Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Justice could be near for US girl held 18 years

Justice could be near for US girl held 18 years

A woman who was abducted as a girl and allegedly held captive in a hidden compound for 18 years could get her first measure of justice if the man accused of kidnapping her and fathering her two children by rape pleads guilty Thursday.
Jaycee Dugard's case attracted international attention when she surfaced in August 2009 as defendant Phillip Garridos' sought to promote a religious group he founded called God's Desire. Authorities said she and her children had lived in a hidden compound of tents and sheds in his suburban Northern California backyard, never attending school or receiving medical attention.
Garrido, a convicted rapist on parole when 11-year-old Dugard disappeared while walking to a school bus stop, was expected to plead guilty as part of a plea deal that would keep him in prison for the rest of his life, said attorney Stephen Tapson, who represents Garrido's wife and co-defendant Nancy Garrido.
Deputy Public Defender Susan Gellman, who represents Phillip Garrido, and El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson declined to confirm a guilty plea would be entered.
Dugard gave birth to her daughters when she was 14 and 17, and Nancy Garrido delivered the children, according to court documents. The girls knew Phillip Garrido was their father but grew up thinking Dugard was their older sister.
The mother and daughters rarely interacted with the outside world. Phillip Garrido ran a printing business, and Dugard assisted him in producing business cards, brochures and flyers, occasionally interacting with clients through email.
Authorities said Dugard was grabbed by Nancy Garrido off her family's South Lake Tahoe street and forced into a car driven by Phillip Garrido on June 10, 1991, as her stepfather watched her walk to the school bus stop.
The FBI, police and volunteers searched in vain for the pretty blonde girl who was last seen wearing a pink wind breaker and pink stretch pants. Dugard's reappearance 18 years, four months and 16 days later came about almost as a fluke.
In the days before his arrest, Phillip Garrido had become more determined to tell people about his religious group and a box he had built that he believed allowed him to speak with God. During that time, he delivered a handwritten screed called "Origin of Schizophrenia Revealed" to the FBI's San Francisco office.
But it was a visit to the University of California, Berkeley, that same day that caused his ragged family to unravel. He showed up at campus with his daughters with Dugard in tow, seeking a permit for a religious event. Campus police officers became suspicious, and after running a background check realized he had been convicted of kidnapping and raping a woman in Reno in 1977.
The Berkeley officers contacted Garrido's parole officer, who was surprised to hear that he had young daughters and ordered him to come in for a meeting. Garrido complied and for a still unknown reason brought his wife, the girls and Dugard.
Dugard tried to conceal her identity, initially telling authorities she was hiding from an abusive husband in Minnesota and giving her name as Alyssa.
Wary investigators separated her from Phillip Garrido, who had described Dugard and the two girls as his nieces, and under further questioning he admitted kidnapping "Alyssa" and Dugard disclosed her identity, authorities said.
The Garridos were both charged with 18 counts of kidnapping, rape, false imprisonment, child pornography and committing lewd acts on a child.
If convicted on all counts, the maximum sentence for Nancy Garrido would be 181 years, while Phillip Garrido could get 431 years, according to El Dorado County Deputy District Attorney James Clinchard.
Nancy Garrido has pleaded not guilty in the case. Phillip Garrido has yet to enter a plea after his criminal proceedings were halted for more than four months while his mental competency to stand trial was under evaluation.
Tapson planned to ask El Dorado Superior Court Judge Douglas Phimister to dismiss the rape and lewd conduct charges against his client, since Nancy Garrido maintains she did not directly participate in any sex acts with Dugard.


Updated : 2021-10-22 14:36 GMT+08:00