SOUTH LAKE TAHOE (CBS13) — Jaycee Dugard told her story to nearly 15 million people, opening up about being a sex slave and raising her children in captivity, then waiting for her chance for freedom.READ MORE: Tributes For Fallen Elk Grove Police Officer Ty Lenehan Pour In From Law Enforcement Across The Region
Today the people who’ve been waiting to hear from Jaycee Dugard for two decades are amazed at just how strong a survivor she really is.
Jaycee Dugard had just left her home and was walking on the street to the bus stop when she was snatched by Phillip and Nancy Garrido. Neighbors in South Lake Tahoe say her kidnapping forever changed their community.
“Everything changed, we couldn’t walk to the bus anymore, couldn’t ride our bike, go outside,” said Jaime Harness, a local resident who watched the interview. “Life up here changed one hundred percent, no walking to the bus stop no playing outside. Life 100% changed.”
Things were never the same in South Lake Tahoe after Jaycee Dugard was snatched up while walking down the street.
“Never, ever get in a car with anybody,” said Debbie Tuttle.
That’s the lesson Debbie tried to instill in her three young boys, fearful they too would be taken. Debbie lived just several doors down from Jaycee and her family – and still does 20 years later.
“The vigils and stuff all the time, all the time and you can never forget those,” said Debbie.READ MORE: Bay Area Senator Proposes 12-Year-Olds Should Have Vaccination Rights Without Parents Consent
On Sunday night Debbie and many others in South Lake Tahoe watched Jaycee speak publicly for the first time since she was taken from their community.
“For somebody who’d been hidden away, she was extremely articulate. She was moving and powerful. The fact that she came out to help change other people’s lives is just remarkable,” said Jaime.
People say they were also struck by the enduring bond between Jaycee and her mother, Terry Probyn.
“I used to look at her and feel sorry for her. You know, I could see the sadness in her eyes,” said Debbie.
People here are overjoyed that the little girl they all prayed for, held vigils for and searched for had found her way back to the mother who never stopped looking for her.
“[It’s] pretty special. I only hope my daughter and I are that close,” said Jaime.
“Did you cry at all? Oh yeah, yeah. I feel like crying now,” said Debbie.MORE NEWS: DUI Suspected In Wrong-Way Crash That Killed Elk Grove Officer
Dugard’s book, “A Stolen Life”, is due out in bookstores tomorrow. She says she plans to give some of the proceeds to people who have suffered from trauma and kidnapping.