A California couple has been charged with kidnapping, rape, and range of other counts for allegedly abducting an 11-year-old girl and holding her captive for nearly two decades. Fifty-eight year old Phillip Craig Garrido and his wife, Nancy, 54, face life in prison if convicted. The victim has been reunited with her family.
In 1991, Jaycee Dugard was on her way to a bus stop in the town of South Lake Tahoe, near the Nevada state border, when she was dragged into a gray sedan. Wednesday, she resurfaced near San Francisco as her alleged captor, Phillip Garrido, a registered sex offender, reported to his parole officer, with his wife, Jaycee and her two children. Authorities say Garrido fathered the children, the first when Jaycee was about 14. The children are now 11 and 15 years old.
Police in Berkeley became suspicious Tuesday after Garrido tried to enter the campus of the University of California with the two children to distribute religious literature. A background check revealed he was on parole for a 1971 kidnapping and rape, and he was ordered to appear before his parole officer.
Garrido introduced Jaycee as Allissa, but police say authorities discovered her identity.
"Ultimately, the female named Allissa was identified as Jaycee Dugard. Subsequent interviews with Jaycee and the Garridos provided information that only the victim and the kidnappers could know," said a police spokesman.
Police say Jaycee and her children were held captive in the Garridos' backyard in Antioch, California, a San Francisco suburb less than 300 kilometers from her childhood home.
Jaycee's stepfather, Carl Probyn, says she was reunited Thursday with her mother, sister and aunt, who also met her children. The stepfather told the CBS television Early Show that his wife was surprised how well her daughter looked.
"She said Jaycee looks almost like when she was kidnapped. She looks very young. She looks healthy. She told me that Jaycee feels really guilty for bonding with this guy," he said.
Psychologists say it is common for longterm kidnap victims to form an emotional bond with their captors.
Some neighbors of the Garridos were shocked to learn of the captives in their leafy suburb. At least one harbored suspicions. The sheriff of Contra Costa County, where the victims were held, said an officer investigated an anonymous report of children living in tents behind the Garrido home in 2006, but saw nothing wrong. The sheriff apologized for a missed opportunity.
Fred Kollar, Undersheriff for of El Dorado County, where young Jaycee was abducted, says her daughters had never gone to school or seen a doctor, and that their living compound was well concealed from the street.
"It's kind of hard to describe, but there was a secondary backyard that is screened from view from literally all around, only accessed through a very small, narrow tarp. Her and the two children were living in a series of sheds. There was one shed entirely soundproofed, could only be opened from the outside; another shed that had more access to the public, and then two tents," he said.
Garrido's father says his son suffered from psychiatric problems and acquaintances say he had religious delusions. Garrido and his wife face at least 28 charges, and multiple life sentences if convicted.