Jaycee Lee Dugard, the kidnapped girl found after 18 years, was living in tents and outbuildings in a secluded compound in her captors’ backyard.
Dugard was kidnapped in 1991, at age 11, by Phillip Garrido and his wife Nancy as she waited for a school bus. For 18 years she has lived as a sex slave with two daughters Garrido fathered in a complex of tents and shacks in the Garrido’s backyard.
The kidnapping case was broken last week when officers at the University of California at Berkeley became suspicious of Phillip Garrido’s behavior when he arrived at the campus with the two girls, ages 11 and 15. A background check revealed that Garrido was a sex offender, and subsequently led to his arrest and Jaycee Lee Dugard’s freedom.
Dugard, now 29, was reunited with her family and appears to be in good health. Upon seeing her mother for the first time in 18 years, Dugard, who had her two daughters with her, greeted her by saying, “Hi Mom, I have babies.” Both mother and daughter are trying to avoid the public eye for now.
What is shocking about this story is the fact that Garrido managed to elude authorities for this crime for so long. There were many missed opportunities to uncover the truth.
As a parolee, Garrido was subject to routine surprise home visits. The last visit was conducted in July, 2008.
In 2006, a neighbor called 911 describing Garrido as a psychotic sex addict who was living with children and had people staying in tents in his backyard.
An officer questioned Garrido on his front porch, but didn’t go into the house or the backyard. Before leaving, he warned that the tents could be a code violation.
Paramedics had also been called to the house five times since 1999, to help Garrido’s 88-year-old mother.
Jaycee’s stepfather, a longtime suspect in her disappearance, was frustrated to learn that a car matching the description he gave police the day he saw Dugard kidnapped was found in the yard of the Garrido home. Nancy Garrido also fits the “dead on” description he gave of the woman who pulled her into the car.
Phillip Garrido gave a phone interview from jail on Thursday, telling a KCRA-TV reporter 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.