Jaycee Lee Dugard Describes How She Survived Captivity
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Talking through tears, a California woman held captive for nearly two decades told of the pain and determination as she gave birth to her captor’s child in his backyard prison, while she was still just a young teenager.
“It was very painful,” Jaycee Dugard told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer in an interview on “Primetime” that aired Sunday night. “She came out and then I saw her. She was beautiful. I felt like I wasn’t alone anymore. I had somebody who was mine.”
The 31-year-old woman, usually clear and composed, grew emotional when she talked about seeing the first of two girls fathered by her kidnapper, Phillip Garrido.
When Sawyer asked how old she was at the time of the birth in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Antioch she said “14” with a small, incredulous laugh and a shake of her head.
She said she didn’t know how she could protect the child, but said “I knew I could never let anything happen to her. I didn’t know how I was going to do that, but I did.”
Dugard talked to Sawyer on a couch and on a porch at her California home. The blond hair she had in now-familiar photographs from her childhood is now reddish-brown, and she wore a red sweater and a necklace with a pinecone charm on it, representing the last thing she touched before her 18-year captivity.
The interview came on the eve of Dugard’s memoir about her time in captivity, “A Stolen Life,” which will be released Tuesday.
Dugard told Sawyer there was “a switch” she had to shut off to emotionally survive her rape and imprisonment. Asked by Sawyer how she stayed sane, Dugard said: “I don’t know. I can’t imagine being beaten to death, and you can’t imagine being kidnapped and raped. You just do what you have to do to survive.”
She described walking to the school bus stop on the day of a fifth-grade field trip and being zapped with a stun gun on a South Lake Tahoe street at age 11.
She said she heard Garrido laughing and telling his wife Nancy Garrido “I can’t believe we got away with it,” calling the moment “the most horrible moment in your life, times 10.”
Dugard said she tried to hold in her tears because of her cuffed hands.
“I tried not to cry because I couldn’t wipe them away,” she said, “and then they get itchy.”
She recalled the soundproof door of the backyard studio that Garrido shut and locked each time he left her.
“I can still hear it, consciously, when I’m awake,” Dugard said. “Some sounds and smells just don’t leave you.”
Dugard told Sawyer that in later years despite going out into public with her captors, she was just too scared to try to leave, especially for her daughters. The fear was fueled by what the Garridos told her about the world.
“What I knew was safe,” she said. “The unknown out there was terrifying, especially when thinking about the girls.”
Parole officers paid visits throughout the years to the home to check on Garrido and give him drug tests, but none reported any irregularities.
“I actually talked to one of the agents, and the agent proceeded to give Phillip his urine test and left,” Dugard said. “He made me feel like he didn’t really care.”
Phillip Garrido, 60, a serial sex offender, was given the maximum possible sentence of 431 years to life in prison last month after pleading guilty to kidnapping and 13 sexual assault charges, including rape and committing lewd acts captured on video.
His plea was part of a deal with prosecutors that saw Nancy Garrido, 55, sentenced to 36 years to life after pleading guilty to kidnapping and rape.
Without going into many details, Dugard talked about the long, drug-fueled sex sessions Garrido would put her through, and said that to her great confusion he would cry afterward.
“He would tell me what an awful man he was,” Dugard said. She said she would think that despite her own terrible pain, “I have to comfort him?”
Dugard told of her strange relationship with Nancy Garrido, who she said was “very jealous of me for some reason, like I wanted her husband to rape me, very jealous, and sick.”
Dugard said she is not full of rage, that to be angry all the time would be to let Phillip Garrido win.
But her mother, Terry Probyn, who was interviewed by Sawyer alongside her daughter, said she was.
“I think I have enough hate in my heart for the both of us,” Probyn said. “I hate that he took her life away, I hate that he stole her from me, he ripped out a piece of my heart, and he stole my baby.”
She then looked to her daughter.
“He stole your childhood, he stole your adolescence, he stole your high school proms, and pictures and memories.”
Dugard’s reply: “But he didn’t get all of me.”