they stole her in­no­cence


Real Crime - - Contents - Words Tanita Matthews

The many missed op­por­tu­ni­ties that could have saved kid­napped Jaycee Du­gard from 18 years of hor­ror

Locked in the bath­room with her captor, a ter­ri­fied Jaycee was forced to strip naked and shower with him

On the morn­ing of 10 June 1991, 11- year- old Jaycee Lee Du­gard had an im­por­tant ques­tion to ask her mother. A shy and self- con­scious young girl, she wanted to ask her mother’s per­mis­sion to shave her body ahead of the class field trip to the wa­ter park. It was a ques­tion the sweet­look­ing girl pon­dered as she walked to the bus stop just a few me­tres from her home in South Lake Ta­hoe, Cal­i­for­nia, dressed in her favourite all- pink out­fit. As she reached the top of the hill, a grey ve­hi­cle ap­proached her from be­hind, slow­ing as it pulled along­side her. Young and naïve, she thought the driver was lost and in need of direc­tions. “What else could it be?” she won­dered.

In­stead, the win­dow was rolled down and a hand struck out at Jaycee, who at once felt her en­tire body tin­gle and then go numb. She lost con­trol of her blad­der as she fell into a bush. She didn’t know it, but the driver of the car had im­mo­bilised her us­ing a stun gun, and with no time to waste, the pas­sen­ger hopped out and dragged the limp girl’s body into the car, throw­ing a blan­ket over her head. Jaycee’s fi­nal mem­ory be­fore she was taken was reach­ing for a pinecone on the ground – it would be the last thing she touched be­fore she lost her free­dom.

While search­ing for the miss­ing girl, au­thor­i­ties would miss at least a dozen op­por­tu­ni­ties to save her, and when she fi­nally emerged in 2009, with two young chil­dren in tow, she had a shock­ing and sick­en­ing story to tell, of the con­victed pae­dophile and his wife who had kept her cap­tive in their back gar­den for al­most two decades.

Los­ing Grip On Re­al­ity

As she lay semi- con­scious on the floor of the car, Jaycee re­called hear­ing a man’s voice say out loud, “I can’t be­lieve we got away with it” and laugh­ing. Un­known to Jaycee or the two oc­cu­pants of the ve­hi­cle, the lit­tle girl’s step­fa­ther Carl Probyn had wit­nessed her ab­duc­tion from their house, which sat at the bot­tom of the hill she had walked up to catch her bus to school. From the garage where he was work­ing he had seen the car, which he later told in­ves­ti­ga­tors was a Mer­cury Monarch, make a turn in the road at the bus stop where his step­daugh­ter had been wait­ing, and saw a woman force the girl into the car. He had tried to chase after the ab­duc­tors but was un­able to keep up with the ve­hi­cle on his push bike. He then called 911 to re­port what he had just wit­nessed.

A num­ber of Jaycee’s class­mates, on the bus she was sup­posed to have caught that morn­ing, had also seen the grey car speed off with Jaycee inside. While Jaycee drifted in and out of con­scious­ness, the car drove 195 kilo­me­tres to an un­governed area in Con­tra Costa County. Un­der a blan­ket of darkness, Jaycee was led inside a house, where she fi­nally came face to face with her captor – Phillip Gar­rido.

At best, Gar­rido was a “sex­ual de­viant”. He was also a heavy drug user who be­gan tak­ing LSD and mar­i­juana within weeks of grad­u­at­ing from high school in 1969. He mas­tur­bated at drive- in the­atres, pub­lic re­strooms, bars and restau­rants, and even out­side the win­dows of homes. In

1972, he was ar­rested for drug­ging and rap­ing a 14- year- old girl. The charges against him were dropped when the vic­tim re­fused to tes­tify in court.

Four years later he climbed into the car of a 25- year- old woman named Katie Call­away. She had gone to the lo­cal store to buy some cof­fee when Gar­rido, who was “dressed nice” and “look­ing al­right”, ap­proached her pas­sen­ger door.

He told her his car had bro­ken down and asked Katie if she would give him a lift home. She agreed. How­ever, Gar­rido’s direc­tions turned out to be a ruse, and when the chance arose he pounced, hand­cuff­ing her and wrap­ping a leather belt around her neck, which he fas­tened un­der her knees to keep her from look­ing up. Con­ceal­ing her with a coat, he took the wheel and be­gan driv­ing.

At an aban­doned ware­house Katie was thrown be­hind heavy plas­tic sheets where Gar­rido had set up a mat­tress dressed in a “red, old satin, ho­ley, old sheet”, stage lights, a movie pro­jec­tor and a stack of porno­graphic mag­a­zines. For eight hours Gar­rido raped her, be­fore he was caught by a lo­cal po­lice of­fi­cer, who had spot­ted the car and the bro­ken lock on the door and de­cided to in­ves­ti­gate the scene. There he found Katie, who cried out for help.

