Jaycee Dugard, 11, set out to walk to her school bus stop in South Lake Tahoe, California on the morning of June 10, 1991. It was 18 years before her family would ever see her again. So, what happened to Jaycee Dugard?
That morning, convicted rapist Phillip Garrido and his wife, Nancy Garrido, kidnapped Jaycee. What occurred over the course of those terrifying 18 years, and what has Dugard been up to since? This is her story.
Who Is Jaycee Dugard?
Jaycee Lee Dugard was born on May 3, 1980, She was raised by her mother, Terry Probyn, and stepfather, Carl Probyn.
In 1979, Terry had an affair with Dugard’s biological father, Ken Slayton. Terry always admitted that Slayton was Jaycee’s father, and claimed that he repeatedly refused to be part of her life. Slayton, meanwhile, said later he never knew Jaycee was his biological daughter.
Only after Jaycee was rescued in 2009 did Slayton petition the courts to establish his paternity. At that point, however, Jaycee had no interest in meeting Slayton. While she could always change her mind, she said in a statement, “DNA does not make a family.”
In September 1990, Jaycee Dugard and her family moved from Arcadia, California to Meyers, a rural town outside of South Lake Tahoe, California. The family made the move because they thought it was a safer community.
June 10, 1991: Jaycee Dugard Kidnapped
On Monday, June 10, Terry Dugard was running late for work and didn’t kiss her daughter goodbye.
Later, Jaycee, 11, got ready for school. She put on her favorite pink shirt and a ring in the shape of a butterfly that her mother gave her.
She yelled “bye” to her stepfather, who was in the garage, and walked up the hill from her house to catch the school bus.
A car crept up behind her when she was about halfway up the hill. A voice asked her for directions.
The driver then shot Jaycee with a stun gun. She felt “tingly” and “numb,” and stumbled back into the bushes. The last thing she remembers was touching something “sticky.”
Jaycee’s stepfather saw the kidnapping through the garage window. He jumped on his bicycle and tried to chase the kidnappers down, but he couldn’t catch up.
The next thing Jaycee remembers is being in the back of a car, handcuffed, under a blanket, and someone sitting on top of her.
She recalls hearing Phillip Garrido, the driver, telling his wife Nancy, “I can’t believe we got away with it.”
For the next three hours, Jaycee drifted in and out of consciousness while Garrido drove to his home 170 miles away, at 1554 Walnut Avenue, in Antioch, California.
Once in Antioch, he took Jaycee into his backyard where he had a compound of tents and sheds. He locked her inside a tiny, soundproof room.
Garrido raped her; the young girl was still wearing her handcuffs.
When he was finished, he warned the naked and terrified Dugard that there were dogs outside trained to attack her if she tried to escape.
Jaycee Dugard Faces Life in Captivity
Over the ensuing weeks, Phillip Garrido visited Jaycee in the structure, bringing her food and milkshakes.
He also raped the 11-year-old on a regular basis. He would dress her up, sometimes get high on methamphetamine, and abuse her for a full day.
Jaycee later said that Garrido told her she was saving the lives of other girls by remaining in captivity.
When Garrido and his wife kidnapped Jaycee, he was a convicted sex offender on parole for a previous abduction and rape. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison, but released after serving 11 years.
Why? Because apparently he was the shining example of a reformed criminal. He had not, according to the state of California, committed a crime since his rape conviction in 1976. Garrido performed so well in federal prison that he was paroled almost 40 years early from a Nevada state prison.
Garrido was so reformed that no one suspected him in the 1991 kidnapping of Jaycee Dugard.
Once in captivity, he took to controlling the rest of Jaycee’s life. That included brainwashing and emotionally abusing her. He barred her from saying her own name, and made her change it. She chose “Alyssa.”
Kidnapped, alone, with a new name, the only thing she had from her previous life was the butterfly ring she managed to hide.
During her captivity, Jaycee kept a diary in which she would pine for freedom, feeling physically and emotionally trapped, and longed to be reunited with her mother.
