In an abduction story that shocked the nation, Jaycee Lee Dugard was just 11 years old when she was kidnapped while walking to her local bus stop. She would finally be rescued 18 years later, along with her two daughters who she had while in captivity. Jaycee Dugard is a tragic and heartbreaking example of kidnapping in America and her story continues to reinforce the important “See Something? Say Something!” mindset.
The Dugard Family
Jaycee was born on May 3, 1980, in Arcadia, California. Her parents were Terry Dugard and Ken Slayton, but Jaycee lived with her mom and stepfather Carl Probyn. Jaycee didn’t know her biological father. Terry and Ken split up before her birth and he never knew of her existence.
Despite this fact, Jaycee had a fairly normal childhood and was especially close to her mother. In 1990, Terry and Carl had a child together, a daughter they named Shanya. Unfortunately, Jaycee would not be around to watch her stepsister grow up.
Jaycee woke up on the morning of June 10, 1991, feeling a bit queasy. She had considered asking her stepfather if she could stay home from school. However, she decided against it, not wanting to start an argument.
As her mother worked early and Carl wasn’t always around, Jaycee often walked to the bus stop by herself. She would sometimes seek out the company of the several cats who roamed the neighborhood. She would also walk with a dog named Ninja on occasion. However, none of her animal friends were around that fateful day.
To get to the bus stop, Jaycee would have to mount the hill near her home and cross the road. As she walked, she daydreamed about summer and was excited about an upcoming field trip.
Jaycee looked back at the vehicle, expecting it to continue going forward past her. Instead, the car came to a stop next to Jaycee and the driver rolled down his window. A man, later determined to be Phillip Greg Garrido, began asking Jaycee for directions. However, Jaycee barely had time to respond before Phillip reached out the window and stunned the young girl with a taser.
Jaycee fell to the ground and tried to push herself away from the road; however, her struggle was futile. Phillip stepped out of the car, picked Jaycee up off the road, and tossed her into the back of his vehicle. Once inside, Phillip’s wife, Nancy Garrido, held Jaycee down.
Search efforts for Jaycee Dugard began immediately after she was kidnapped. Her stepfather, Carl, had witnessed the abduction from the family’s home and chased after the vehicle on a bicycle but was unable to catch up to the car or get a license plate number. Carl told authorities that he saw two individuals in a mid-sized gray vehicle, possibly a Mercury Monarch. Some of Jaycee’s classmates also witnessed the abduction.
Within just a few hours of Jaycee’s disappearance, the case made local and national news. Dozens of local volunteers came forward to assist with the search effort and thousands of posters and flyers were mailed to businesses throughout the U.S. The community also put pink ribbons throughout the town as a demonstration of their support to locate Jaycee. Pink was her favorite color and she was wearing all pink the morning she was kidnapped.
Terry founded a group she called Jaycee’s Hope to help direct the volunteer and fundraising efforts on her daughter’s behalf. T-shirts, sweatshirts, and buttons were sold to help raise money for printing, postage, poster materials, and other expenses. Terry also aided a songwriter and singer in the creation of “Jaycee Lee”, a song that was sold on cassette tapes to further earn money for the cause.
The search for Jaycee Dugard expanded outside of her little community. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, along with Child Quest International, was involved in the effort.
In the months and years after Jaycee went missing, Terry Dugard continued her efforts to search for her daughter while also raising awareness of child safety. She participated in fundraising events, hosted candlelight vigils, and made community appearances to keep her daughter’s case in the public eye.
Jaycee’s decades of terror began soon upon arriving at the Garrido home. She was threatened that there would be serious repercussions if she made noise or tried to flee.
After she refused, he forcefully stripped her of everything except a ring she wore on her pinkie finger. This would be one of the only items she had left from her life before her kidnapping.
Phillip then led Jaycee to the shower where he forcefully shaved her body and made her touch him. Jaycee was visibly upset, telling Phillip that their family didn’t have a lot of money but would pay a ransom for her. However, her pleas were ignored. After the shower incident, Jaycee was put in handcuffs and lead to the backyard where there was a soundproof room waiting for her.
During her first week in captivity, Phillip did not touch or sexually assault Jaycee aside from the initial shower incident. He did; however, visit with Jaycee and would bring her fast food and sodas. Phillip would tell her funny stories and even talk to her in different accents from around the world. Jaycee ultimately discovered these to be tactics to manipulate her into being compliant.
First of Many Rapes
Approximately one week into her captivity, Phillip brought Jaycee a milkshake and told her that he had something planned for her that day and that she could eat and drink once they were finished.
She soon learned how to detach her mind from the assaults and told herself stories in her head to distract from what was happening.
Jaycee had no entertainment while living in the Garrido’s backyard. At one point, Phillip had brought her a television but forbid her to watch the news to avoid seeing coverage of her case. About one and a half months into her kidnapping, Jaycee was brought to a larger room where she was handcuffed to a bed.
Throughout her time in captivity, she witnessed Phillip go into days-long methamphetamine binges in which he would speak about “demon angles” and say he could hear voices in the walls.
These binges would often end with Phillip crying and apologizing to Jaycee, combined with threats that he would sell her to people who would make her live in a cage.
