The Jaycee Lee Dugard Case A little 11 year old girl kidnapped over 18 years ago is found alive. She was abducted from her California home in El Dorado County while walking to her bus stop on June 10, 1991 and reunited with her family 18 years later on August 27, 2009. Phillip Garrido and his wife have been charged with abducting her and keeping her in their Antioch, California backyard living in weather beaten tents and sheds with her two children. Mr. Garrido is a convicted sex offender and is also charged with raping Jaycee and fathering two children with her. The newspapers I referenced were the Charlotte Observer and the Sacramento Bee for local, USA Today and The New York Times for national sources. All four sources portray the kidnapping negatively, but express positive issues that come from this case like the fact that there is hope for the families of other abducted children. They are fair when they write about the accused, being sure not to call him guilty, although the evidence is overwhelming against them. As far as being accurate, the reader can only take what they are reading unless you personally know either family. The following was reported in national but not in the local sources. The New York Times listing The Associated Press as the author, states that authorities are searching for any clues that may tie the couple to two other child abductions in Northern California. The cases involve the 1988 kidnapping of Michaela Garecht outside a Hayward market and the 1989 disappearance of Ilene Misheloff in Dublin (Associated Press). Marisol Bello


of USA Today also reports that police are looking at evidence that may tie the accused to the two cases listed above. She talks about how Jaycee Dugards stepfather was a suspect in the case, quoting him as saying “It broke my marriage up, I’ve gone through hell. I mean I’m a suspect up until yesterday” (Bello). She goes on to answer a question that we all have to ask ourselves, “Why did she not try to escape? She quotes JoAnn BehrmanLippert, a Reno psychologist who specializes in victims of child abduction as saying “You have to take into account all those psychological and emotional issues going on and the control,” she says. “For many people, the most important part is survival. How do I survive this? If people are captive, they have to figure out what to do to please their captor so they are not further harmed” (Bello). We all have to wonder why did she not scream at neighbors or run away, but let’s not forget she was only 11 years old when she was abducted; we do not know what he told her or how she was treated or threatened. Unless this happened to one of us how could we understand? Rebecca Cathcart of the New York Times also talks about how Carl Probyn Jaycee’s stepfather was named a suspect. Angela Gooch, one of Jaycee’s peers in school is quoted as saying “People were mean to her stepdad. They thought he was involved. Everyone boycotted him from everything. He used to do wallpaper jobs for people, but not after that” (Cathcart). Jaycee’s stepfather was a suspect because he was the last one to see his step daughter before her abduction and there were no other witnesses, and parents are always investigated as suspects especially stepparents.


Jesse McKinley, Carol Pogash and Rebecca Cathcart of The New York Times quote a statement from one of the accused, Phillip Garrido who says “My life has been straightened out. Wait till you hear the story of what took place at this house. You’re going to be absolutely impressed. It’s a disgusting thing that took place in the beginning, but I turned my life completely around.” She also writes about Mr. Garrido as being a “person of interest” in nine killings of women between 1998 and 2002 (McKinley, Pogash, Cathcart). Phillip Garrido calls it disgusting but says he’s straightened out his life. He wants us to except that everything is alright now because he considers himself straight; well it is not alright; it was disgusting in the beginning in the middle and in the end. He took a child, tormented her, raped her, degraded her, stole her childhood and wants us to be impressed. To make such a statement proves that he has mental problems; anyone who would harm a child in this way needs help. He is a convicted sex offender who has offended again, I realize he is innocent until proven guilty, but let’s face facts, he has confessed to this crime and he needs to be put away so he cannot hurt anyone else. Another discrepancy between the national and local papers is the interviews of Phillip Garrido’s neighbors. A local paper The Charlotte Observer with Greg Hardesty and Kimberly Edds reported “Neighbors saw Dugard’s children, now 15 and 11, rarely. The girls when asked told neighbors they were home schooled” (Hardesty, Edds). But The New York Times with Jesse McKinley reports “Another neighbor, Heather McQuaid-