Still, she was emotionally conflicted, and protective of the couple.
In a diary entry written two years after her kidnapping, Jaycee wrote, “I got a cat for my birthday from Phil and Nancy … they did something for me that no one else would do for me, they paid 200 dollars just so I could have my own kitten.”
Jaycee could not understand, though, that the kitten was a way to manipulate the then 13-year-old. The kitten gave her comfort, but Phillip Garrido still raped her on a regular basis.
Jaycee counted a number of cats as her close companions, chronicling their likes and dislikes in her diary. But they all met the same fate: Garrido took them away from her.
In the early months, Jaycee lived alternately in the tiny music studio and a slightly larger structure.
Initially handcuffed, she was given small rewards: the handcuffs were taken off; she was given a TV (but not allowed to watch the news), a Nintendo video game, and crayons.
Jaycee and Nancy
Phillip kept Jaycee Dugard to himself for the first seven months. Only then did he introduce Jaycee to his wife, Nancy.
Like Phillip, though, she was a master manipulator. Nancy brought Jaycee stuffed animals, junk food, and chocolate milk.
At the same time, she’d give the girl tearful apologies about her predicament.
Not surprisingly, Jaycee was confused. She also craved Nancy’s attention and approval, which at times could be motherly or cruel.
Both Phillip and Nancy spent time with Jaycee, watching movies together and sleeping in the shelter with her. Jaycee slept on the floor, while the Garridos slept on her bed.
At one point, probably a year into her captivity, when Jaycee was 12, Nancy informed her that Phillip would be away for a month.
“Wow! A WHOLE MONTH WITH NO SEX! I am so excited inside,” she wrote in her memoir, A Stolen Life. “But she [Nancy] looks so sad I just say, ‘Fine.’”
But there was more going on than meets the eye. On more than one occasion, when Phillip was away, Nancy served as Jaycee’s jailer.
Fast forward to April 1993: Phillip Garrido was sent back to prison for failing a drug test, which was a parole violation.
After spending 38 days in jail, he was released under home confinement supervision.
During those 38 days, Nancy, the crying apologist, again served as Jaycee’s jailer.
Jaycee Dugard Had 2 Daughters in Captivity
Three years into her captivity, Jaycee Dugard gave birth to her first child, fathered by her kidnapper, Phillip Garrido. She was just 14 years old.
Jaycee knew nothing about sex before she was kidnapped at 11 years of age. She only knew she was pregnant because her captors told her she was. Jaycee knew she was gaining weight, but had no idea why.
She knew there would be no doctors on hand to help her deliver the baby, so she watched videos about giving birth.
Jaycee was locked in one of the rooms in the backyard compound when she started having pains.
Jaycee said it was the most physically painful experience of her young life.
“I didn’t know I was in labor,” she said. “Then I saw her. She was beautiful. I felt like I wasn’t alone anymore. [I] had somebody that was mine … And I knew I could never let anything happen to her.”
She named her first daughter Angel.
Three years later, in 1997, when she was 17, Jaycee gave birth to her second daughter, Starlit.
While in captivity, Angel and Starlit were told by Garrido that Jaycee was their older sister, and that he and Nancy were their parents. The girl never told her daughters that they were actually being held captive in the dilapidated backyard compound.
During this time, Jaycee made every effort to educate her two daughters, going so far as to create a school in the compound. She taught them everything she could, even though she herself only had a grade five education.
A young Jaycee Dugard worked hard to maintain a semblance of normalcy in the backyard prison, but yearned to be reunited with her mother Terry. Throughout the ordeal, she held onto the butterfly ring given to her by her mother and saw it as a symbol of hope.
“I wanted to see her more than anything,” she said about her mother. “I would cry every day. [It was] hardest when I would think about her and what she was doing and then—trying to convince myself she was better without me.”
What Jaycee couldn’t possibly know was that her mother never gave up searching for her.