Meeting Philip’s Wife Nancy and Other People
About seven months into Jaycee’s captivity, she was officially introduced to Phillip’s wife, Nancy. Nancy brought Jaycee a stuffed animal and some chocolate milk to comfort her. She would also give similar teary apologies to Jaycee, despite the part she played in her kidnapping. Jaycee would later say that Nancy was just as manipulative as her husband and that she often switched between motherly love and cruelty.
During her time at the Garrido’s, Jaycee met a handful of people. One such person was the Garrido’s neighbor, Patrick McQuaid. Later, Patrick would tell the San Jose Mercury News that he recalled meeting Jaycee as a child through a fence in the Garrido’s backyard and that she identified herself as “Jaycee.” When asked if she lived there or was visiting, Jaycee replied that she lived there. Soon after, Phillip built an 8-foot-tall fence around the backyard and set up a tent for Jaycee.
Jaycee was never allowed to see a doctor or dentist while in captivity. As entertainment and an attempt to make her happy in her new life, Phillip brought Jaycee kittens on two separate occasions. However, these kittens would mysteriously disappear.
Phillip also provided Jaycee with a journal but when he discovered that she wrote her real name in it, he forced her to rip out the pages. Jaycee would not be allowed to write or say her real name until the end of her captivity. Instead, she went by the name ‘Allissa.’
About three years into her captivity, Jaycee became pregnant with her first child. It was Easter Sunday in 1994 and Jaycee received a cooked meal from the couple for the first time. At this time, the couple informed her that they believed she was pregnant.
To prepare for the birth of her first daughter, Jaycee watched TV programs on childbirth. Her daughter was born on August 18, 1994, when Jaycee was 14 years old. After the birth, Phillip raped Jaycee less frequently. However, these rapes would still occur when Phillip was on drug binges.
The last time Jaycee was raped was on the day that her second daughter was conceived. At the time of her second daughter’s birth on November 13, 1997, Jaycee was 17 years old. Jaycee would use information that she learned from watching TV to teach her daughters, creating a makeshift “school” in the Garrido’s backyard.
To pacify his wife, Phillip forced Jaycee and her daughters to address Nancy as their mother and to teach her two daughters that she was their sister.
Throughout Jaycee’s 18 years of captivity, she spoke to numerous people and encountered several missed rescue opportunities. Phillip operated a print shop where Jaycee worked as a graphic artist. This job required her to use both a phone and a computer; however, she never attempted to reach out to anyone about her situation
Jaycee was also seen in the Garrido household by witnesses and sometimes would even answer the door and speak to people. On April 22, 1992, approximately a year after her kidnapping, a man contacted authorities to say that he had seen Jaycee inside a gas station looking at a missing child poster that had her name and face. However, Jaycee was gone by the time police arrived.
The informant also told authorities that Phillip was “psychotic” and had sexual additions, including being a sexual offender. However, a deputy sheriff spoke to Phillip in front of the home and left.
Jaycee was also failed in other ways after her kidnapping. Phillip had been incorrectly classified as only requiring low-level supervision after getting released from jail during Jaycee’s captivity. During this time, a parole agent encountered a 12-year-old girl living in the Garrido home but accepted Phillip’s explanation that she was his brother’s daughter. This information was never verified.
On August 24, 2009, Philip traveled to the University of California, Berkeley with Jaycee and her two daughters. The group visited the campus police office to ask for permission to host a special event as part of Phillip’s “God’s Desire” program. Phillip spoke with the special events manager, Lisa Campbell, who asked him to leave his name and return the next day which he did.
With Phillip’s name, Officer Ally Jacobs conducted a background check and discovered that Phillip was a sex offender and was on federal parole for previous kidnapping and rape charges unrelated to Jaycee. Phillip, Jaycee, and her two daughters returned the next day for their 2 p.m. appointment. The girls appeared pale as if they had not been exposed to sunlight in a long time.
Concerned for the girls’ well-being, Officer Jacobs phoned the parole office to notify them of several parole violations which were needed to make an arrest.
After finding the girls, Phillip told the officers that they were the daughters of a relative. Nothing was initially done about the violations but after the file was reviewed by a supervisor, Phillip was ordered to report to the office again as a follow-up.
On August 26, 2009, Phillip arrived at the police station with Nancy, the two girls, and Jaycee who identified herself as Allissa. Even after the parole officer separated Jaycee and her daughters from Phillip and Nancy, she maintained her false identity as Allissa. The officers continued to press Jaycee about her identity and she became extremely agitated. Phillip finally admitted that he had kidnapped and raped Jaycee. Only after this did she identify herself as Jaycee Dugard.
Arrests & Sentencing
On August 28, 2009, Phillip and his wife pled not guilty to charges, including kidnapping, false imprisonment, and rape. Phillip received 13 sexual assault charges and Nancy received a charge of aiding and abetting sexual assault. Phillip received 431 years to life in prison since he was already a registered sex offender prior to the kidnapping. His wife Nancy received 36 years.
Jaycee was reunited with her mother after 18 years on August 26, 2009, in South Lake Tahoe, California. Jaycee would later receive $20 million from a victim compensation fund. She also published a book entitled, “A Stolen Life.”
Today, Jaycee Dugard lives a private life with her two daughters. She has since written a follow-up to her memoir entitled ‘Freedom: My Book of Firsts,’ in which she describes her experiences after 18 years of captivity.