The transcript of Dugard’s vivid testimony to a grand jury makes disturbing reading
AFTER A California judge sentenced Phillip and Nancy Garrido to combined sentences of at least 467 years in prison on June 2nd, he released the hitherto secret transcript of Jaycee Lee Dugard’s testimony to a grand jury last September.
Neither Dugard, who was kidnapped at the age of 11, nor Starlet and Angel, the daughters she bore when she was 14 and 17, are referred to by name in the transcript. In her testimony, Dugard used the Garridos’ euphemism – “runs” – for the countless sexual assaults she was subjected to. Her descriptions were so graphic that the judge redacted 34 of 157 pages, to protect her.
For the first three of Dugard’s 18 years of captivity, the attacks occurred at least weekly, and lasted up to three days. Garrido videotaped some 10 sessions, and threatened Dugard with Doberman dogs and a stun gun. Between the birth of Dugard’s daughters, the assaults decreased to once every two or three months, for a night only. After the second child was born, they stopped altogether.
One reason Dugard never tried to escape, she told the jury, was because “I felt like I didn’t have anywhere else to go”. She believed her stepfather, Carl Probyn, “didn’t like me” and that he, her mother and infant half-sister “would be happier . . . without me”. Probyn “was always sending me away . . . because he wanted alone time with my mom”. She had spent a year before her kidnapping with an aunt and uncle.
Phillip Garrido told Dugard that “he had a sex problem and that, you know, he got me so that he wouldn’t have to do this to anybody else”. In addition to feeling unwanted at home, Dugard believed she was sparing another girl the torment she went through.
June 10th will mark the 20th anniversary of Dugard’s kidnapping. As she walked to the school bus stop that morning, she shouted goodbye to Carl Probyn. He was the last person to see her, and was long a suspect in her disappearance. His marriage to Dugard’s mother Terry ended during her captivity.
The Garridos’ car “kind of, like, creeped up on me”, Dugard recalled. Phillip was driving, and she thought he was going to ask for directions. “All of a sudden, his hand shoots out of the car window, and I feel this shock. I stumble back into the bushes . . . I feel like my whole body is – wouldn’t work. It was tingly . . .” As they drove away, Dugard heard Phillip laughing, “I can’t believe we got away with it.”
Dugard was raped on arrival at the Garridos’ home in Antioch, a white working class suburb of San Francisco. Garrido then led the child, dressed in a towel, with a blanket over her head, to the backyard warren that would be her home for the next 18 years.
Each time Garrido raped Dugard, he brought the stun gun. “He used to have that around him when he would go on the runs,” she testified. “When I didn’t want to do something that he wanted me to do . . . he would turn it on and say something like, you know, ‘You don’t want it to happen again. You should be good.’” Dugard was so lonely that Garrido gave her a cat, which he then took away because the room stank. Eventually, his wife Nancy took over the task of bringing her food. The couple moved into the backyard shed with Dugard. “We were all sleeping in the same room . . . I didn’t feel as lonely anymore . . . after the run, you know, he would, like go get food, and we’d sit up and watch TV and movies and stuff.” Garrido disappeared for more than a month. “It was nice because I didn’t have to have sex or runs or anything,” Dugard said. She later learned he had been arrested for a parole violation. He returned wearing an ankle bracelet.
The Garridos gave Dugard Barbie dolls for her birthday. After her first daughter was born, on August 18th, 1994, Nancy looked after the baby when Phillip raped Dugard.
Both Garridos did drugs. When she was high, Nancy sometimes told Dugard: “Oh, I’ll take this run for you.” Drugs induced a kind of schizophrenia in Phillip. “During the run situation, he started to, like, listen to the walls,” Dugard testified.
“And I could never hear anything, but he said he heard a lot of voices, and . . . he just had to make sure that the cops weren’t out there or something. He was getting, like paranoid.”
After her first daughter was born, “I was really scared about getting pregnant again”, Dugard said. The sexual assaults became less frequent. “He said he just couldn’t help himself, but he was trying to stop. And then I got pregnant again, and that’s the last time he had sex with me was when she was conceived.” Dugard was allowed to move into her own tent. She feared Phillip Garrido’s fits of rage, and kept a secret journal in which she called herself a coward for not escaping.
“We just started, like, acting like a family, and we would celebrate their birthdays together. Just trying to be normal,” she said.
Garrido called Dugard “Snoopy” until the birth of her first daughter, when she chose the name Alissa for herself. She worked in the Garridos’ printing business, and did shifts in the main house caring for Phillip’s aging mother, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
When the police finally arrested the “family” on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley, Dugard initially lied to protect Garrido. But when he claimed the blond girls were his brother’s daughters, something snapped in her. “I just looked at him and said: ‘They are my daughers. I gave birth to them,’” Dugard recounted.
Dugard was frightened by the male policemen who questioned her that day in August 2009. But when a female officer called Melanie told her that Garrido had confessed to kidnapping her, “I started crying,” she recalled.
“She said, ‘You need to tell me your name.’ And I said that I can’t because I hadn’t said my name in 18 years . . . I wrote it down. And then I wrote down my mom’s name.”