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A girl who was snatched off the street 18 years ago has been found and the man and wife team who allegedly grabbed her have been arrested and charged with kidnapping and rape, officials said today.
The identity of Jaycee Lee Dugard, now 29, was revealed when she accompanied Phillip Garrido for questioning by his California parole officer. Garrido, a convicted kidnapper and rapist, was also accompanied by his wife Nancy and two young children that Garrido said were his.
Undersheriff Fred Koller said in a news conference that Jaycee was the mother of the two young children who had been fathered by Garrido.
Jaycee, who Garrido had renamed Allissa, was reunited with her mother Terry Probyn today, and the mother told ABC News that her daughter had been held against her will all these years and confined in a box in the back of the Garrido's house.
Koller said that Jaycee had been held captive at a house in Antioch, Calif., since the day she was abducted and none of their neighbors ever knew. He described it as a "hidden back yard" arranged in such a way "to isolate the victims from outside contact."
Entrance to the secret yard was guarded by a 6-foot tall fence, tall trees and a tarp, he said.
Koller said Jaycee and the two children lived a series of sheds, including one that was sound proofed and that could only be opened from the outside. In addition, there were two tents in the yard.
"None of the children have ever been to school or to a doctor. They were kept in complete isolation," Koller said.
When asked about Jaycee's condition, the undersheriff said, "She is in good health, but living in a backyard for 18 years does take its toll."
Jaycee was with her mother today along with her two children, age 11 and 15.
Garrido had been called in for questioning by his parole officer after being alerted by Berkeley University campus security that Garrido was acting suspiciously. When Garrido showed up for his grilling, there was difficulty in establishing the identity of everyone with him, said Scott Kernan, undersecretary for operations of California's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Under questioning, Garrido admitted to having kidnapped Dugard when she was 11 years old. Officers were convinced that Garrido was tellling the truth when he and Jaycee told them details that only the kidnapper and victim would know, Koller said.
Both Phillip, who is a 58-year-old registered sex offender, and Nancy Garrido, 54, are being held on $1 million bail, charged with kidnapping to commit rape.
The stunning news that Jaycee was alive and had been found elated Jaycee's parents.
"I had personally given up hope," her step-father Carl Probyn said. "I had just hoped for a recovery" and to find the people responsible.
Instead, he said, "I've actually won the lotto."
But as the day wore on and details emerged of Jaycee's ordeal, Probyn became distraught.
Breaking down in tears, Probyn told ABC News, "My girl has no proper schooling and I don't even know what shape she is in. I don't know if she was treated like an animal... This is so horrific I don't believe it."
Jaycee Dugard Snatched on Way to School Bus
On June 10, 1991, Probyn watched his long nightmare begin to unfold. His daughter was hurrying to catch a school bus when he heard her scream. He looked up to see his Jaycee disappear into a strange car.
"I saw them pull her in and I tried to get her," Probyn said.
The kidnapping terrified the community and led to a massive manhunt.
His wife, Terry, who now lives in Orange County, left for northern California at 6 a.m. today, joining the couple's 19-year-old daughter who was just a year old when her sister Jaycee was kidnapped.
"She's in shock," Probyn said of his wife. "I told her and my daughter to sit down there and think of questions to ask her."
"She sounds like she's okay," Probyn said. "She had a conversation with my wife and she remembers things. I hope she's been well treated this entire 18 years."
Jaycee's abduction tore at the entire family.
"I've gone through hell," Probyn said, noting that investigators and even members of the extended family looked at him suspiciously for months afterward.
He and his wife, though still legally married, were separated.
Now Probyn just wants to find out who these people are that took his daughter and why.
And of course, to see the now-grown woman he thought was gone for good.
Phillip Garrido was paroled in 1999 after serving prison time for kidnapping and forcible rape. Kernan said that he wore a GPS monitor as part of his parole.
Lt. Les Lovell of the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office, who was a detective assigned to the case back in 1991 said she appeared to be in good health.
Helen Boyer, the Garridos' neighbor for more than 10 years, said she would be completely shocked if it turned out they had something to do with Jaycee's kidnapping.
"There was no girl living next door as far as I knew," she said.
Boyer said the couple were caregivers to Phillips Garrido's bedridden mother. They would sometimes have three young blonde girls, friends of the family, she said, come visit.
"They were real good neighbors," she said. "Real nice people."
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