Ab­duc­tor had be­come a re­li­gious fa­natic

Jaycee Lee back with fam­ily af­ter two decades with her kid­nap­per

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - JULIET WIL­LIAMS and SA­MAN­THA YOUNG

PLAC­ERVILLE, Cal­i­for­nia: A girl snatched on her way to school was hid­den for nearly two decades be­hind a se­ries of fences, sheds and tents, even giv­ing birth to her sus­pected ab­duc­tor’s chil­dren in the sub­ur­ban back­yard com­pound less than 300km from her child­hood home.

Jaycee Lee Du­gard, who was 11 when she was ab­ducted from a South Lake Ta­hoe street in 1991, was taken di­rectly to the house and shel­tered from the world in a se­cret, leafy back­yard, in­ves­ti­ga­tors said on Thurs­day.

Du­gard’s step­fa­ther, who wit­nessed her ab­duc­tion and was a long­time sus­pect in the case, said that he was over­whelmed by the news af­ter do­ing ev­ery­thing he could to help find her.

“It broke my mar­riage up. I’ve gone through hell, I mean I’m a sus­pect up un­til yes­ter­day,” a tear­ful Carl Probyn, 60, said at his home in Or­ange, Cal­i­for­nia.

Probyn told CBS’s Early Show yes­ter­day that he had spo­ken to his wife af­ter she was re­united with Du­gard and every­one was “do­ing great”.

“I think they’re pretty happy,” he said, not­ing that six peo­ple were to­gether at the re­union – Jaycee Du­gard, her two daugh­ters, her sis­ter, mother and an­other rel­a­tive.

In in­ter­views on NBC, ABC and CBS yes­ter­day morn­ing, Probyn said the most sur­pris­ing thing to his wife was that Jaycee “looks very young, al­most like she did when she was taken”.

Probyn also said Du­gard felt ter­ri­bly guilty for bond­ing with her cap­tor, and her fam­ily felt trou­bled by learn­ing the facts of how she was forced to live for 18 years.

Her ab­duc­tor, in­ves­ti­ga­tors said, raped her and fa­thered two chil­dren with her, the first when Jaycee was about 14. Those girls, now 11 and 15, also were kept hid­den away in the back­yard com­pound be­hind the home in An­ti­och, a city of 100 000 about 270km from the Du­gard fam­ily home in South Lake Ta­hoe.

Phillip Gar­rido, 58, a reg­is­tered sex of­fender, is be­ing held for in­ves­ti­ga­tion of var­i­ous kid­nap­ping and sex charges.

Au­thor­i­ties said his 54-yearold wife, Nancy Gar­rido, was with him dur­ing the kid­nap­ping in South Lake Ta­hoe and she also had been taken into cus­tody.

“None of the chil­dren has ever been to school, they’ve never been to a doc­tor,” El Do­rado County deputy sher­iff Fred Kol­lar said. “They were kept in com­plete iso­la­tion in this com­pound.”

The case broke af­ter Gar­rido was spot­ted on Tues­day with two chil­dren as he tried to en­ter the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley, cam­pus to hand out re­li­gious lit­er­a­ture. Of­fi­cers said he was act­ing sus­pi­ciously to­wards the chil­dren. They ques­tioned him and did a back­ground check, de­ter­mined that he was a parolee and in­formed his pa­role of­fi­cer.

Gar­rido was or­dered to ap­pear for a pa­role meet­ing and ar­rived on Wed­nes­day with Du­gard, who iden­ti­fied her­self as “Al­lissa”; his wife; and two chil­dren. Dur­ing ques­tion­ing, cor­rec­tions of­fi­cials said he ad­mit­ted to kid­nap­ping Du­gard.

Neigh­bour Diane Doty said she could see the tents and of­ten heard chil­dren play­ing in the back­yard, the cor­ner of which abuts her own back­yard.

She said she even sus­pected that the chil­dren lived in the tents, but her hus­band said she should leave the fam­ily alone.

“I asked my hus­band ‘Why is he liv­ing in tents?’ ” she said. “And he said ‘ Maybe that is how they like to live’.”

“The way the house is set up, the way the back­yard is set up, you could walk through the back­yard, walk through the house and never know,” Kol­lar said.

Du­gard was re­united with her mother on Thurs­day as her fam­ily learnt that their blueeyed, blonde, pony­tailed lit­tle girl had spent most of her life in cap­tiv­ity.

Po­lice said they had no ev­i­dence that she had ever reached out to any­one be­yond the com­pound walls.

“She was in good health, but liv­ing in a back­yard for the past 18 years does take its toll,” Kol­lar said.

The back­yard com­pound had elec­tric­ity from ex­ten­sion cords and a rudi­men­tary out­house and shower, “as if you were camp­ing”, Kol­lar said.

Peo­ple who knew Gar­rido said he be­came in­creas­ingly fa­natic about his re­li­gious be­liefs in re­cent years, some­times break­ing into song and claim­ing that God spoke to him through a box.

“In the last cou­ple years he started get­ting into this strange re­li­gious stuff. We kind of felt sorry for him,” said Tim Allen, pres­i­dent of East County Glass and Win­dow. in Pitts­burg, Cal­i­for­nia, who bought busi­ness cards and let­ter­heads from Gar­rido’s print­ing busi­ness for the past decade.

Three times in re­cent years, Gar­rido ar­rived at Allen’s show­room with two “cute lit­tle blonde girls” in tow, he said.

Gar­rido gave a ram­bling, some­times in­co­her­ent phone in­ter­view to KCRA-TV from the El Do­rado County jail on Thurs­day in which he said he had not ad­mit­ted to a kid­nap­ping and that he had turned his life around since the birth of his first daugh­ter 15 years ago.

“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,” he said.

In ad­di­tion to kid­nap­ping al­le­ga­tions, court records showed that both Gar­ri­dos were be­ing held for in­ves­ti­ga­tion of rape by force, lewd and las­civ­i­ous acts with a mi­nor and kid­nap­ping some­one un­der 14 with in­tent to rape.

Phillip Gar­rido also faces al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual pen­e­tra­tion.

Gar­rido has a long charge sheet dat­ing back to the 1970s.

He was con­victed of kid­nap­ping a 25-year-old woman who he snatched from a South Lake Ta­hoe park­ing lot, hand­cuffed, tied down and held in a mini­ware­house in Reno, Ne­vada, ac­cord­ing to a Novem­ber 1976 story in the Reno Gazette-Jour­nal.

He also has a con­vic­tion for rape by force or fear stem­ming from the same in­ci­dent, and was paroled from a Ne­vada state prison in 1988.

In 1991, po­lice be­lieve he was trolling for vic­tims in South Lake Ta­hoe in a Ford Granada when he snatched Du­gard from a bus stop out­side her home.

The case at­tracted na­tional at­ten­tion and was fea­tured on TV’s Amer­ica’s Most Wanted, which broad­cast a com­pos­ite draw­ing of a sus­pect seen in the car.

Probyn said his wife, from whom he is sep­a­rated, was dev­as­tated by the kid­nap­ping. He said that for 10 years af­ter the crime, she would take a week off work at Christ­mas and on the an­niver­sary of the ab­duc­tion and spend the time cry­ing at home.

Jaycee Lee Du­gard has re­tained cus­tody of her chil­dren and was stay­ing at a Bay area mo­tel, au­thor­i­ties said. – Sapa-AP

RE­UNITED: This un­dated photo pro­vided by her step­fa­ther William Carl Probyn shows Jaycee Lee Du­gard.

PIC­TURE: AP

HOME SWEET HOME: The house where Jaycee Lee Du­gard lived when she was ab­ducted 18 years ago.

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