Friday, August 28, 2009

Man who kidnapped Jaycee Lee Dugard in 1991 'heard the voice of God'

From Times Online
August 28, 2009
Man who kidnapped Jaycee Lee Dugard in 1991 'heard the voice of God'

(El Dorado County Sheriffs Office/Reuters)
Phillip Garrido: convicted of rape and sex offences in 1971
Chris Ayres in Los Angeles and Sophie Tedmanson
The man who allegedly abducted Jaycee Lee Dugard, the girl kidnapped nearly two decades ago who was found alive in the US yesterday, is a religious fanatic who claimed that God spoke to him, acquaintances have said.
Phillip Garrido, 58, a convicted rapist and sex offender, is being held on kidnapping and sex charges relating to the disappearance of Ms Dugard, who was 11 when she was snatched from a bus stop in 1991.
His wife, Nancy Garrido, 54, was also arrested, and authorities have alleged that she was with Mr Garrido when Ms Dugard was kidnapped in South Lake Tahoe.
The reappearance of Ms Dugard, now 29, stunned America when the news broke yesterday morning – her kidnapping had caused a national media frenzy – but the elation soon turned to anguish when the horrific details of the abuse she has suffered became clear.
Mr Garrido allegedly raped Ms Dugard and fathered two children with her, the first when Jaycee was about 14. Along with Ms Dugard, the children, both girls who are now aged 11 and 15, were also kept hidden away from the world in the backyard compound of the Garrido house in California.
Fred Kollar, an under-sheriff at the police department in El Dorado County, where Ms Dugard was held captive, said: “None of the children have ever been to school, they’ve never been to a doctor. They were kept in complete isolation in this compound.”
People who know Mr Garrido said that he had become increasingly fanatical about his religious beliefs in recent years, sometimes breaking into song and claiming that God spoke to him through a box.
It was also reported that he held religious services in a tent in his garden and had recently claimed to have invented a device that would allow him to control sound with his mind.
In April 2008, Mr Garrido registered a corporation called God's Desire at his home address. He also writes a blog called Voices Revealed on which he says that "the Creator has given me the ability to speak in the tongue of angels in order to provide a wake-up call that will in time include the salvation of the entire world".
Ms Dugard reappeared when Mr Garrido, a registered sex offender on lifetime parole, was ordered to visit a police station after a report of suspicious activity involving him and two young children the previous day. He took the two children with him, along with Ms Dugard.
“The diligent questioning and follow-up by the parolee’s agent led to Garrido revealing his kidnapping,” the police department said in a statement last night.
Mr Garrido, who is on lifetime parole, gave a rambling, sometimes incoherent phone interview to KCRA-TV from the El Dorado County jail yesterday in which he said he had not admitted to kidnapping and that he had turned his life around since the birth of his first daughter 15 years ago.
"Wait until you hear the story of what took place at this house," Mr Garrido said. "You are going to be completely impressed. It's a disgusting thing that took place with me at the beginning. But I turned my life completely around and to be able to understand that, you have to start there."
Police said that the backyard compound where Mr Garrido allegedly kept Ms Dugard and the two children had electricity from extension cords and a rudimentary outhouse and shower, “as if you were camping”.
Mr Kollar said that a parole officer who had visited Mr Garrido's house previously had not noticed anything amiss because the compound was well concealed by shrubs, rubbish bins and a tarpaulin.
“You can't see over the fence with the shrubbery and the trees. You can't see the structures,” Mr Kollar said.
Mr Garrido's compound was in Antioch, a city of 100,000 about 170 miles from Ms Dugard's family home in South Lake Tahoe. Yesterday the house was cordoned off with police tape as it was searched by FBI agents and the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department.
“In the last couple of years he started getting into this strange religious stuff. We kind of felt sorry for him,” said Tim Allen, president of East County Glass and Window in Pittsburgh, who has bought business cards and letterhead from Mr Garrido's printing business for the past decade.
Three times in recent years, Mr Garrido had arrived at Mr Allen's showroom with two “cute little blonde girls” in tow, he said.
Mr Garrido would talk about quitting the printing business to preach full time and gave the impression he was setting up a church.
“He rambled. It made no sense,” Mr Allen said, adding that he had no inkling of Mr Garrido's criminal record.
“We never thought anything bad about the guy,” Mr Allen said. “He was just kind of nutty.”
In his interview with KCRA -TV Mr Garrido also claimed that he had left important documents that would reveal key information about the case with an agent at the FBI office in San Francisco.
"What's kept me busy the last several years is I've completely turned my life around," Mr Garrido said. "And you're going to find the most powerful story coming from the witness, the victim – you wait. If you take this a step at a time, you're going to fall over backwards and in the end, you're going to find the most powerful heart-warming story."
Ms Dugard’s mother, Terry Probyn, was reunited with her daughter yesterday, but she has not yet made a public statement.
However, her stepfather, Carl Probyn, 60, said of the kidnapping: “It broke my marriage up. I’ve gone through hell. I mean, I’m a suspect up until yesterday.”
Mr Probyn was standing in his family driveway on June 10, 1991, when he saw a grey car pull up beside the bus stop where his stepdaughter was waiting for the school bus. She was snatched and the car sped off.
In spite of a massive search operation, several witnesses, and the fact that Jaycee was wearing a distinctive pink jacket and pink trousers, no arrests were made, and Jaycee was never found. Police never gave up on the case, though, and as recently as 2002 a former priest’s home was raided in connection with the little girl’s disappearance.
Mr Probyn now lives in Orange County, and Mrs Probyn lives in the LA suburb of Riverside. The couple have another daughter, Shayna, who is 19 years old.
Mr Probyn told local reporters yesterday that he had received a phone call from his daughter at about 4pm on Wednesday. “Mom has something to say to you,” she said. “Are you sitting down?” Then his wife came on the line and said, through tears, “They found Jaycee. She’s alive.”
Mr Probyn, a Vietnam veteran, said that his wife had been told the news by an FBI agent who called her at work. At first, she thought it was a prank call. Then the agent put Jaycee on the phone.
“My wife talked with her and is convinced she is Jaycee,” Mr Probyn said. “Jaycee remembers everything.”

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