Couple in full confession over Jaycee kidnapping
Published 02/03/2011 | 05:00
The abduction of Jaycee Dugard in 1991 horrified America. Now, its remaining mysteries may have been resolved, with the full confession by the couple who snatched her off the street in northern California and held her captive for 18 years.
The decision by Phillip and Nancy Garrido to tell all clears the way for a plea bargain that will almost certainly send both to jail for life.
Since Ms Dugard was freed in 2009, outlines of the astounding story have gradually emerged: how the then 11-year-old was kidnapped while waiting for her school bus in South Lake Tahoe and driven more than 200 miles to the San Francisco suburb of Antioch.
There she was made to live in tents and sheds in the squalid backyard of their house. She was sexually abused and bore two daughters by Garrido -- a convicted sex offender who was regularly visited by unsuspecting parole officers.
"Essentially, they confessed to the kidnapping," said Stephen Tapson, the lawyer who is representing Nancy Garrido.
Details of the plea bargain are yet to be agreed, but prosecutors are seeking a sentence of 440 years, for Garrido (59) and 241 years for his wife.
Garrido had been convicted in 1977 of kidnapping and sexual assault, and had a record of violence and drug abuse. He was originally jailed for 50 years, but was released on parole in 1988.
In 1994 and 1997, Jaycee gave birth to two girls. When they went out together, the Garridos presented them as part of the family, with Jaycee as their daughter, and the latter's two daughters as her sisters.
The truth only emerged in August 2009 when Garrido went to the authorities, accompanied by the two young girls, seeking permission to hold a Christian-themed event celebrating conquering his demons.
Police were suspicious and after several days of questioning, the true identity of the two young girls and Ms Dugard at last emerged. Ms Dugard was reunited with her family and allowed custody of her daughters. In 2010 she received a settlement of $20m (€14.5m) from the state of California.
Initially, both Garridos pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping, rape and illegal imprisonment, and proceedings were subsequently held up by doubts over Phillip Garrido's mental condition. In the end though, he was deemed competent to face trial. (© Independent News Service)