Friday, August 28, 2009

PLACERVILLE, Calif. (AP) | A woman who was snatched from a bus stop as an 11-year-old child in 1991 turned up Thursday after being held for the past 18 years in isolation in a backyard compound by a convicted sex offender who fathered two children with her, police said.

The details about her time in captivity emerged after Jaycee Lee Dugard surfaced at a police station in Northern California, nearly two decades after she vanished outside her home.

Police said Phillip Garrido, 58, held her the entire time as a virtual slave, sheltered from the outside world in tents, sheds and outbuildings in his backyard in suburban Antioch.

“None of the children have ever been to school, they’ve never been to a doctor,” El Dorado County Undersheriff Fred Kollar said. “They were kept in complete isolation in this compound, if you will.”

Prison officials said Garrido later admitted to the kidnapping after meeting with his parole officer. He brought Miss Dugard and the two children, ages 11 and 15, to the meeting.

Garrido and his wife Nancy Garrido, 54, were arrested for investigation of kidnapping and conspiracy Wednesday, police said.

Garrido has a conviction for rape by force or fear and was paroled from a Nevada state prison in 1999, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Miss Dugard was in good health when she came into a San Francisco Bay Area station. She was reunited Thursday with her mother, who was overjoyed to learn the ordeal was over and the daughter she feared dead was actually alive and well.

Miss Dugard’s stepfather, the last person to see her in 1991 and a longtime suspect in the case, said he was overwhelmed after doing everything he could to help find her.

“It broke my marriage up. I’ve gone through hell, I mean I’m a suspect up until yesterday,” Carl Probyn, 60, said at his home in Orange, Calif.

California corrections officials said they called in Garrido for questioning Wednesday after receiving a report that he was seen with two small children at the University of California at Berkeley.

Witnesses reported that a vehicle with two people drove up to Miss Dugard and abducted her while her stepfather watched on June 10, 1991.

Mr. Probyn said he saw someone reach out and grab her before the car sped away.

Mr. Probyn said his wife, from whom he is separated, was devastated by the kidnapping. He said for 10 years after the crime, she would take a week off work at Christmas and on the anniversary of the abduction and spend the time crying at home.

The case attracted national attention and was featured on TV’s “America’s Most Wanted,” which broadcast a composite drawing of a suspect seen in the car.

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