From rescue to recovery: The story of Lake Tahoe girl Jaycee Lee Dugard

Posted By: The Ski Channel on October 15, 2009 12:02 pm

The harrowing story of Jaycee Lee Dugard’s abduction, 18 years in captivity, and release this summer has garnered headlines around the world.  Dugard, who is from the ski resort town of South Lake Tahoe, has been reunited with her family and is in a safe location with her daughters, who were fathered by her alleged kidnapper.   Much has been written about her over the last few months, and the ensuing story will take you from her rescue from captivity to her ongoing recovery with her family and loved ones.


Miracles can happen! 

The last time that Jaycee Lee Dugard was seen by her family, she was walking to her bus stop on June 10, 1991 in her ski resort town of South Lake Tahoe.  Dugard’s stepfather, Carl Probyn, actually witnessed the abduction from their home.  He said he saw two people in a gray sedan make a U-turn at the bus stop where Dugard was waiting, and a woman forced her into the car.  Probyn chased the car on a bicycle, but could not catch up.  Over 18 years later, on August 27, 2009, Dugard has been found and reunited with her family, while her alleged abductors, Phillip and Nancy Garrido, have been arrested.





Charges filed against the Garridos 

On August 28th, the day after Dugard was discovered, her alleged captors were formally charged.  Phillip and Nancy Garrido, who lived in Antioch, California in the Bay Area, were charged with 29 felony counts, including kidnapping for sexual purposes and forcible rape.  That same day, news emerges that the couple met while Phillip Garrido was serving time in a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas.  Garrido was in prison for a 50-year sentence after being convicted in 1976 of federal kidnapping and rape.





How Dugard finally escaped

After living in a backyard compound for over 18 years, and having two daughters and taking care of them, the question everyone wanted to know was finally answered: How did they escape?  It turns out that Garrido took his two daughters to UC Berkeley three days before his arrest to distribute religious fliers.  A female officer on campus was suspicious of him and the young girls, so she asked him to return the next day.  After he left, she ran a background check and saw that Garrido was a convicted sex offender.

The officer, Lisa Campbell, knew she could not legally hold him when he returned, so she called his parole officer, who eventually called Garrido in for a meeting.  Garrido arrived to the meeting with his wife, Nancy, Dugard, and the two daughters.  At the meeting, he admitted to the abduction, and he and Nancy were taken into custody, while Dugard and her daughters were reunited with their family.




The backyard compound and Dugard’s daughters 

More news comes to light the day after Dugard’s release, and eventually sends shockwaves around the world.  Officials discovered that Dugard lived in a backyard compound of sheds and tarps at the Antioch home of the Garridos.  Overgrown bushes and trees covered the compound, which was only 170 miles away from her ski resort hometown of South Lake Tahoe.  

However, Dugard was not the only person living in the compound.  While in captivity, she gave birth to two daughters, who were 15 and 11 when they were all rescued.  Phillip Garrido fathered the girls with Dugard, who was only 14 when the first daughter was born.  The girls had never been to a doctor or to school, but were in good health when they were rescued.



Daily life and a shocking revelation

Phillip Garrido owned a printing business called “Printing for Less,” which catered to small businesses.  He ran it out of his home, and Dugard worked for him.  However, the clients knew her as Allissa.  Ben Daughdrill was one of these clients, and said that he met her twice, but nothing stood out or seemed to be different.   In addition, a neighbor who had Dugard’s daughters, Angel and Starlit, at a birthday party for her daughter, said that the girls were “polite and well-mannered”  and loved “Hannah Montana.” 

While the girls were in captivity with Dugard, they were told that she was their sister.  About a week after they were released, the girls were told the truth: Dugard was their mother.  In addition to dealing with that harsh reality, they also had to deal with the fact that their father was in jail.  Psychotherapists have been with Dugard and her daughters since her release, as they will all need a great deal of time to rehabilitate and  move on.



Phillip Garrido’s past comes to light 

Phillip Garrido was a convicted sex offender, as he kidnapped his first victim in 1976.  Katie Callaway Hall was her name, and she said she has thought about him every day since he the day he asked her for a ride, and eventually forced her to a warehouse where he raped her.  Garrido was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the crime, but was released after only 10 years. 

Garrido’s first wife, Christine Murphy, also spoke out at this time, and said that he was an “abusive control freak who once tried to gouge (her) eyes out with a safety pin.”  Murphy also said he was a “good manipulator” and a “monster,” and she left him when he was jailed for his attack on Hall. 



