they stole her innocence
KIDNAPPED AND HELD CAPTIVE FOR 18 YEARS, JAYCEE DUGARD ENDURED A LIFETIME OF HORROR AT THE HANDS OF HER PAEDOPHILE CAPTOR AND HIS WIFE. WHY DIDN’T POLICE STOP HIM WHEN THEY HAD THE CHANCE?
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
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