Nobody ever saw 11-year-old Jaycee Lee Dugard as she grew into a woman in Nancy and Phillip Garrido’s back yard. Nobody even knew there were a set of sheds, one of them 10-foot-by-10-foot and soundproofed before the little girl’s arrival, in the separate section of Nancy and Phillip Garrido’s back yard. And as Jaycee Lee Dugard grew up in the set of sheds hidden away from neighbors and from the eyes of casual passersby, Phillip Garrido would repeatedly rape her and father two children with her. And the children would grow up with their mother, the missing Jaycee Lee Dugard, in that small, blue, tarp-covered shed and its companions 160 miles from her home in South Lake Tahoe, California.
And 18 years would pass. The children would grow. They never went to school. They never saw a doctor. And the only world they would know would be the sheds which were always locked from the outside. The only other people they knew were Nancy and Phillip Garrido.
It wasn’t until Phillip Garrido was called in, CNN reported, by his parole officer that Jaycee Lee Dugard finally got to tell someone about her ordeal. Phillip Garrido, who was a convicted sex offender, was reportedly seen handing out flyers with two children. A background check by an observant Cal Berkeley campus officer revealed that Garrido had been paroled for forcible rape in 1988 and was forbidden to be around children. The officer called Phillip Garrido’s parole officer.
Phillip Garrido appeared at the office with his wife, Nancy, two children, and another woman he called “Alissa” on Wednesday. Alissa soon told authorities that her name was Jaycee Lee Dugard and that she was being held captive by the Garridos.
Phillip Garrido would confess to kidnapping Jaycee Dugard off the street in her home town in 1991. Phillip Garrido admitted to fathering two children with her, ages 15 and 11. And he admitted to holding Jaycee Dugard captive for 18 years.
Nancy and Phillip Garrido were taken into custody. Phillip Garrido was booked on charges of kidnapping, conspiracy and related offenses. Nancy Garrido was booked on charges of kidnapping and conspiracy.
As horrifying as the story is, the world has unfortunately seen the same story unfold before, only with different players. Back in April 2008, BBC News reports that Josef Fritzl took a teenage girl into an Amstetten, Austria, hospital, claiming that his granddaughter was sick and needed medical attention. The girl’s pale coloration, her aversion to light, and Fritzl’s story about the girl’s mother alerted medical personnel. A public appeal for the mother to come forward (Elizabeth Fritzl had supposedly ran away from home with a cult when she was 18) and the police reopening the missing person case led authorities to detaining Josef Fritzl and his daughter, now 42, in the parking lot of the hospital after visiting the sick teenager on April 26. They were both taken in for questioning.
And then Elizabeth told her story…
Elizabeth Fritzl was asked to help her father with carry a door in the basement of their house. Josef Fritzl overpowered his 18-year-old with ether and locked her away in a set of rooms he had prepared apart from the rest of the basement.
Josef Fritzl’s wife would later file a missing person report on her daughter, believing that her daughter had joined a cult and ran away (she had done so before). Josef Fritzl would go downstairs to work on drawings and plans of machines he sold to companies for money every day for 24 years. His wife, no one, was allowed in the basement.
And for 24 years, Elizabeth Fritzl was forced to have sex with her father. He would visit her two or three times every week, she would later tell authorities. She would give birth to seven children while locked away in those cramped rooms. Three would be brought upstairs to be raised by their grandmother after they were “discovered” on the doorstep, supposedly left by the cult-blinded Elizabeth, while she and three more of her children would remain in the basement, which Fritzl enlarged over time. Escape for was impossible, she had been told by her father, because they would be gassed if they attempted to leave. (No such “gassing” system existed.)
When taken in for questioning, Elizabeth at first refused to talk to authorities, afraid for her life and that of her children. But after a couple hours of assurances that she was now safe and that her children would be protected, Elizabeth Fritzl told the story of her captivity.
Josef Fritzl was arrested on April 26, 2008, for suspicion of serious crimes against family members. A subsequent investigation would result in charges that would include incest, rape, coercion, false imprisonment, enslavement, and the murder of an infant. After four days of trial, Josef Fritzl was found guilty of all charges and was sentenced to life imprisonment on March 19, 2009.
Nancy and Phillip Garrido will no doubt get life imprisonment as well for what they have done.
And Jaycee Lee Dugard, along with her two children, will now be able to have a life…