Kidnap Miracle: After 18 Years, An Emotional Reunion

Jaycee Dugard was imprisoned on ramshackle compound for 18 years.

Jaycee Lee Dugard, kidnapped in 1991 at age 11 and long presumed dead, had an emotional reunion with her mother, sister and another relative Thursday, 18 years after her mysterious disappearance and one day after her miraculous reappearance.

"I think they're pretty happy," Carl Probyn, Dugard's stepfather, told CBS' "Early Show" this morning. "She looks very young she looks very healthy."

Probyn was not at the reunion but heard details from his wife, Terry. Dugard's two children -- fathered by her abductor -- were also there. Probyn said the most surprising thing to his wife was that Dugard looks almost like she did 18 years earlier. 

Dugard, a bright-eyed blonde with a big, toothy smile, was snatched by a couple in a gray car in front of her Lake Tahoe house as her stepfather watched helplessly. Now friends and family -- including Carl Probyn, who was once considered a suspect, know the truth: Dugard was grabbed by a registered sex offender turned religious fanatic who kept her captive for 18 years on a ramshackle compound in a small California town, raping her and fathering her two children, authorities said.

Phillip Garrido and his wife Nancy, who police say helped him kidnap young Dugard, are in jail, facing 28 felony counts, including forcible abduction rape sexual assault and false imprisonment.

"[Terry] said Jaycee feels really guilty for bonding with this guy," Carl Probyn said. "She has a real guilt trip."

Details of Dugard's life on the compound are still emerging. Officials said she was taken directly to the compound in Antioch, Calif., after the kidnap and rarely allowed to leave. Her two children, now ages 15 and 11, were born there, and neither Dugard nor her children ever tried to escape.

"None of the children have ever been to school, they had never been to a doctor," El Dorado County Undersheriff Fred Kollar said. "They had been kept in complete isolation on this compound -- if you will -- behind the house."

Thursday, Garrido confessed and apologized in a bizarre jailhouse interview with KCRA, an NBC affiliate in Sacramento.

"My life has been straightened out," Garrido said. "Wait until you hear the story of what took place at this house. You're gonna be absolutely impressed. It's a disgusting thing that took place in the beginning. But I turned my life completely around ... I'm so sorry."

Police are now searching for evidence that Garrido may have been involved in a series of unsolved murder cases in the area. The bodies of several murdered prostitutes were dumped near an industrial park where Garrido worked during the 1990s. According to the criminal complaint filed against Garrido, he was convicted of both rape and kidnapping in 1977.

Garrido's father told the Los Angeles Times his son was "a sick man," saying his life deteriorated after he began using LSD in high school.

"They are treating him like he knew what he was doing, but he didn't know what he was doing," Manuel Garrido, 88, told the Times. "The man is out of it. He is a sick man. He should be treated that way. He should be punished, but he should be treated like a crazy person.

"After he got the LSD pills, he was gone. It ruined his life. He did a lot of crazy things after that."

The break in the case came Tuesday, when Garrido -- with Dugard and her two children -- attempted to hand out religious literature on the campus of the University of California-Berkeley. Campus police officers, suspicious of the relationship between Garrido and the children, questioned him and did a background check. When they determined he was a parolee, they contacted his parole officer.

Garrido was ordered to appear for a parole meeting and arrived Wednesday with Dugard, who identfied herself as "Allissa," his wife and two children. During questioning, corrections officials said he admitted to kidnapping Dugard. Officials are conducting DNA tests to ensure that "Allissa" is Dugard, but consider that only a formality.

Dugard's mother, Terry Probyn, flew up from her home in Southern California and was expected to be reunited with her daughter Thursday.

For Carl Probyn, the stepfather, this discovery is vindication. He stood in his driveway and watched as Jaycee was pulled into the gray car back in 1991, even giving chase on a bicycle -- but quickly found himself the primary suspect in the investigation. He submitted to two lie detector tests by the FBI, and passed both. The kidnapping, and the suspicion surrounding him, ruined his marriage to Terry, he told the New York Post.

"The miracle is that we got her back," he told the Los Angeles Times. "How do you get 18 years back? ... I just hope she can have a decent life from here on out."

View more news videos at:

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Contact Us