1995: Jaycee Starts Working for Garrido’s Printing Company
Four years after being kidnapped and one year after giving birth to Angel, Garrido allowed Jacyee into his actual home.
Not content with just kidnapping, raping, and brainwashing her, Phillip also wanted Jaycee to earn her keep.
He trained her to work as a secretary for his printing business.
Jaycee was even seen walking around the small town where they lived with both Phillip and Nancy. On top of that, Phillip also took Angel and Starlit along with him when he gave clients tours of his printing business. They were also seen helping him hand out religious fliers and standing by when he was busy preaching at people.
Phillip Garrido considered himself to be a very religious man.
In 2008, he incorporated a business called God’s Desire, which was based out of his home in Antioch. Garrido referred to God’s Desire as a church.
People who knew Garrido said he was increasingly fanatical about his religious beliefs. In addition to preaching at people, the preacher would break into song. He claimed that God spoke to him through a black box.
The same black box—that had a handle, metal switch, and jacks for plugging in headphones—also allowed him to communicate without speaking.
“He would move his lips and not speak … and you would be able to hear his voice through the headphones,” a friend said.
Garrido was so convinced of the power of his black box that he wanted to patent it, and sought out private investors.
To drum up interest, Garrido even wrote a rambling press release, touting the wonders of his black box.
“A Bay-area man has made a major discovery concerning the phenomenon of voice,” the release said. It was accompanied by an older photograph of a much younger Garrido.
The press release provides insight into the kidnapper’s state of mind.
“This is an unprecedented leap forward in the advancement of knowledge,” he wrote. “Just think, this is the first time in history that a man can come forward confirming he can produce a set of voices confirming a power unknown to man. Thousands of people from all over the world will benefit from the knowledge. In Russia alone their hospitals are filled to capacity with innocent victims.”
The lengthy press release ended with Garrido quoting the Hebrew Bible and New Testament about speaking in tongues, and having the power of God-given prophesy.
“In the last couple years he started getting into this strange religious stuff. We kind of felt sorry for him,” said Tim Allen, president of East County Glass and Window Inc. Allen was a long-time client of Garrido’s. He purchased business cards and letterhead from Garrido’s printing business.
Allen noted how Garrido arrived at the glass showroom with two “cute little blonde girls.” During these visits he would talk about quitting the printing business and preaching full time.
“He rambled. It made no sense,” he said.
Garrido spoke about holding events at UC Berkeley. That move would be his eventual downfall.
August 24, 2009: Garrido Visits the FBI and UC Berkeley
On Monday, August 24, 2009, emboldened by the spirit and wisdom of God, Garrido marched into the offices of the FBI in San Francisco. He handed them a typewritten spiritual manifesto he said could cure sexual predators and schizophrenia. It was essentially a different version of his press release.
In this manifesto, though, Garrido noted how in August, at the University of California Berkeley, he would preach at the school’s free speech park to “disclose new information” and “provide a live demonstration,” as well as “begin saving lives.”
Afterwards, Garrido went to UC Berkeley to secure the event space for this spiritual mission. It is there that he caught the attention of two campus police officers: both women.
Garrido approached Lisa Campbell, the special events manager for the university police, with Angel and Starlit. He asked her about holding his event, which was related to God’s Desire. He said it would be “big,” and the government was involved. Unfortunately, Campbell had another commitment and asked him to return the next day.
Campbell thought something seemed off about the man and the two young girls.
“The girls sort of were recessed in the background. And they were young. It was one o’clock in the afternoon. They weren’t in school. They were pretty much unresponsive emotionally, extremely pale … there was just something about the girls that wasn’t right,” Campbell later recalled.
She got his name and made an appointment for 2:00 p.m. on August 26.
“I was meticulous in how I treated him,” she said. “I didn’t want him to not come back the second day.”
August 25, 2009: Garrido Meets His Match
After he left, Campbell did a background check on Garrido and discovered he was on parole for a rape conviction and that he was a registered sex offender.