Gar­rido was found guilty and sentenced to 50 years in fed­eral prison for kid­nap, with an­other five years to life for sex­ual as­sault. But in 1988 he earned the right to pa­role and was re­leased hav­ing only served 11 years in prison. The de­ci­sion to re­lease him after serv­ing only a fifth of his sen­tence for such a bru­tal crime would be heav­ily crit­i­cised after Jaycee was found. Un­til then, a se­ries of mis­takes after his re­lease left him free to im­prison the lit­tle girl in his home.

Locked in the bath­room with her captor, a ter­ri­fied Jaycee was forced to strip naked and shower with him. Only that morn­ing Jaycee had been wor­ried about how she would ask her mother if she could shave, but now, alone with Gar­rido, he wasted no time in shav­ing her legs, armpits and vagina as part of his per­verse sex­ual predilec­tions. Once she had been cleaned and preened by Gar­rido, he led her out­side to a sound­proof shed with bars on the win­dow, where he hand­cuffed her naked to a crate. He warned his new pris­oner that should she try to es­cape, the dogs roam­ing out­side would at­tack her on sight. He then locked the shed door be­hind him. He would al­ways lock the door, leav­ing Jaycee with no op­por­tu­nity

to es­cape.

The Gar­ri­dos

The house where Gar­rido lived and Jaycee was im­pris­oned be­longed to his el­derly mother, who never knew that the ab­ducted South Lake Ta­hoe girl was in her back gar­den. Al­though she would later meet the girl, her son fab­ri­cated lies that would keep her from sus­pect­ing any­thing was wrong. Gar­rido vis­ited the shed a num­ber of times after Jaycee’s ar­rival, bring­ing her fast food and soda to quench the abun­dant thirst she de­vel­oped in her hot and sti­fling prison. One day Gar­rido came into the shed with a milk­shake. But that was not all that was dif­fer­ent about his visit. Plac­ing the cup above where Jaycee lay, he raped her. Con­fused, cry­ing and in pain, she couldn’t com­pre­hend what Gar­rido was do­ing or why. All she knew was that strug­gling would only in­crease the pain she was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing and would not de­ter Gar­rido from vi­o­lat­ing her.

Once he was done, Gar­rido re­leased her from her hand­cuffs and pro­duced a bucket of luke­warm wa­ter for her to wash away the blood, be­fore the pervert hand­cuffed her back to the spot where he had raped her mo­ments ear­lier, leav­ing her bound and help­less while he re­turned to the house. This hap­pened mul­ti­ple times. Even­tu­ally Gar­rido felt he had sub­dued the young girl and re­lented, tak­ing the hand­cuffs off her. As his pris­oner, Jaycee had to de­pend on Gar­rido for ev­ery­thing – food, com­pany, en­ter­tain­ment, even for a bath­room break, which amounted to a bucket kept in a cor­ner of the shed that Gar­rido would empty out­side.

To rape a child is one of the most heinous crimes imag­in­able, but for Gar­rido it was only the be­gin­ning of his plan for Jaycee’s hell. For hours and days on end, Gar­rido would in­dulge in drug- fu­elled fan­tasies, forc­ing the 11- yearold to dress up in tight clothes, put on makeup and sub­mit to his ev­ery sick and twisted fan­tasy, all the while film­ing what he told Jaycee were “runs”. In her book, A Stolen Life, about her 18 years in cap­tiv­ity, Jaycee de­scribed how after Gar­rido had raped her, “He ex­plains to me he has a sex prob­lem and that he took me so I could help him with his prob­lem so he wouldn’t have to bother any­one else with his prob­lem. He says it con­sumes his mind and that by me giv­ing him an out­let I am sav­ing oth­ers.” Gar­rido would also cry, apol­o­gise and beg for­give­ness from the con­fused, fright­ened lit­tle girl, telling her that voices in his head were mak­ing him hurt her. In an at­tempt to ma­nip­u­late his pris­oner, he gifted her with a kitten after she told him how lonely she was and how much she loved cats. But when its me­ow­ing in­ter­fered with his ‘ runs’, she never saw it again.

