Friday, August 28, 2009

Abducted at 11, now mother of 2; girl found after 18 yrs

A girl snatched on her way to school was hidden for nearly two decades behind a series of fences, sheds and tents, even giving birth to her suspected abductor's children in the suburban backyard compound less than 200 miles from her childhood home.

Jaycee Lee Dugard, who was 11 when she was abducted from a South Lake Tahoe street in 1991, was taken directly to the house and sheltered from the world in a secret, leafy backyard, investigators said Thursday.

Her abductor, investigators said, raped her and fathered two children with her, the first when Jaycee was about 14. Those girls, now 11 and 15, also were kept hidden away in the backyard compound behind the Antioch home.

"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."

Even a parole agent who visited 58-year-old Phillip Garrido's home didn't have an inkling about the hidden compound, Kollar said. Garrido is a registered sex offender on federal parole for rape and kidnapping convictions.

"The way the house is set up, the way the backyard is set up, you could walk through the backyard, walk through the house, and never know," Kollar said.

"He's had her for 18 years. Now, it's our turn. I have no compassion for this guy," he said Friday morning on ABC's "Good Morning America."

But neighbours said there were clues even before a parole agent on Wednesday noticed Dugard, now 29, who accompanied Garrido, his wife and the children to a parole office.

Neighbour Diane Doty said she could see the tents and often heard children playing in the backyard, the corner of which abuts her own backyard. She said she even suspected the children lived in the tents, but her husband said she should leave the family alone.

"I asked my husband, 'Why is he living in tents?'" she said. "And he said, 'Maybe that is how they like to live.'"

Dugard's stepfather, who witnessed her abduction and was a longtime suspect in the case, said he was overwhelmed by the news 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," a tearful Carl Probyn, 60, said at his home in Orange, Calif.

Carl Probyn told CBS' "Early Show" Friday morning that he spoke to his wife late Thursday after she reunited with Dugard and everyone was "doing great."

"I think they're pretty happy," he said, noting six people were together at the reunion -- Jaycee Dugard, her two daughters, her sister, mother and another relative.