The special events manager then asked Allison Jacobs, a police officer with the campus police, to sit in on her meeting with Garrido.
Garrido showed up for the meeting on Tuesday, August 25 with Angel and Starlit in tow. Jacobs began talking to the two girls, checking for signs of abuse.
The two girls “looked healthy, not malnourished, but drab. I couldn’t get over the intense stare of the younger girl, like she was looking into my soul,” said Jacobs. It felt “like Little House on the Prairie meets cult with kids.”
Fortunately, this did not sit well with Jacobs, who had two small children of her own.
“They both said that they were home schooled,” Jacobs said. “And when I asked about that, they said that the mom and the dad both home schooled them. And then they mentioned an older sister.”
That’s when Jacobs said her mother’s intuition kicked in. “I started thinking like a concerned mom.”
Campbell, meanwhile, was listening to Garrido talk about a booklet he had written, Origin of Schizophrenia Revealed. He mentioned how he was once convicted of kidnapping and rape, but was now “doing God’s work.”
Jacobs had no legal recourse for making an arrest, but when Garrido left, she called his parole officer and suggested that he check up on Garrido.
When she got to work Wednesday morning, she had a telephone conversation with Garrido’s parole officer.
“And he stopped me dead in my tracks,” Jacobs said.
“He said, ‘He doesn’t have daughters.’ And that’s when my heart kind of sunk down into my stomach. And I said, ‘Well, he introduced them as his daughters. They had his blue eyes. They were calling him “Dad.” They even mentioned an older sister at home. So I had no reason to believe that they were anything but his daughters.’”
August 26, 2009: A Confession
On August 25, 2009, two parole officers went to Garrido’s house, but never saw Jaycee Dugard or the two girls. They brought Garrido in and interviewed him. He said that they were the children of a relative of his. The officers told him to bring the three girls in the next day.
On August 26, at the parole office, Jaycee refused to show any identification and maintained that her name was Alyssa.
Jaycee said she was fully aware that Garrido had taken the two young girls to UC Berkeley and that he was a sex offender on parole for kidnapping and raping a woman. She also said that Garrido was a changed man who was good with the children.
At this point, Jaycee said she wasn’t going to provide any more information and suggested she might need a lawyer.
Parole officers and Concord police, who had joined them, then separated Garrido from the others.
Garrido told the officers that the three young women were sisters and that their father was his brother who lived in Oakley, California.
After a few rounds of interviews, Garrido eventually admitted he was the father of the two girls. He also said that he had kidnapped and raped “Alyssa.”
Only when “Alyssa” found out that Garrido had admitted to kidnapping and raping her did she tell the investigators that her real name was Jaycee Dugard.
August 26, 2009: A Reunion
On August 26, 2009, more than 18 years after she was kidnapped, Jaycee Dugard was reunited with her mother, Terry Probyn, in South Lake Tahoe, California.
Both still remember their first phone conversation.
“I remember you shouting, ‘We found her,’” Jaycee said. “I was crying. You know, when you’re crying, you can’t speak. Oh I just said, ‘Come quick.’ I remember saying, ‘Come. Come quick.'”
“And I remember telling you, ‘I’m coming, baby. I’m coming,’” Terry added.
After Dugard was reunited with her family, along with her daughters, the kidnapping victim started to ask people to bring her pinecones. It turns out that pinecones were the sticky thing she had touched when she stumbled back after being hit with a stun gun on June 10, 1991.
“Back then [the pinecone] was the last thing I touched. You know, the last grip on me. Now, it’s—it’s a symbol of hope and new beginnings. And that—there is life after something tragic,” Dugard said.
Jaycee’s Daughters Had No Idea She Was Kidnapped
Angel and Starlit had no idea their mother had been kidnapped and was being held prisoner by their biological father. In fact, they clung to Garrido when police arrested him.
“They have been so sheltered around him, they were clinging to him. Basically they are upset about this because that’s their father and he’s in jail,” Carl Probyn said.
