Missing American girl’s return a ‘miracle’

A young American woman freed after 18 years in captivity has been reunited with her family.
Jaycee Lee Dugard was just eleven when she disappeared in the Californian resort of Lake Tahoe in 1991. Her family admitted they had given up hope and were just expecting to find a body. But police never closed the file.

“Jaycee Lee Dugard was found alive in Antioch,” said El Dorado County under-sheriff Fred Kollar.

Phillip Craig Garrido is the man suspected of kidnapping Jaycee Lee. He has a history of rape and sexual assault; his wife Nancy was also arrested. This reconstruction from 1992 shows how Jaycee Lee was bundled into a car in front of her stepfather. The case caused as much concern and headlines as Madeleine McCann’s would do two decades later.

“Somebody took something very near and dear to my heart, and I want to know why,” said Jaycee’s mother Terry Dugard in 1992.

For years Jaycee Lee’s stepfather Carl Probyn was suspected of involvement, and police ignored his evidence.

“I’ve always said there was a man and a woman,” he said. “In the passenger window I could see a black-haired woman. And, the car… I’m just so curious. I have so many questions like, how close was I?”

Police say Jaycee Lee was kept in a shed in Garrido’s garden. She was allegedly raped, and bore two children, now aged 11 and 15. Questions are now being asked as to why neighbours never saw anything suspicious.


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