The ordeal of Jaycee Dugard: she was kidnapped for 18 years, lived a nightmare of abuse and was saved by chance

The ordeal of Jaycee Dugard: she was kidnapped for 18 years, lived a nightmare of abuse and was saved by chance

Twelve years have passed since Jaycee Lee Dugard saw the light again. She was 11 when on the way to the bus stop that took her to school, a car stopped in the middle of the road, rolled down the window and ended up ripping her out of her life to put her in a world of rape and manipulation for the next 18 years.

Those who drove down the road in the rural town Meyers, south of Lake Tahoe, were Phillip Garrido and his wife, Nancy Bocanegra. They had met in jail. He was a pedophile with a record and had abuses, rapes and even confessed that he parked his car outside the schools to observe his victims.

According to the Justice reports, he had “deviant sexual behavior and drug addiction”. In addition to his pedophilia and methamphetamine propensity, he often exhibited religious delusions.

In 1988, Garrido had been granted parole and moved to the home of his mother, who suffered from senile dementia. The rapist had to be monitored by the police with an electronic anklet. It never happened or at least not as it should have.

Three years after his release, on June 10, 1991, he and his wife were walking peacefully along the route of Meyers to completely ruin the life of a girl and her entire family.

Anguish and disappearance

Jaycee was the daughter of Terry and Ken Slayton, but her mom separated from her dad even before she was born, so her next partner, Carl Probyn, became her adoptive father. From such a union, the girl had another sister, Shayna, who was barely two years old.

That morning in June, when the 11-year-old girl was walking like every day to the bus that would take her to school, her mother left in a hurry to work and her stepfather was left in her charge, who followed her step from the window of the house. From that same window, Carl saw it all. So did her colleagues who were waiting for her on the bus.

Nancy Bocanegra, Garrido's wife who was part of the kidnapping and endorsed the violations.
Nancy Bocanegra, Garrido’s wife who was part of the kidnapping and endorsed the violations.

He saw his adopted daughter being immobilized with a stun gun, grabbed and put inside that gray car, the one that made a “u” turn and accelerated for 240 kilometers in a trip that lasted three hours. Carl tried to follow the car with his bike, but at one point it became impossible.

As usually happens in these cases, where family members are targeted – even more so if they are non-biological relatives- Probyn was initially targeted for the disappearance of Jaycee (18 years later, when the young woman appeared, her adoptive father confessed the suffering he went through when accused of being involved in the kidnapping of his stepdaughter).

But it was also pointed out Ken Slayton, who did not even know that he had a daughter because his ex-wife had hidden it from him.

As soon as the girl disappeared, the town began to fill with photos with her face marked by her smile and her blond hair; the area was also adorned with hundreds of pink ribbons, the favorite color of Jaycee.

The family never tired of searching or insisting on the investigation, but the negligence of the police was abysmal, since they did not even think about it. Garrido could become a suspect, when he had been granted parole just three years earlier.

The phone calls to the house startled Terry, who was desperate to imagine that it could be his little girl. But some helpful ones wrote down her number to play bad jokes on the mother and provide false clues that all they did was make her even more distressed.

A perverse mind

Three hours from where the girl should have gotten into her school bus to attend classes was the county of Against Coast, a place that would become her captivity for her next 18 years.

It didn’t take long for Garrido to show Jaycee his most wicked side. Nor is it necessary to specify the abuses and violations to which the pedophile subjected the innocent little girl, who in later testimonies described in detail what she felt at that time: that she was going to split in two.

His only hobby was watching television on a single channel, where he watched the series “Who’s the boss?” and “Dr. Quinn.” From one of the protagonists of the first program, the victim took her new name, Alyssa, since her captors refused to call her Jaycee. A smart enough strategy to avoid being discovered.

But it was not only the cunning of the rapist and his wife that allowed them to go out undefeated for so many years, but it is inconceivable to think about the unsuccessful role of the police, who visited up to sixty times the house of the convict, who had to comply with the house arrest and continued with the GPS ankle brace that the officers checked from time to time.

What they did not notice was that a little girl also lived in their house who grew up to be an adult, even when some neighbors had reported that there were girls in the garden who were not members of the family.

Garrido forced adulthood on a little girl who should have been playing with her classmates at school and, as a result of the rapes, he got her pregnant at the age of 13.

The couple told Jaycee when she was four months pregnant and loneliness forced her to learn even a minimal concept about motherhood through the television programs she watched.

As she later declared, she lived in her own world. It is that to survive such a reality it was better to abstract from everything. But Dugard also recalled: “Physical abuse was all I knew.” and in the same vein she expressed: “As time went by I got used to all kinds of things.”

The kidnapper raped and impregnated his victim again and there were then two girls that Jaycee was in charge of at 16 years of age. Her daughters were the only reason for her never to feel lonely again. Although the environment around her was still as terrifying as at the beginning.

"A Stolen Life", one of the two books that the kidnapped victim wrote. (Instagram @jayceeleedugard)
“A Stolen Life”, one of the two books that the kidnapped victim wrote. (Instagram @jayceeleedugard)

Finally freedom

The birth of the babies began to give more air to Jaycee, who could now go out into the garden of the house, although the kidnappers had built a kind of higher fence so that from the outside it was not possible to see what was happening there.

The teenager began to design the cards for a printing company set up by Garrido and, in turn, was responsible for serving customers by phone. “I was one click away from locating my mother,” the victim later confessed. But it did not.

One day, the captor was driven by one of his delusions to distribute religious pamphlets to the students of the University of California. To do so, he requested permission from one of the authorities of the institution that he approached along with the two daughters he had had with Jaycee. It was August 24, 2009.

The attitude of the man and the little girls caught the attention of the university employees. It was all very suspicious. Therefore, after they returned to the establishment the next day, Garrido was summoned by the police.

When they asked the girls what their names were, Jaycee did not say that name that she had taken from the television series, Alyssa, but said the real one. But the officers did not listen well and asked her to repeat it. She couldn’t do it. For that, she asked for a pencil and paper and wrote it: “Jaycee Dugard”.

Only then did the police react. They were in front of the young woman who had disappeared when she was a child, and in front of her two daughters as a result of the rape of her kidnapper. But only when she confessed the truth did the authorities realize who they were only a few meters away.

That August 26, 2009 at the home of Terry Probyn the phone rang. “Do not do this to me. It’s not funny,” replied the woman accustomed to jokes in bad taste. But on the other end of the phone she heard: “Mom, it’s me, Jaycee”. And the lady whose daughter had been taken away for 11 years had her soul returned to her body.

Due to the poor performance of the Justice, the young woman denounced the state of California for which she received compensation of $20 million. Garrido, for his part, was sentenced to 431 years in prison and, Black mouth, a 36.

Jaycee participated in various interviews, where she recounted her traumatic experiences. In addition, she wrote two books: Freedom: My Book of Firsts and A Stolen Life.

She also created the JAYC Foundation, which seeks to accompany families who have experienced traumatic situations. Today she is 41 years old and turns 12 of freedom after the period of her life in which she was 11 trapped between four walls as a result of the negligence of Justice.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.