It’s clear that this transition into freedom will entail years and years of therapy for both mother and daughters.
$20.0-Million Settlement from State of California
In July 2010, less than one year after being freed, Jaycee Dugard and her mother were awarded a $20.0-million settlement from the State of California. It was determined that state officials had failed on numerous occasions to properly monitor Garrido.
3 Times Law Enforcement Failed Jaycee Dugard
It would be impossible to add up the number of mistakes three separate government agencies had to consistently make to ensure that Jaycee Dugard stayed captive for nearly two decades.
For more than 18 years, the United States Parole Commission, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the local Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office missed numerous opportunities to save Jaycee Dugard.
Below are three of their most egregious errors.
#1. Failure to Identify Garrido as a Suspect in 1991
Despite being a repeat kidnapper and rapist with a history of committing his crimes in South Lake Tahoe, and despite being on federal parole at the time, Garrido’s name didn’t even pop up on police radar.
When Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped on June 10, 1991 in South Lake Tahoe, Garrido had already kidnapped and raped three identified victims, and attempted to rape another. Dugard was the fifth known victim of Garrido and the fourth out of South Lake Tahoe.
#2. Failure of Parole Supervision
Federal and state parole agencies failed to adequately supervise Garrido. Federal parole agents failed when they did not properly supervise him for 11 years from 1988 to 1999.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation compounded these mistakes when they did not adequately supervise Garrido for 10 additional years: from 1999 to 2009.
#3. Failure of Federal Parole Supervision from May 1991 to May 1995
During the first four years in which Dugard was being held captive and raped in Garrido’s backyard, a federal parole agent supervising Garrido only visited his residence once. And then, only very briefly.
Had the federal parole agents actually done their job and searched the residence, they would have found Jaycee Dugard. Instead, she had to wait 14 more years to be rescued.
April 28, 2011, Jaycee’s Kidnappers Plead Guilty
On April 28, 2011, Phillip Garrido, 60, and his wife Nancy, 55, pleaded guilty to the 1991 kidnapping of 11-year-old Jaycee Dugard. Phillip also received 13 sexual assault charges, while Nancy had a charge of aiding and abetting sexual assault.
Initially, though, they were not going to plead guilty. Garrido didn’t think he had any reason to.
In fact, in an earlier interview, Garrido said, “You’re going to find the most powerful story coming from the witness, from the victim,” he promised. “If you take this a step at a time, you’re going to fall over backward, and in the end you’re going to find the most powerful, heartwarming story.”
Phillip Garrido received 431 years to life in prison, since he was already a registered sex offender before the kidnapping. Nancy was given just 36 years.
Jaycee Dugard Publishes Harrowing Memoir,“A Stolen Life”
Despite leading a private life with her two daughters, Jaycee Lee Dugard continues to be active behind the scenes.
In 2011, Jaycee published a memoir, A Stolen Life, about her years in captivity.
As one reviewer noted, “The intimate details of her kidnapping, sexual abuse, and 18 years spent as a hostage are tough reading, but it’s worth the effort.”
July 2016, Jaycee Dugard Publishes “Freedom: My Book of Firsts”
In July 2016, Dugard published a follow-up to A Stolen Life with Freedom: My Book of Firsts, in which she described her experiences after years of captivity.
“There is life after something tragic happens,” Dugard wrote. “Life doesn’t have to end if you don’t want it to. It’s all in how you look at it. Somehow, I still believe that we each hold the key to our own happiness and you have to grab it where you can in whatever form it might take.”
Jaycee Dugard Today
Since being rescued, Jaycee Dugard has founded the JAYC Foundation, an acronym for “Just Ask Yourself to Care.” The non-profit foundation aims to to “be of service to families that have suffered a familial or non-familial abduction or other trauma.”
The foundation logo incorporates a pinecone.
Dugard has spoken at Yale and Harvard, and to other advocacy groups.
Jaycee Dugard is also active on Twitter.