Glance, said that children had long known to avoid Mr. Garrido – his registration as a sex offender was online and known among parents – but that nothing had aroused suspicion that a crime might be ongoing” (McKinley). We have to wonder whether the neighbors talk to each other, because you have one neighbor who talks of the children knowing to stay away from him and another neighbor who knows children are in a sex offenders home and does not report it. Sam Stanton, Bill Lindelof, and Phillip Reese of The Sacramento Bee report that neighbors of suspect Phillip Garrido, accused of hiding Dugard in his back yard for 18 years in Antioch, called 911 Nov. 30, 2006, to warn that there were children in the home and that people appeared to be living in tents in the backyard. The deputy that responded never entered the house or checked the yard, missing an opportunity to rescue Jaycee” (Stanton, Lindelof, Reese). Do the neighbors know the police were called and nothing was done to remove the children? Maybe this is why they did not report it again. Why did the police not check his backyard? This is a question the family will continue to ask. The following was reported in local but not in national sources. Kimberly Edds writing for The Charlotte Observer writes about the other suspect Nancy Garrido; she writes “Who would stand by while her husband has children by another woman? And what kind of woman would help her husband kidnap and rape a young girl?” She writes that Ms. Garrido’s lawyer is calling his client a victim, but police are charging her with the same 29 felony charges as her husband (Edds). Nancy is not mentioned much in the


national papers other than to say the pair is charged. She should be mentioned because she is just as guilty of the charges, Jaycee’s stepfather reported that a man was driving the car and it was a female who pulled his stepdaughter into the car (Stanton, Lindelof, Reese). This article calls Jaycee another woman, she is not another woman she is a child, and it’s not like he was cheating with an adult he was raping a little girl over and over again while his wife did nothing, she’s just as sick and demented as he is. I find that these discrepancies do not distort the main issue; a child was abducted and kept hidden away for 18 years. After all these years some good news is given to the girl’s family, she is alive and that is the most important issue stressed by all sources. I find that that each source is fair and accurate, this is a subject that touches us all whether you have children or not you will feel for this family, we are happy that she was found alive and that justice can be served against the accused for what they did to this child, but we are reminded that the accused are innocent until proven guilty, which each source states. We the family oriented red blooded Americans are the audience, those of us that love a happy ending, and this story gives you one. It also gives hope to other families who have a missing child, who have not given up, and who have held on just like Jaycee’s family. We are also forced to look at our law enforcement, I know people are not perfect and we make mistakes, but this is a mistake that should not have been made. The police knew who he was and they knew what a neighbor was accusing him of and they did investigate him like they should have.


The generalizations are basically the same for each source, unless you have experienced having a child abducted from your family you can’t imagine what it is like, you read these articles and wonder why this man was on the streets and not in jail, why he was not monitored more closely, and how was he able to hide Jaycee for 18 years. I consider myself the audience for all four sources, because although there were discrepancies all papers reported the main facts. I expected the local sources to report more on the subject and in more detail because national papers have more issues to report.

Works Cited

Associated Press. “California: No Clues In Abductions.” New York Times 19 Sept 2009: Newspaper Source Plus. EBSCO. Web. 25 Sept. 2009. Bello, Marisol. “Kidnap victim found alive after 18 years.” USA TODAY 8 June 2009: Newspaper Source Plus EBSOC. Web. 23 Sept. 2009.


Bello, Marisol. “Healing Takes Time.” USA TODAY 31 August 2009: Newspaper Source Plus EBSOC. Web.25 Sept. 2009. Cathcart, Rebecca. “After a Kidnapping” New York Times 7 Sept 2009: Newspaper Source Plus EBSOC. Web. 23 Sept. 2009. McKinley, Jessie / Pogash, Carol / Cathcart, Rebecca. “91 Kidnapping” New York Times 28 August 2009: Newspaper Source Plus EBSOC. Web. 25 Sept. 2009. Hardesty, Greg / Edds, Kimberly. “Glimpses Emerging of Life in Captivity” Charlotte Observer 2 Sept. 2009: Newspaper Source Plus EBSOC. Web. 23 August 2009. McKinley, Jessie. “Aunt of Woman Held for 18 Years” New York Times 4 Sept. 2009: Newspaper Source Plus EBSOC. Web. 25 Sept 2009. Stanton, Sam / Lindelof, Bill / Reese, Phillip. “After 18 Years, A Kidnapped Child is Free” Sacramento Bee 4 Sept. 2009: Newspaper Source Plus EBSOC. Web. 25 Sept. 2009. Edds, Kimberly. “What Was Wife’s Role” Charlotte Observer 6 Sept. 2009: Newspaper Source Plus EBSOC. Wed. 25 Sept. 2009.


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