Kidnap Victim Lived in Antioch Backyard for 18 Years

Bay City News
Friday August 28, 2009 - 04:32:00 PM
Phillip Craig Garrido, 58, and Nancy Garrido, 55.
Phillip Craig Garrido, 58, and Nancy Garrido, 55.

Jaycee Lee Dugard, who was kidnapped from South Lake Tahoe at age 11 in 1991, spent 18 years living in the backyard of an Antioch home, raising two daughters fathered by the man who kidnapped her, investigators said today.  

Dugard was abducted by a man and woman driving a gray car as she walked from her home to a bus stop on the morning of June 10, 1991. Her stepfather, Carl Probyn, witnessed the abduction. 

On Wednesday, more than 18 years later, Probyn received a call from Dugard’s mother, Terry Probyn, saying the FBI had told her that her daughter had been found.  

An Antioch couple, Phillip Craig Garrido, 58, and Nancy Garrido, 55, were arrested for the kidnapping.  

Investigators believe Dugard, now 29, lived in a tent complex that had been set up in the backyard of the Garridos’ home on Walnut Avenue in an unincorporated pocket of Antioch, El Dorado County Undersheriff Fred Kollar said at a news conference in Placerville today.  

Dugard went by the name “Allissa” and had two daughters fathered by Phillip Garrido, Kollar said. She is now 29 years old; her daughters are 11 and 15.  

The three lived in a series of tents and sheds set up in a “secret” area of the backyard that was hidden by a 6-foot fence covered with a tarp.  

Two of the outbuildings had electricity supplied by an extension cord, and one shed was soundproof and could only be opened from the outside, Kollar said. The backyard contained a rudimentary outhouse and shower, Kollar said.  

Dugard’s daughters have apparently never been to school and never visited a doctor, Kollar said.  

"They were in complete isolation,” Kollar said.  

Cheyvonne Molino, owner of JM Enterprises, a Pittsburg auto dismantling yard, said Phillip Garrido had brought his daughters to a sweet sixteen party Molino held for her own daughter on Tuesday. 

Molino said she has known Garrido for about 10 years through her business, which she owns with her husband, and that he regularly printed business cards for them.  

He had never mentioned a wife or daughters, she said.  

“We were kind of shocked when he said, ‘Is it OK if my daughter comes to your daughter’s birthday party?’” Molino said.  

She said the two girls appeared to be about 11 and 13 years old.  

“He came, he brought his girls, they stayed for a little bit,” she said. At one point, according to Molino, Garrido said something to the effect of, “This isn’t what they’re used to, so we’re going to go ahead and go.” 

Molino said Garrido would often stop by JM Enterprises, on Willow Pass Road, with bottles of water for customers and employees. He would hand out the water and tell people about a church he was starting; one day, he brought a guitar, she said.  

Garrido wouldn’t press people on religion; he would just tell them to enjoy the water and would say “Jesus loves you,” Molino said.  

Molino said the girls had been by the store and had told an employee they were home schooled and that there was a church in their basement.  

The case of missing Jaycee Dugard began to crack open on Tuesday, when a police officer at the University of California at Berkeley saw Garrido on campus with the two girls and found their interaction strange, Kollar said.  

He said Garrido was trying to pass out literature on the campus. 

The police officer checked Garrido’s background and found that he was on federal parole.  

On Wednesday, Garrido’s parole officer had him come to his Concord office, and Garrido showed up with Nancy Garrido, “Allissa” and the two girls. 

“Allissa” turned out to be Jaycee Dugard, Kollar said. 

The El Dorado County District Attorney’s office expects to file charges against the Garridos by noon Friday.  

Dugard’s mother flew up to the Bay Area this morning from Southern California and reunited with her daughter in Contra Costa County, Kollar said.  

The Garridos were booked into Contra Costa County jail late Wednesday night and were transferred to El Dorado County this morning. 

Nancy Garrido was booked on charges of kidnapping and conspiracy, according to Contra Costa County jail records. Her husband was booked on charges including kidnapping, conspiracy, rape and committing lewd acts with a minor. 

Both were being held in lieu of $1 million bail. 

Residents of Walnut Avenue today grappled with the news that their neighbors had been arrested for Dugard’s kidnapping. The couple’s gray, one-story home was cordoned off with police tape.  

Betty Unpingco has lived on the street for 10 years and said the Garridos moved in after she did. “We’re all shocked, scared that it can happen just a few doors down,” she said.  

She said she saw Phillip Garrido more than his wife, and that she didn’t know him well but that she had once bought business cards from him.  

Angela Crabaugh, whose son lives across the street from the Garridos, described Phillip Garrido as a religious fanatic who was trying to form his own church.  

“I just always thought he was very bizarre,” she said.  

Garrido published a blog, http://voicesrevealed.blogspot.com, in which he claimed to be able to control sound with his mind. In a post earlier this month, he wrote that he had “the ability to speak in the tongue of angels” and had hosted a demonstration of this ability at JM Enterprises. 

Molino said she didn’t know until today that her business had been mentioned on the blog, and was shocked to learn of the allegations against Garrido.  

Dugard was abducted on June 10, 1991, while walking to a bus stop near her South Lake Tahoe home wearing a pink windbreaker and pink stretch pants.  

As she walked, a gray late-model sedan made a U-turn, approached Jaycee and a woman described as about 30 years old with long, dark hair pulled her inside, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. A man was also seen in the car. 

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office has confiscated a car hidden in the backyard of the Garridos’ home that investigators believe may have been used in the abduction, Kollar said.  

At the time of the abduction, Phillip Garrido was on federal parole for a separate kidnapping, a federal prison official said.  

He was convicted of kidnapping in U.S. District Court in Nevada and was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison in March 1977, said Brad Murray, a correctional systems officer at the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan. 

He was sent to Leavenworth where he stayed until he was transferred to Lompoc in 1986, Murray said. He was paroled from Lompoc in January 1988, but was placed in a halfway house in San Francisco from August to December 1988 because of a minor parole violation, according to Murray. 

Garrido was not in federal custody at the time of Dugard’s abduction, but was arrested again in April 1993 because of another parole violation, Murray said. 

After a month, Garrido was transferred to home supervision and was released from supervision in August 1993, Murray said. 

Contra Costa County sheriff’s spokesman Jimmy Lee said Garrido has been registered with the sheriff’s office as a sex offender since 1999. 

Carl Probyn is no longer together with Dugard’s mother but remains close to her, and this morning he was still high from receiving her phone call the day before.  

“I’m running around the house like I’ve had six cups of coffee,” he said. 

He said Terry Probyn spoke with her daughter briefly on the phone before flying to the Bay Area. 

“It was kind of short and sweet but my wife did say that she remembers everything,” he said.  

Kollar said today that Dugard appears to be doing well physically. 

“Living in the backyard for the past 18 years does take its toll but she was in good health,” he said. 

Kollar said Dugard was “relatively cooperative” and “relatively forthcoming.” 

Former El Dorado County sheriff’s deputy Rick Olson was one of the people involved in the initial investigation into Dugard’s disappearance, and he attended today’s news conference.  

He said he has thought about the case a lot over the years. 

“I always wondered if there was something else I could have done, a different question I could have asked,” he said.  

He learned that Dugard had been found from news reports on Wednesday night. “I’m shocked and speechless,” he said. “I didn’t think this day would come.”