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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rapist Gets Religion & Get's Caught

Joyous, miraculous news that a little girl kidnapped nearly two decades ago was found alive gave way Thursday to the horrifying details of how police say she has lived all those years: kept by a convicted rapist in his backyard as a sex slave and forced to bear two of his children.

Jaycee Lee Dugard, who was 11 in 1991 when she was snatched from her school bus stop, was locked away from the outside world behind a series of fences, sheds and tents in the back of a suburban home.

Jaycee Lee Dugard was 11 years old when was snatched from a bus stop near her home in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., in 1991. Nearly two decades later, a woman walked into a Northern California police station and said she was Jaycee. Authorities said she was accompanied by her kidnapper and the two children she bore him.

Her abductor, investigators said, raped her for years and fathered two children with her, the first when Jaycee was about 14. Those children, both girls now 11 and 15, also were kept hidden away in the backyard compound.

"None of the children have ever been to school, they've never been to a doctor," El Dorado County Undersheriff Fred Kollar said. "They were kept in complete isolation in this compound."

Dugard, now 29, appeared at a parole office Wednesday with her children and the couple accused of kidnapping her. She was reunited Thursday with her mother, but the family was also learning that their smiling, blue-eyed, blonde ponytailed little girl had spent most of her life in captivity.

Convicted sex offender Phillip Garrido, 58, was being held for investigation of various kidnapping and sex charges. His wife, Nancy Garrido, 54, was also arrested, and authorities said she was with Garrido during the kidnapping in South Lake Tahoe.

The case broke after Garrido was spotted Tuesday with two children as he tried to enter the University of California, Berkeley, campus to hand out religious literature. The officers said he was acting suspiciously toward the children. They questioned him and did a background check, determining he was a parolee, and informed his parole officer.

Garrido was ordered to appear for a parole meeting and arrived Wednesday with Dugard, who identified herself as "Allissa," his wife and two children. During questioning, corrections officials said he admitted kidnapping Dugard. Investigators said he did not yet have an attorney. Authorities said they do not know if Garrido also abused his daughters, but they are investigating.

Dugard's stepfather, who witnessed her abduction and was a longtime suspect in the case, said he was overwhelmed by the news after doing everything he could to help find her. "It broke my marriage up. I've gone through hell, I mean I'm a suspect up until yesterday," a tearful Carl Probyn, 60, told The Associated Press at his home in Orange, Calif.

People who knew Garrido said he became increasingly fanatic about his religious beliefs in recent years, sometimes breaking out into song and claiming that God spoke to him through a box. "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. in Pittsburgh.

In April 2008, Garrido registered a corporation called Gods Desire at his home address, according the California Secretary of State. During recent visits to the showroom, Garrido would talk about quitting the printing business to preach full time and gave the impression he was setting up a church, Allen said.

Garrido gave a rambling, sometimes incoherent phone interview to KCRA-TV from the El Dorado County jail Thursday in which he said he had not admitted to a kidnapping and that he had turned his life around and became religious since the birth of his first daughter 15 years ago.

Garrido was convicted of kidnapping a 25-year-old woman whom he snatched from a South Lake Tahoe parking lot, handcuffed, tied down and held in a mini-warehouse in Reno, according to a November 1976 story in the Reno Gazette-Journal. A detective at the time said he found the woman with Garrido in a warehouse that had rugs on the floor and walls, pornographic magazines, a movie projector, a spotlight, wine and hot water.

Her stepfather said he saw someone reach out and grab her before the car sped away.
"As soon as I saw the door fly open, the driver's door, I jumped on my mountain bike and I tried to get to the top of the hill but I had no energy," Probyn recalled. "I rode back down and yelled at my neighbor, 911!"

Probyn said his wife, from whom he is separated, was devastated by the kidnapping. He said for 10 years after the crime, she would take a week off work at Christmas and on the anniversary of the abduction and spend the time crying at home. Probyn eventually lost hope that he would ever see his stepdaughter alive. In the interview he gave before details about her captivity emerged, he said he was struggling to understand why Dugard didn't come forward earlier. "I don't know if she was brainwashed, I don't know if she was walking around on the street, I don't know if she was locked up under key for 18 years, I have no idea."

See Chick's LISA.

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