For a num­ber of months, Jaycee thought he was alone in the house, un­til one day Gar­rido en­tered the shed with a woman: his wife and ac­com­plice. Nancy had met Gar­rido in Leav­en­worth prison, where he was serv­ing his sen­tence for rap­ing Katie. The pair spent vis­i­ta­tions dis­cussing religion. Dur­ing an in­ter­view with ABC jour­nal­ist Diane Sawyer,

Jaycee dis­cussed her re­la­tion­ship with Nancy, who would al­ter­nate be­tween moth­erly con­cern and cold in­dif­fer­ence. Jaycee de­scribed Nancy as “just as ma­nip­u­la­tive” and “just as evil” as her hus­band. She told Diane that Nancy ap­peared “jeal­ous” of her, “Like I wanted her hus­band to rape me.” When her hus­band went to prison in 1993 for vi­o­lat­ing his pa­role terms, Nancy took over as Jaycee’s jailer, feed­ing her and keep­ing her com­pany. For four months she could have let the lit­tle girl go. She chose to keep her locked in the shed.

A Mother’s Love

Roughly 195 kilo­me­tres away, her mother Terry was us­ing ev­ery re­source avail­able to her in the search for her daugh­ter. Jaycee’s face had been plas­tered all over the news after her ab­duc­tion was re­ported to po­lice, and road blocks were put up to pre­vent her kid­nap­pers from tak­ing her out of the state. But po­lice had wasted pre­cious time in fo­cus­ing on the last per­son to see her that morn­ing – her step­fa­ther – as a per­son of in­ter­est. Carl in­sisted he had noth­ing to do with Jaycee’s dis­ap­pear­ance and even took poly­graph tests, pass­ing each one and forc­ing po­lice to look else­where. Res­i­dents of

above- Right Nancy Gar­rido was sentenced to 36 years be­hind bars for her role in the ab­duc­tion and abuse of Jaycee South Lake Ta­hoe hung pink rib­bons across town, re­mind­ing peo­ple to look out for the lit­tle girl. The FBI and lo­cal sher­iff ’s of­fice worked closely to­gether to track down the peo­ple who had taken Jaycee. Her face and story ap­peared on the tele­vi­sion show Amer­ica’s Most Wanted. Hun­dreds of leads were gen­er­ated, but none amounted to any­thing that would bring her home.

Jaycee had been held cap­tive in the Gar­rido prop­erty for 1,027 days when she was given some shock­ing news by Gar­rido – she was preg­nant. Still only 14 years old and hav­ing been cut off from the world since she was 11, she hadn’t even known about the link be­tween sex and preg­nancy. For the re­main­der of her preg­nancy, she learned ev­ery­thing she could from li­brary videos brought to her by the Gar­ri­dos. There would be no hos­pi­tal or mid­wife, no pain re­lief or an­te­na­tal classes. Her only help would be her ab­duc­tors, who learned

To rape a child is one of the most heinous crimes imag­in­able, but for Gar­rido it was only the be­gin­ning

In her scrawly hand­writ­ing she spelled out her name. it would be the fi­nal piece to the puz­zle about what had hap­pened to that lit­tle girl 18 years ago

how to de­liver the baby through re­search and birthing videos. While she was preg­nant the ‘ runs’ stopped, al­though she was still forced to plea­sure Gar­rido at least once. On 18 Au­gust 1994, at the age of 14, Jaycee gave birth to a baby in the shed where she’d been held cap­tive for over three years.

The Gar­ri­dos pro­vided her with the things she needed to take care of the baby. Slowly after the baby was born, Gar­rido re­turned to his drug- fu­elled pae­dophilic binges. By 1997 Jaycee was preg­nant with a sec­ond child. It was around this time that Gar­rido claimed to be cured of his “prob­lem”, an epiphany brought on by the birth of his first daugh­ter. He swore to Jaycee he would never harm his daugh­ters.

That sum­mer, with Jaycee preg­nant, the Gar­ri­dos set up a print­ing busi­ness from home, which Jaycee be­came a part of. After learn­ing how to use a com­puter, she helped to bring in more work for the busi­ness. The Gar­ri­dos soon al­lowed Jaycee and her baby to branch out into the back yard, where they had built a se­cure area for them to live. A fence had been erected to en­sure that no one out­side of the prop­erty could see in.

Out­side of the home, Gar­rido had a rep­u­ta­tion as a weirdo. He was branded ‘ Creepy Phil’ by the kids in the neigh­bour­hood. He told peo­ple that God spoke to him through a box. He was con­sid­ered “kind of nutty”. Inside, he would in­struct Jaycee to lis­ten to the voices he could hear in the walls and muted TV set. When­ever she ex­pressed an opin­ion he beat her down, say­ing an­gels were ma­nip­u­lat­ing her, just as they had ma­nip­u­lated him into hurt­ing her.

