Jaycee Dugard’s kidnappers plead guilty

On this day in 2011, Phillip Garrido, 60, and his wife Nancy, 55, plead guilty to the 1991 kidnapping of 11-year-old Jaycee Dugard. The Garridos held Dugard captive at their Northern California property for 18 years, during which time Phillip Garrido fathered two children with her. The 29-year-old Dugard was rescued, along with her daughters, then ages 11 and 15, in 2009.

On June 10, 1991, Dugard, then a fifth-grader, was abducted while walking to a school bus stop near her South Lake Tahoe, California, home. Witnesses saw Dugard being forced into a car and driven away, but were unable to stop the kidnappers or identify them. A massive search effort failed to locate the blonde, blue-eyed girl.

For nearly two decades, Dugard was forced to live in concealed tents and sheds in the backyard of the Garridos’ home in an unincorporated area outside Antioch, California. She was sexually assaulted by Phillip Garrido, and as a teenager gave birth to his children in the hidden backyard compound. Neither Dugard nor her daughters ever visited a doctor or attended school while being held captive, although Dugard spent time working at her captors’ printing business.

The events leading to the rescue of Dugard and her girls began on August 24, 2009, when a police officer at the University of California, Berkeley, became suspicious of Phillip Garrido, who was at the school that day with his two daughters, seeking a permit to distribute religious flyers on campus. Police later ran a background check on Garrido, learned he was a convicted sex offender and contacted his California parole officer to express concern about his daughters, who, according to the officers, looked unnaturally pale and had odd, robotic responses when spoken to. Garrido was called to a meeting with his parole agent on August 26 and brought along his wife, as well as Dugard (whom he called Allisa) and their two daughters. The parole agent had been to the Garridos’ house in the past but had never seen Dugard and the girls. After Dugard confessed her true identity to the agent during the meeting, Phillip and Nancy Garrido were arrested.

In July 2010, Dugard and her mother, with whom she was reunited following her rescue, were awarded a $20 million settlement from the state of California. It was determined that state officials failed to properly monitor Garrido, who was released from prison in 1988 for a 1977 kidnapping and rape conviction.

The Garridos initially pleaded not guilty to the charges against them, which included kidnapping, sexual assault and false imprisonment. However, on April 28, 2011, they changed their plea to guilty. On June 2, 2011, Phillip was sentenced to 431 years in prison and Nancy received a term of 36 years to life.

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