2009: When police at UC Berkeley stopped a strange-looking man who was handing out fliers on campus in August 2009, they had no idea they were helping solve one of Northern California’s most haunting crimes.
The questioning eventually led to the discovery of Jaycee Lee Dugard, an 11-year- old girl who had been abducted while walking to a school bus stop near South Lake Tahoe in 1991 and not seen again for 18 years.
Dugard was held as the prisoner and sex slave during those years by Phillip Garrido, a sex offender and drug addict who kept her prisoner – and fathered two girls as the result of his rapes – at a shed outside his home near Antioch.
Her captivity went unnoticed despite regular visits and supervision by Garrido’s parole agents.
Garrido and his wife, Nancy, kept Dugard’s presence at the ramshackle home a secret, even during a brief period when Garrido was returned to prison and Nancy Garrido kept watch over her.
The discovery that Dugard was alive caused a worldwide media sensation, and drew hordes of reporters to the Garrido home and to Placerville, where the Garridos were jailed to await trial in the bizarre kidnap.
Eventually, Phillip Garrido’s lawyer argued unsuccessfully that he was not mentally fit to stand trial, and after two years of legal maneuvers the couple entered guilty pleas.
Phillip Garrido, now 68, was sentenced to 431 years to life in prison and will never be released. He was housed at California State Prison, Corcoran, though state corrections officials now say they do not disclose his whereabouts because he is a “high-risk, sensitive needs” inmate whose location cannot be disclosed for his own safety.
Nancy Garrido, now 64, is serving a 36-years-to-life sentence at the California Institution for Women in Corona.
Dugard was reunited with her mother and received a $20 million settlement from the state of California for failings by parole agents that allowed her to remain captive for so long. She subsequently wrote a book about her ordeal and founded the JAYC Foundation to help families that have suffered major life trauma.
Her case forced several reviews of how the parole system failed to detect Garrido’s crimes before he walked onto the Berkeley campus.
– Sam Stanton
Editor’s note: This story was updated Aug. 23, 2019 with the latest information regarding the Garridos.