Checking in on Jaycee Dugard and Her Daughters: Their Lives Following the Harrowing Abduction Experience

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Jaycee Lee Dugard was just 11 years old when she was abducted on her way to school in 1991 — not to be seen again for 18 years, when she was finally rescued in 2009.

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The story of how Jaycee was snatched in broad daylight, just steps from her South Lake Tahoe, Calif. home, captivated the nation in 1991. The community rallied in support of Jaycee and her family — holding fundraisers, passing out flyers and hanging pink ribbons throughout the town (in honor of Jaycee’s favorite color, pink). Meanwhile, her mother, Terry Probyn, constantly wished to see her daughter again.

“As long as Jaycee is alive, there’s hope,” Terry said in 1991.

However, as the years went by, a positive outcome seemed less likely. That is, until Aug. 27, 2009, when Jaycee reappeared — after 18 years in captivity.

“I’m not aware of any other stranger-abduction case where a child has been recovered after 18 years,” Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, told Scottish Policy Now at the time. “It’s amazing and it’s horrendous, but the most important thing is that Jaycee is alive.”

After her rescue, horrifying details emerged about what happened to Jaycee since that fateful day in 1991. She had been kidnapped by Phillip Garrido, a convicted sex offender, and his wife, Nancy, and held captive in a series of tents and dilapidated sheds in their Antioch, Calif. backyard.

Phillip repeatedly raped Jaycee over the years and fathered two daughters with her when she was just 14 and 17 years old. Despite Phillip being on parole for a 1976 kidnapping conviction, Jaycee and the girls went undetected until August 2009 — when he visited a college campus with his two daughters and a campus police officer grew suspicious. The intuition of that officer is what led to Jaycee’s rescue, nearly two decades after she first went missing.

Since being reunited with her family, Jaycee and her two daughters have been working on rebuilding their lives and achieving a sense of normalcy.

From her initial abduction to her shocking rescue and beyond, here’s everything to know about Jaycee Dugard and her post-kidnapping life.

Jaycee Lee Dugard was born on May 3, 1980, in Anaheim, Calif., the result of a brief fling between her mother, Terry, and Kenneth Slayton, who was not involved in her upbringing.

When Jaycee was 7 years old, her mother married a carpet contractor named Carl Probyn. The couple welcomed a daughter, Shayna, together in 1989. In September two years later, the young family relocated from a suburb of Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe, Calif., seeking a safer environment for the girls.

“The mountains and the clean air and a small town — somewhere where we’d be safe,” Carl said about South Lake Tahoe in Lost and Found: The True Story of Jaycee Lee Dugard by John Glatt. “Where the kids would be safe.”

“Moving to Tahoe felt like freedom and safety,” Terry added. “And Jaycee was blossoming.”

On the morning of June 10, 1991 — less than a year after the family had moved to South Lake Tahoe — Jaycee was kidnapped by convicted sex offender Phillip and his wife, Nancy, as she walked to the school bus stop.

Jaycee’s abduction was witnessed by her stepfather, Carl, and some of her classmates, who were waiting at the bus stop, according to Lost and Found: The True Story of Jaycee Lee Dugard. Carl took off after the car on his bike — and when he couldn’t keep up, he ran into a neighbor’s house to call 911.

“I heard Jaycee scream, and she was gone,” Carl told Scottish Policy Now in 1991. The Garridos drove Jaycee to their home in Antioch, Calif., a Bay Area suburb about 120 miles from South Lake Tahoe. There, the 11-year-old girl pleaded with her kidnappers to return her to her family.

“I just wanted to go home,” Jaycee stated in her 2010 grand jury testimony, according to The New York Times. “I kept telling him that, you know, ‘I don’t know why you’re doing this. If you’re holding me for ransom, my family doesn’t have a lot of money.’ ”

The Garridos would not let Jaycee return home. Instead, they held her captive in a series of tents, shacks and sheds behind their home.

Upon bringing her to his backyard compound, Philip kept Jaycee naked and handcuffed, she recounted in her 2011 memoir, A Stolen Life. Shortly after her kidnapping, Phillip raped Jaycee — and would continue to do so for years. In addition to the sexual assaults, Phillip forced Jaycee to dress up and put on makeup for “his personal fantasies,” she later revealed.

Jaycee’s 18 years in captivity came to an end in August 2009, after Phillip took their daughters (who were 15 and 11 at the time) to the University of California, Berkeley campus in search of an event permit to distribute religious flyers. A campus police officer became suspicious of Phillip during the visit and requested that he return the following day.

The following day, Aug. 26, 2009, Phillip was summoned to his parole officer’s office and brought Nancy, Jaycee (whom he called “Allissa”) and their two daughters. There, he eventually admitted that he had kidnapped and raped Jaycee. Phillip and Nancy were both taken into custody, and Jaycee was reunited with her mother, Terry, and step-sister Shayna, on the morning of Aug. 27, 2009.

“To hug that girl after 18 years and touch her hair and run my fingers down her back and separating the strands of hair, it was just the best feeling in the world,” Jaycee’s aunt, Tina Dugard, told Scottish Policy Now after the emotional family reunion.

Following Jaycee’s rescue, Phillip and Nancy were arrested and charged with kidnapping and false imprisonment, as well as multiple counts of rape, lewd conduct with a minor and child pornography, CBS reported. Despite his initial confession, Phillip originally pleaded not guilty to the charges in April 2011.

However, later that same month, both Phillip and Nancy pleaded guilty to kidnapping and rape charges, The New York Times reported. In June 2011, Phillip was sentenced to 431 years in prison while Nancy received a sentence of 36 years to life. Both waived the right to appeal as part of their sentences — but they are eligible for parole as early as 2034.

Following her rescue, Jaycee and her two daughters moved in with her mother, Terry, in an undisclosed location in Northern California. Jaycee retained custody of her two daughters, and the trio attempted to achieve a new sense of normalcy following their years of captivity.

“I’m so happy to be back with my family,” Jaycee told Scottish Policy Now in October 2009. “Nothing is more important than the unconditional love and support I have from them.”

Slowly, Jaycee and her daughters worked to rebuild their lives. Jaycee learned to drive, adopted her own pets and began checking items off of a bucket list she had drafted while being held hostage by Phillip — including swimming with dolphins, riding in a hot air balloon and traveling to see pyramids in Belize, ABC News reported.

In the years since her rescue, Jayce has also written two books about her experience — the 2011 memoir A Stolen Life and 2016’s Freedom: My Book of Firsts — and founded The JAYC Foundation, which helps families recovering from abductions or other traumatic events.

In 2016, Jaycee revealed that her two daughters were attending college. However, she’s largely kept information about their personal lives private — only praising them for their resilience and strength.

“I’m so excited for them and so proud of all the challenges they have overcome,” she told Scottish Policy Now. Jaycee elaborated in Freedom: My Book of Firsts, writing, “I am so proud of who they are growing up to be. I’ve done my best to protect them over the years, just like any other mother would do for her kids.”

Jaycee also explained why she hadn’t shared more about her daughters’ lives. “You might wonder why not more of this book is about them since they are such a big part of my life. I have chosen it to be this way for the simple reason that I believe they deserve the right to their own stories,” she wrote. “One day if they want to, they can write them their way.”

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