “Alyssa” during her captivity.
Garrido arrived at the parole office on August 26 with his wife, Nancy, the two girls and Jaycee Lee Dugard, who was introduced as “Alyssa”. The girls came in calling Garrido “Daddy,” but the parole officer believed that Garrido had no children. The parole officer then decided to separate Garrido from the women and girls to obtain identification.
Dugard, maintaining her false identity as “Alyssa”, stated that she was the girls’ mother. When the parole officer said that she looked too young to be the mother and asked her age, “Alyssa said that she was 29 years old, laughingly explaining that she often gets that comment and that people believe she is the girls’ sister,” the report stated.
As the questioning continued, Dugard and Nancy Garrido became worried, and started asking why they were being questioned. When the parole officer explained that he was investigating Garrido’s visit to the UC campus with the two girls, Dugard said that she knew Garrido had taken the girls to the campus and that she also knew he was a paroled sex offender who had kidnapped and raped a woman. “She added that Garrido was a changed man and a great person who was good to her kids.”
The parole agent then asked Garrido in another room to explain the relationship between himself and “Alyssa” and the two girls. Garrido said that all three were his nieces, the daughters of his brother in Oakley.
“Garrido stated that the parents were divorced, the girls were living with them and other people, and he did not know his brother’s address or phone number,” the report states.
The police officer then returned to the women and demanded to see “Alyssa’s” identification. But Dugard replied that she “had learned a long time ago not to carry or give any personal information to anyone.” She also said she needed a lawyer. At this point, the parole officer called in Concord police.
Mike Harvey, The Times, reported that, “As they waited for the officer to arrive, Alyssa said she was sorry that she had lied. She explained that she was from Minnesota and had been hiding for five years from an abusive husband. She was terrified of being found, she said, and that was the reason she could not give the parole agent any information.”
Two Concord police officers continued the questioning of Dugard, who maintained her false identity and the story she had told to the parole agent. In the other room, a Concord police sergeant questioned Garrido, who finally admitted that he was the father of the two girls. When the parole agent resumed his questioning of Garrido, he later on admitted to kidnapping and raping “Alyssa”. Under further questioning, Dugard revealed her true identity and confirmed that she had been kidnapped and raped by Garrido.
Garrido and his wife were then put under arrest. An FBI agent put Dugard on the telephone with her mother, Terry Probyn. Dugard retained custody of her children and was soon reunited with her mother.
Police later on went to Garrido’s house to search for evidence connecting to his crime. Undersheriff Fred Kollar described the location as a “hidden back yard” within a larger yard that was arranged in such a way “to isolate the victims from outside contact.”
On April 8, 2011, Phillip Garrido ended up not pleading guilty for his crimes. Earlier in the week, Nancy’s attorney told reporters that her husband would plead guilty to all of the charges.
“But now there is a hitch, and it didn’t happen,” Attorney Stephen Tapson said outside El Dorado County Superior Court on Thursday morning. “Now there is a legal problem that has to be addressed before anybody pleads anything.”
Nearly every seat was filled in Department 7, as Garrido entered the courtroom and mouthed “I love you” to his wife, Nancy, who was fighting back tears. Nancy was “emotionally upset just because, number one, she’s in jail,” Tapson said. “Number two, she’s looking at 183 years or more if we go to trial and lose. And she’s still worried about Jaycee and the kids.”
Susan Gellman, Phillip Garrido’s attorney, told reporters Thursday that her client had not planned to plead guilty and that Tapson should not have been speaking for Phillip. “I would say that he should speak for his client. There’s always a negotiation in the works, but I told you guys last time that there was no offer on the table.”
If Garrido had pleaded guilty to all of his charges, which include kidnapping, rape, committing forcible lewd acts upon a child younger than 14 and videotaping the crimes, he would have faced hundreds of years to life in prison.
Garrido, 60, “wants to spare Jaycee from testifying and he’s sorry for his crimes,” Tapson told U.S media.
On September 17, 2009, Will McCahill, Newser Staff, reported that, “Two dogs trained to sniff out human remains, working separately, alerted police on the possibility on the property belonging to northern California kidnap-rape suspects Phillip and Nancy Garrido.”
Authorities are also looking for evidence to connect the couple to the 1980s disappearances of girls from nearby towns, and say they’ll use radar equipment to figure out if Garrido was part of other unsolved crimes.
“It feels like I’m sinking. I’m afraid I want control of my life. … This is supposed to be my life to do with what I like… but once again he has taken it away. How many times is he allowed to take it away from me? I am afraid he doesn’t see how the things he says makes me a prisoner… Why don’t I have control of my life! I feel I can’t even be sure my thoughts are my own,” Jaycee wrote in another entry, on July 5, 2004.
Since being freed, Dugard, now 30, has been living at a secret location with her family, undergoing therapy. California, intensely criticized for not catching on to Garrido’s scheme, has paid Dugard $20 million as an apology. The compensation is simply waiting final approval by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Certain UHS students were interviewed about what they thought of the whole situation, and Freshman Chang-Hee Lee said, “Phillip Garrido and Nancy should get life in prison without the possibility of parole. Exactly what they had in mind for Jaycee and her children… that should be their kind of prison.”
Sophomore Joe Carter said, “The law should just put them away for life, but because they didn’t kill the girl, I think they should not get any death penalty, but should get each a very small cell in seclusion and people should not bother talking to them or interacting with them. No visitors allowed for the rest of their miserable lives. They deserve to pay for the terror they caused this girl and her family.”
“I don’t think that Jaycee is ever going to be able to fully function in today’s society as she normally would have if this horrible situation hadn’t happened. I hope her kids can go on to lead a normal life style, at least, “said Junior Hannah Kahai.