Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Backyard Prisoner: The Story of Jaycee Dugard

Finding Jaycee Dugard — Accidentally

A few days before his backyard reign of terror came to an end, Garrido hand-delivered two manuscripts to the FBI's San Francisco office: "The Origin of Schizophrenia Revealed" and "Stepping into the Light." In the latter, he discussed his struggle with his own violent sexual impulses, admitting that they were hurting his loved ones. He claimed he'd overcome them. Following his arrest, he insisted that he'd turned his life around and that his alleged victim would have a heartwarming story to tell; he told reporters the FBI papers would explain everything. He claimed that, thanks to his rebirth, he had never so much as kissed the two girls, though he held them each night as they fell asleep.

Garrido wanted to share his discovery that those who heard voices could learn to stop, think and control themselves. He wanted to hand out literature and speak on the grounds of the University of California, Berkeley. When he met with university officials to get the necessary permit, he brought two young girls with him, saying they were his daughters.

Phillip Garrido in 1977
Phillip Garrido in 1977

Special events manager Lisa Campbell thought something seemed wrong. She called in UCB police officer Allison Jacobs, who agreed. The girls were stilted and remote and didn't look healthy. Garrido noted he'd been convicted of sex crimes and claimed that he was now doing God's work. Jacobs ran a background check and discovered the 1977 conviction. She called Garrido's parole agent, mentioning in passing her concerns about the children's well-being. The agent didn't believe Garrido had any children, but he promised to follow up.

But the girls had called him "Dad" and spoke of both their mother and an older sister. That "sister" was Jaycee.

On August 26, 2009, the parole officer arranged a meeting with Garrido, who was accompanied by his wife and "Allison," whom the parole officer had never met before—and who turned out to be Jaycee. "Allison" was also the name she went by at Garrido's shop, Printing for Less.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reported that Garrido, when confronted, had admitted kidnapping her, and said the children were his. Police arrested Nancy and Phillip Garrido and interviewed Jaycee. She confirmed her identity, and was able to answer questions to which police say only the child or her abductors would know the answers.

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