- The Washington Times - Friday, August 28, 2009

ANTIOCH, Calif. — The twisted kidnapping case of a woman held captive for 18 years in a secluded backyard compound took another disturbing turn Friday as authorities searched the home of her alleged captor for evidence in the murders of several prostitutes and new evidence surfaced of missed opportunities to arrest him years ago.

Officers executed a search warrant at Phillip Garrido’s Antioch home for clues in the unsolved slayings, Contra Costa sheriff’s Capt. Daniel Terry said.

Several of the murdered women’s bodies were dumped near an industrial park where Garrido, a sex offender, worked during the 1990s.

Garrido and his wife, Nancy, were charged Friday with kidnapping 11-year-old Jaycee Lee Dugard in 1991. Authorities said they held her and two children she had with Garrido as prisoners in a backyard encampment.

Kidnapped girl found alive after 18 years

The couple pleaded not guilty to a total of 29 counts, including forcible abduction, rape and false imprisonment. A judge ordered them held without bail.

Phillip Garrido appeared stoic and unresponsive during the brief arraignment hearing. His wife cried and put her head in her hands several times.

Contra Costa County Sheriff Warren E. Rupf said a neighbor reported three years ago there were people living in tents in a backyard encampment at the home of Garrido.

The deputy who interviewed Garrido in November 2006 gave him a warning that people living outdoors was a code violation. The deputy did not go into the backyard of the house located in an unincorporated area of Antioch, about 45 miles northeast of San Francisco, Rupf said.

More suspicion and curiosity on the deputy’s part could have uncovered the secret encampment where Dugard allegedly was held, he said.

They “missed an opportunity” and there are “absolutely no excuses,” Rupf said, apologizing to the Dugard family.

Phillip Garrido, 58, was arrested Wednesday and is also facing sexual assault charges, Authorities said his 54-year-old wife, Nancy Garrido, was with him during the kidnapping in South Lake Tahoe.

Dugard reunited with her mother, sister and another relative Thursday. They are at an undisclosed San Francisco Bay area hotel, and Dugard’s stepfather Carl Probyn said Dugard is doing well under the circumstances.

“She looks very young, she looks very healthy,” Probyn said on “The Early Show” on CBS.

The neighbor who called authorities three years ago also told them Garrido was psychotic and had a sexual addiction. Rupf said the deputy who visited the home did not know Garrido was a registered sex offender, even though the Sheriff’s Department had the information.

Garrido’s father, Manuel Garrido, also told The Associated Press Friday that his son is “absolutely out of his mind.” He said Garrido fell into a bad crowd when he was younger and started taking LSD.

The elder Garrido said the drugs changed him from a good boy, whom everybody loved, to a crazy person.

Speaking by phone from his house in Brentwood, Manuel Garrido said he hasn’t seen his son in years and has never been to the house where the encampment allegedly was set up.

He said his ex-wife, Phillip Garrido’s mother, has dementia and is not well. She also lived in the Antioch house.

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