Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Backyard Prisoner: The Story of Jaycee Dugard

The Abduction of Jaycee Dugard

South Lake Tahoe seemed like a great place to raise a family. Jaycee Dugard's mother and stepfather, Terry and Carl Probyn, moved to the Californian resort town in late 1990 to escape the crime and stress of Orange County. It was a quiet, wooded, child-friendly neighborhood. Neighbors kept chickens under their porch.

Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe

Next spring, for the first time, Terry and Carl let their 11-year-old daughter walk alone to meet her friend and nearest neighbor halfway between their two houses on bucolic, wooded Washoan Boulevard. They watched the shy, pink-loving girl from afar the whole time.

And Carl was watching a few weeks later on June 10, 1991, when Jaycee walked to her school bus stop. He saw a couple in a gray sedan pass by the girl, then turn around. When the car reached Jaycee again, the driver pulled Jaycee inside and sped off. Probyn jumped on his bike and pedaled after them, but lost the car before getting its license plate number. He called the police, but he wouldn't see Jaycee again for 18 years.

Police sketch of female abductor
Police sketch of female abductor

Probyn would later conclude that the couple in the gray car were Phillip and Nancy Garrido, who match his 1991 descriptions. Authorities would suggest that the Garridos drove through the same neighborhoods where he'd abducted Hall. Nancy later would tell investigators that when Phillip spotted Jaycee, he announced that she was the one he wanted, and that they came back the next day with a stun gun to subdue her.

A few of Jaycee's classmates saw the incident too. Their statements eventually helped investigators confirm that Carl Probyn was not a suspect in the case. But the ordeal shattered the Probyns' marriage nonetheless.

Nancy Garrido, on the other hand, stayed with her apparently monstrous husband — and seems even to have participated in his criminal acts.

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