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Family of Jaycee Lee Dugard tell of ‘miracle’
Antioch, (California Aug 29 (Agencies):
Published on 29 Aug. 2009 11:23 PM IST
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It was a moment Terry Probyn had dreamed of for 18 pain-filled years. A hope she had kept alive when everyone around her abandoned theirs. Suddenly, standing a few feet away was her daughter Jaycee, snatched off the street when she was just 11 and long presumed dead by police and even her own family. But here she was. A 29-year-old who somehow looked just as she had on that terrible day she disappeared. At her side were her daughters aged 11 and 15 – children fathered by pervert Phillip Garrido, who had kept her hidden in his garden for almost two decades. For both mother and daughter, the emotion of yesterday’s reunion was almost overwhelming. Jaycee’s stepdad Carl was a model of understatement yesterday as he said: “I think they’re pretty happy.” Jaycee was also reunited with her 19-year-old sister Shawna and another relative at the meeting in northern California. Carl said Jaycee seemed remarkably well despite everything she has endured. He added: “She sounds normal. She told my wife she remembers everything. She told her mother ‘Mum I’ve got a baby’. Terry said ‘How many?’ And Jaycee said, ‘I’ve got two, they are 15 and 11-years-old’. “My wife says Jaycee looks good. She looks almost like when she was kidnapped. She looks very young. She doesn’t look 29. “I don’t know whether Jaycee is still 11-years-old in her mind. I mean, who calls a 15-year-old and an 11 year-old babies?” Carl admitted he never thought he would see his stepdaughter again. He added: “It’s a miracle we got her back. I gave up hope for 18 years, just went into recovery mode. Now, I just won the lotto. It’s just unbelievable.” Carl also told how Jaycee even blames herself for being abducted by convicted rapist and religious nut Garrido, 58, as she headed for school. He added: “Jaycee feels really guilty for bonding with this man. There’s really a guilt trip here. It’s pretty sick. I feel sorry for Jaycee going through this. He’s had her locked up in the backyard for 18 years.” Jaycee was renamed Allissa by Garrido and his brainwashed wife Nancy, 55, as they kept her in a hidden compound at their home in Antioch, near San Francisco. The house is owned by Garrido’s mother, who was there throughout Jaycee’s ordeal. Her two daughters, who lived with Jaycee in two tumbledown sheds, have never been to school or seen a doctor. Carl was in the garage of his home in South Lake Tahoe in June 1991 when he heard Jaycee being abducted. He heard her scream as she waited at a bus stop and saw her being pulled into a grey Ford. He gave chased on his bike, but couldn’t catch the car. Carl said: “Being the stepdad made me a suspect. I went through hell.” He took three FBI lie-detector tests and passed them all. Carl said: “They were fishing. But I have no fault with them.” The ordeal of the kidnapping and the cloud of suspicion destroyed his marriage. Terry moved out, although they never divorced. Jaycee’s real father was ruled out as a suspect because he had a solid alibi. Garrido has been charged with kidnapping, rape and committing lewd acts with a minor. Nancy has been charged with kidnapping and conspiracy. Garrido yesterday gave a rambling interview to a TV station in which he claimed his was a “heartwarming story”. His brother Ron yesterday told of his horror at learning about Jaycee. He added: “It just seems so bizarre but I know my brother and I can believe he did that. He’s a fruitcake. My thoughts are with the poor little girl.” Ron said Garrido never spoke of Jaycee. But two years ago Garrido visited an aunt with his daughters. He claimed he was babysitting them for a neighbour but his aunt was unconvinced. Ron said: “My aunt told me ‘I swear that oldest girl is his daughter. She’s got his eyes’.” Garrido’s mother Pat still lives in the house in Antioch, which is 170 miles from where Jaycee was snatched. Ron said Pat has had dementia for the last eight years. He claimed Nancy was under his brother’s command and behaved like a robot. He added: “She’d do anything he asked her.” Garrido is said to have had a normal childhood but went off the rails after getting involved with drugs. He was convicted of rape and kidnap after taking a woman prisoner in 1971. Garrido met wife Nancy while he was in jail. She had been visiting her uncle. They wrote to each other and then wed in prison. On his release, he and Nancy moved into his mother’s home. Ron said: “My brother could do no wrong in my mother’s eyes. I’m sure he told her some story and she bought the whole thing.” When police searched the house and yard they found the scruffy Ford that had been used to abduct Jaycee. She was discovered after Garrido aroused the suspicions of guards as he gave out religious leaflets on the University of California campus. Checks showed he was a convicted rapist. He was ordered to attend his parole office and turned up with Nancy, “Allissa” and her two daughters. The parole officer was suspicious and called police.

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