The first details of the Dugard family’s reunion after 18 years of separation were delivered Thursday by Tina Dugard, Jaycee Lee Dugard’s aunt. At a press conference, smiling, Tina Dugard said, “This is a joyful time for my family. Jaycee remembers all of us.” Jaycee Dugard and her daughters were first reunited with Jaycee’s mother and sister on Thursday, August 27, just two days after telling authorities that she was the Jaycee Lee Dugard who had been taken from her family in 1991. The man and wife who abducted her, Phillip and Nancy Garrido, were arrested and have pleaded not guilty to a total of 29 charges including rape and kidnapping.
Tina Dugard, appearing in Los Angeles to read a prepared Dugard family statement, said, “Jaycee is a remarkable young woman who has raised two beautiful daughters. They are clever, articulate, curious girls who have a bright future ahead of them.”
Jaycee Dugard’s daughters, ages 15 and 11, were fathered by Phillip Garrido, the man who kidnapped Jaycee.
“Although they have no formal education, they are certainly educated,” Tina Dugard said. “Jaycee did a truly amazing job with the limited resources and education that she herself had, and we are so proud of her.”
After 18 years of captivity, the road to recovery could be a long one, but experts feel that a near complete distancing of the ordeal can be achieved.
Elizabeth Smart, after being held captive by a homeless preacher who called himself “Emmanuel” (Brian David Mitchell) and his wife, Wanda Barzee, was reunited with her family after nine months. Although Elizabeth Smart refuses to talk about her ordeal publicly, she told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that the best thing that happened to her after being found was spending time alone with her family. Looking back on that time, she said that getting away on a family outing, away from other people and the media was the best thing she could have done.
Pam and stepfather Craig Akers, the parents of Shawn Hornbeck, who was also 11 years old when abducted, appeared on the “Today Show” Tuesday and said that their reunion after four and a half years was joyous, but they allowed their son to find his way back gradually. They described it as “walking on eggshells,” not wanting the pressure the boy, letting him tell them what he wanted them to know, keeping questions to themselves. Their suggestion to the Dugard family? Patience.
At present, the Dugard family are being kept at an undisclosed location until Jaycee Lee Dugard and her daughters can assimilate their new lives.
When asked about Jaycee Lee’s mother, Tina Dugard said that her smile was “as wide as the sea.” She added, “Her oldest daughter is finally home.”
“Anderson Cooper 360,” CNN Television