In Novem­ber 1997 Jaycee gave birth to an­other girl. As a mother of two chil­dren, peo­ple later ques­tioned why she didn’t try to es­cape. How­ever, ma­nip­u­lated and con­di­tioned over many years, Jaycee be­lieved the Gar­ri­dos when they said that she wouldn’t be safe out­side the walls of her con­fine­ment. She had come to de­pend on them for ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing and had been beaten down to be­lieve that her only chance of sur­vival was to stick with what she knew.

She didn’t want to risk harm com­ing to her chil­dren, so she tried to make the best of ev­ery­thing that she had. Be­hind the se­cured area where the three girls lived, she taught them maths, English, art and his­tory, de­spite hav­ing only a fifth grade ed­u­ca­tion her­self. She planted flow­ers and nursed back to health any an­i­mals that wan­dered in or were gifted to her by the Gar­ri­dos. Nei­ther Jaycee or the girls ever saw a den­tist or a doc­tor.

With Jaycee, the girls and Gar­rido now a ‘ fam­ily’, Gar­rido told Jaycee that Nancy was be­com­ing jeal­ous and down about be­ing left out. He in­sisted the girls should call Nancy their ‘ mother’ and they should be told that Jaycee was their sis­ter. She was told to pick a new name and was banned from speak­ing or writ­ing her real name. She chose ‘ Alissa’, al­though she was se­cretly dev­as­tated at the prospect of her own chil­dren call­ing Nancy ‘ mom’. It was around this time that Jaycee was in­tro­duced to Phillip Gar­rido’s mother. She was told by Gar­rido that ‘ Alissa’ was his child from a pre­vi­ous re­la­tion­ship. He said the same about the two daugh­ters he had fathered with the young girl.

I am Jaycee Lee Du­gard

Pos­ing as a fam­ily, the group be­gan to take out­ings to the beach, lo­cal con­certs and nail sa­lons. Dur­ing each and ev­ery out­ing, Jaycee waited for some­one to recog­nise her or to ask her the fate­ful ques­tion that would re­veal her iden­tity. No one did. The Gar­ri­dos had cut Jaycee’s hair and dyed it a darker colour, and she had also gained weight from the preg­nan­cies and her poor diet, mak­ing her prac­ti­cally un­recog­nis­able. Aware that no one was go­ing to iden­tify her, Jaycee was granted more free­dom by the Gar­ri­dos. Thanks to Jaycee’s artis­tic skills, their print­ing busi­ness be­came a rep­utable en­ter­prise, which branched out into its own premises.

Jaycee be­gan work­ing in the shop, where she would greet cus­tomers and mock up or­ders for them. Her pic­ture was on the busi­ness cards that were handed out, but no one ever recog­nised her as the miss­ing girl. While Jaycee had ac­cess to the In­ter­net and a phone, she was warned that ev­ery­thing she was do­ing was be­ing mon­i­tored. Al­though she later said that at times she came close to try­ing to es­cape, she never felt sure she would be able to.

On 24 Au­gust 2009 Gar­rido took the chil­dren, by then aged 11 and 15, to the FBI of­fice in San Fran­cisco to drop off some lit­er­a­ture re­gard­ing his new- found re­li­gious teach­ings and his pow­ers of ‘ mind- read­ing’, as well as a doc­u­ment en­ti­tled ‘ Schizophre­nia Re­vealed’. He was a ‘ changed man’, hav­ing been cured of his sex­ual prob­lem, and he wanted the world to know that God had cured him.

They then went to the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley cam­pus, to seek per­mis­sion to preach there. A sus­pi­cious of­fi­cer alerted a col­league, who ran a back­ground check on Gar­rido and dis­cov­ered he was a sex of­fender. Gar­rido re­turned the next day with the two girls for a meet­ing with the of­fi­cers. The girls were “like brain­washed zom­bies”, Of­fi­cer Ally Ja­cobs told ABC. Con­cerned, Ja­cobs re­ported the meet­ing and the pres­ence of the two chil­dren to Gar­rido’s pa­role of­fi­cer, who replied that Gar­rido didn’t have chil­dren.

The pa­role of­fi­cer vis­ited the Gar­rido home and then took Gar­rido in for ques­tion­ing, be­fore re­leas­ing him and or­der­ing him to re­turn the next day. Gar­rido told Jaycee that she and the girls were to ac­com­pany him in or­der to tell the of­fi­cer that she was the girls’ mother and had given Gar­rido per­mis­sion to have them with him.