Katie Callaway Hall 


Despite parole and official visits, Garrido kept his secret 

According to reports, authorities visited the Garrido house in Antioch more than 24 times in the past three years.  Parole officers, the fire department, and the Sheriff’s office all went to the property, but none of them discovered the backyard compound.  One called contacted the police in 2006, saying they thought they saw children in the backyard of the house.  However, when the deputy went to the house, he did not go past the front yard and did not know that Garrido was a registered sex offender.





Nancy Garrido reveals what everyone wants to know 

Why was Jaycee Lee Dugard chosen to be abducted?  Nancy Garrido,  the wife and co-suspect of Phillip Garrido, shed some light on this captivating question when she told investigators that Dugard was picked during a “child shopping” trip because Garrido thought she was “cute.”  Garrido also disclosed more details, and in particular, the first time that she and her husband first saw Dugard.

On the aforementioned “child shopping” trip, the Garridos saw Dugard but she was playing with other kids.  Nancy Garrido told U.S. attorney Michael Cardoza after they saw her, they decided to come back and take her later, which is exactly what they did.  The Garridos allegedly bundled Dugard into their car as she walked to her bus stop alone. 




Investigators look for clues in other disappearances 

As officials searched the Garrido residence in Antioch after they were arrested for kidnapping Dugard, they also searched the property for clues in connection with two other disappearances that occurred before Dugard went missing.  Michaela Garecht was abducted in 1988 and Ilene Misheloff in 1989—both not far from Antioch.  While officials

where searching the Garrido’s property, they found bones in the ground, but weren’t sure if there were human or animal.  They eventually turned out to not have DNA and probably belonged to American Indians who were buried there many years ago. 




Dugard is moving on

Even though Dugard has not spoken to the public, her attorney, McGregor Scott, has told the media that she has had some mixed emotions about the Garridos, since she spent over half her life in captivity.  She has realized that “some terrible things were done to her” and Scott says she will be prepared to testify against them when they go to trial.  In addition, officials are working to reunite Dugard and her daughters with the pets they had while living at the home in Antioch.  




Details emerge about Nancy Garrido

Nancy Garrido’s role in the abduction of Dugard is somewhat of a mystery.  Her two brothers, David and Rey Bocanegra, spoke to “Inside Edition” and David said that she was “controlled” by Phillip Garrido.  Both of the brothers said that the last time the spoke to their sister was three years ago, and that it was difficult to get in touch with her.  They both agreed that she belonged in jail, as “she knew right from wrong and she needs to pay for what she did.”

Garrido has been in prison since her arrest on August 27, and has had to be put in isolation for her own protection.  According to sources, inmates have been threatening to rape and kill her, so she was moved and has been described as “very lonel

y.”  She has been spending her time by reading the Bible, and is cooperating with the investigation. 



New twists in the Phillip Garrido’s past 

As the investigation of the Garridos continues, more information has been coming out about the past of Phillip Garrido.  This past week, a report came out that said he was given a permit in 2006 to run an elementary school.  The Contra Costa County recorder’s office has the application on file, and he called the school the Phillip C. Knight Institute.  Garrido never operated the school, but many people are wondering how he, as a registered sex offender, was approved for the permit. 

In addition, someone who knows Garrido came forward this week with information that he was with two young girls, who were not his daughters, just days before the arrest.  The girls were supposedly around the ages of 6 and 7, and the Sheriff’s office is investigating the report but have yet to find any corroboration. 


Garrido’s parole is investigated

Phillip Garrido was on federal and then state parole during the time Dugard was in captivity.  Much criticism has arisen about how both California and federal parole agents supervised him during this time.  Currently, the U.S. Parole Commission is withholding 92 pages of his file because it said that releasing them would invade the personal privacy of other parties. 

Garrido’s parole was terminated early, and what follows is the reason why: “You are deserving of an early discharge.  You are commended for having responded positively to supervision and for the personal achievements you have made.  The commission trusts you will continue to be a productive citizen and obey the laws of society.”

When his parole ended in 1999, Garrido had been holding Dugard for 8 years.  A state report about how his parole was handled will be made public soon.


Dugard’s first picture and interview

The images that the public has of Jaycee Lee Dugard have been from the pictures of her from before her abduction.  That has now changed, as Dugard is on the cover of this week’s PEOPLE magazine, in her first photo since her rescue.  She also opens up about how she is moving on from her 18-year ordeal.  Dugard says she is “so happy to be back with [her] family” and that she has been riding horses, cooking meals, and is thinking about working on a book.  The recovery process for Dugard and her daughters will be long, but for now, they are moving forward and focusing on the future.