REVIEW "A STOLEN LIFE"

(Investigator 174, 2017 May)


Jaycee Dugard of California was abducted in 1991 at age 11, held captive for 18 years by sex offender Phillip Garrido (b.1951), and repeatedly raped.

When rescued in 2009 she was aged 29 and her two daughters, fathered by Garrido, 15 and 11.

Garrido had kidnapped and raped a woman in 1976 after she stopped to help when he staged a car-breakdown. A court-ordered psychiatric evaluation diagnosed him a "sexual deviant and chronic drug abuser." He was convicted and began serving a 50-year sentence in a federal penitentiary.

Nancy Garrido (b.1955) was (according to news reports) a Jehovah's Witness who preached to prison inmates and apparently converted Garrido before marrying him in 1981. This helped Garrido convince parole officers that he was a changed man, devoted to God, and helped procure his early release in 1988.

Jaycee's daughters were raised believing Jaycee was their older sister and Nancy the mother of all three.

In 2011 Judge Douglas Phimister sentenced Phillip Garrido to 430 years in jail and Nancy to 36 years.

Jaycee's 273-page memoir, A Stolen Life (2011) describes the sex sessions imposed on her in discomforting detail; the primitive living conditions including bucket for a toilet; her loneliness; boredom; self doubts; goals for self improvement; pet cats; relationship with Nancy; the pain of giving birth; and efforts to make her daughters' upbringing normal. It’s all written in the present tense, switching to past tense when the nightmare ends.


ABDUCTED

In 1991 Phillip and Nancy used a stun gun on Jaycee who was walking to catch the school bus and pulled her into their car. They confined her, initially handcuffed, in a soundproofed, backyard shed. On the first night Phillip stripped her and shaved her body; the rapes began a week later.

For the first year Jaycee was kept alone except for Phillip's company.  After that she was permitted to watch TV with Phillip and Nancy. In 1993 Phillip was returned to prison for parole violations and Nancy could have released Jaycee but didn’t.

In 1994 Jaycee was still confined to a bolted room and gave birth to her first daughter in August. The second daughter was born in 1997.

Gradually Jaycee was granted more freedom and worked as a graphics designer in Phillip's printing business conducted from his house. Customers knew her as "Allissa" and regarded her as professional and polite.

As a paroled sex offender Garrido wore a GPS-enabled ankle bracelet but parole officers never checked his back yard. Jaycee — intimidated by the stun gun, indoctrinated to fear the outside world, concerned for her girls, and treated by this time more like a live-in employee — never mentioned her abduction to anyone.

In August 2009, Garrido went to the University of California with Jaycee's daughters to get permission to hold a religious event on campus. Background checks led to concerns about the two girls accompanying him. Further questioning included Jaycee; the truth came out when she couldn't confirm her identity as "Allissa".


WHAT RELIGION?

Some newspapers reported Nancy to be a Jehovah's Witness who converted Phillip in prison, and that Jaycee's daughters went door to door with JW leaflets.

For these reasons the article When A Religion Becomes Big (Investigator #161) included the Garridos in a list of JW criminals. The argument in the article is that JWs are losing their fear of Armageddon (because predictions have repeatedly failed) and of excommunication, and therefore are not "the best people in the world" as they claimed in 1970 but becoming more like "the world". The conclusion was, "It is difficult for religions to be both big and exceptionally good."

However, A Stolen Life makes no reference to JWs, or visits by elders, or Nancy attending a Kingdom Hall. Jaycee mentions Phillip's belief in "control by angels" (e.g. pages 188, 194, 204), his Bible reading (131, 155, 202), and gives a sample of "the Bible studies Phillip made us sit through" (190), but no mention of JWs.


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