Ar­riv­ing at the pa­role of­fice on 26 Au­gust, Jaycee’s de­meanour and Gar­rido’s ram­blings set alarm bells ring­ing. Jaycee was ques­tioned in a sep­a­rate room, but he had al­ready told her what to say ahead of their visit. After 20 min­utes she left the of­fice and sat back in the car with Nancy while Gar­rido con­tin­ued to be ques­tioned. As she sat in the car, two pa­role of­fi­cers ap­proached Jaycee. They ac­cused her of ly­ing to them, telling her that Gar­rido had re­vealed they were his brother’s kids. She tried to con­coct a story of how she was an abused house­wife on the run. In­stead the pa­role of­fi­cer told her that they would need to call Child Pro­tec­tive Ser­vices and she was sec­tioned off from Nancy and her chil­dren. Inside, in a room away from her chil­dren and the Gar­ri­dos, a fe­male po­lice of­fi­cer ques­tioned ‘ Alissa’ about her iden­tity: “The of­fi­cer said if I didn’t tell them my name and the truth, I would be taken down to the po­lice sta­tion and fin­ger­printed and then they would find out who I was.” Jaycee later wrote.

The of­fi­cer crushed the cover story when she said that Gar­rido had told her he had kid­napped Jaycee. Des­per­ately try­ing to get to the bot­tom of the story, she asked Jaycee what her name was and how old she was when she was kid­napped. Jaycee re­vealed she had only been 11 when she was taken

but that it had been years since she was al­lowed to say her name out loud. In her scrawly hand­writ­ing she spelled out her name. It would be the fi­nal piece to the puz­zle about what had hap­pened to that lit­tle girl from South Lake Ta­hoe 18 years ago. Jaycee’s mother was at work when FBI of­fi­cers called her to tell her the news she had al­ways hoped to hear: her daugh­ter was alive and they were bring­ing her home.

The Gar­ri­dos were ar­rested and even­tu­ally pleaded guilty to more than a dozen charges re­lat­ing to kid­nap, sex­ual as­sault, rape and com­mit­ting lewd acts cap­tured on video. They will likely never see the out­side world again. For her role in the kid­nap­ping and rape, Nancy was given a 36- year sen­tence. Gar­rido was sentenced to 431 years be­hind bars.

Jaycee re­fused to al­low Gar­rido to steal an­other mo­ment more of her time and did not at­tend the sen­tenc­ing. In­stead she sub­mit­ted a state­ment through her mother. Read­ing her daugh­ter’s writ­ten words, Terry told the Gar­ri­dos, “What you and Nancy did was rep­re­hen­si­ble. You al­ways jus­ti­fied ev­ery­thing to suit your­self, but the re­al­ity is and al­ways has been that to make some­one else suf­fer for your in­abil­ity to con­trol your­self and for you, Nancy, to fa­cil­i­tate his behaviour and trick young girls for his plea­sure is evil.” Jaycee’s state­ment signed off by say­ing, “Both of you can save your apolo­gies and empty words. For all the crimes you have both committed I hope you have as many sleep­less nights as I did.” She later re­ceived a $ 20 mil­lion set­tle­ment from the state of Cal­i­for­nia after law en­force­ment ad­mit­ted there had been sev­eral fail­ings by Phillip Gar­rido’s pa­role of­fi­cers in re­la­tion to his sex­ual of­fender sta­tus.

be­low Mar­ried cou­ple Phillip ( left) and Nancy ( right) Gar­rido tar­geted mul­ti­ple chil­dren in Con­tra Costa County, se­cretly film­ing them in play­grounds while the par­ents were dis­tracted

above Jaycee’s mother and step­fa­ther did ev­ery­thing they could to look for their miss­ing daugh­ter, and while Carl ( left) even­tu­ally gave up hope of find­ing her alive, Terry’s ( right) faith never wa­veredleft Fly­ers, ban­ners and T- shirts were printed dur­ing the search for Jaycee, and the whole town of South Lake Ta­hoe vig­i­lantly searched for her, hang­ing rib­bons in her favourite colour – pink – across the town

above When in­ves­ti­gated by po­lice, the area where Jaycee and her daugh­ters were im­pris­oned was lit­tered with junk, mat­tresses, small chairs, bikes, books, piles of toys, a tram­po­line, show­ers and a swing setabove- inset To the out­side world, the Gar­rido home, where they lived with Phillip’s ail­ing mother, was nor­mal, but be­hind closed doors it hosted the sex­u­ally per­verted world of Jaycee’s ab­duc­tors

above- left Phillip Gar­rido re­ceived 431 years in prison after fi­nally plead­ing guilty to charges re­lated to kid­nap, rape and sex­ual as­sault

be­low Jaycee Du­gard meets Oprah Win­frey: after be­ing re­united with her mother, Jaycee worked hard at re­build­ing her life. She won the hearts of the na­tion that had spent al­most two decades look­ing for her

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