Dugard’s daughters “upset” over father’s arrest

Ed Pilkington

The two girls were born in a sound-proofed part of the compound and were rarely allowed out

Ms. Dugard’s first words to her mother when they met were: “Hi, Mom, I have babies.”

New York: The two children of U.S. abduction victim Jaycee Dugard fathered by the man accused of imprisoning her for 18 years are distraught at the arrest of their father and bewildered by the way their lives have been suddenly changed, it emerged on Monday.

Five days after the ecstatic reunion of Ms. Dugard and the mother from whom she was snatched 18 years ago, the focus is switching to the two girls.

Starlet and Angel, aged 11 and 15, were rescued on Wednesday from the intricate web of tents and sheds erected by Phillip Garrido in the backyard of his home in Antioch, California, in which they spent their entire lives. They were born in a sound-proofed quarter of the compound, never saw a doctor or attended school and were rarely allowed out.

Only in the last couple of days have they been told by their mother, who was abducted by Mr. Garrido on her way to school aged 11, that their father had kidnapped, imprisoned and raped her. Snippets of information that have emerged about the children suggests they are deeply confused.

Carl Probyn, Ms. Dugard’s stepfather who saw her being abducted on 10 June, 1991 and chased after the kidnapper’s car on a mountain bike but failed to reach it, has been acting as the family’s spokesperson. Although he was not present at the reunion, having separated from Ms. Dugard’s mother, Terry Probyn, he has kept in regular contact.

He said the revelations about their abusive father had caused turmoil for Starlet and Angel. “These girls are so fragile. They are upset about this because that’s their father and he’s in jail.”

Not guilty plea

Mr. Garrido (58) and his wife Nancy (54) have pleaded not guilty to 29 counts including kidnapping, imprisonment and rape. A team of about 20 police officers were still scouring their home and its backyard on Monday.

Cadaver dogs, trained in sniffing out corpses, were brought in to search the house next door where Mr. Garrido acted as caretaker until 2006. It is understood that the search, which has been extended for an extra day, relates to suspicions that Mr. Garrido might also have been involved in the 1990s murders in outlying areas of eight prostitutes and a teenage girl.

The officers have been using rakes, shovels and chainsaws to clear the property, as well as metal detectors to analyse the ground. The local sheriff’s department has made clear that the neighbouring yard is being treated as a crime scene.

The dramatic reunion between Ms. Dugard and her mother and younger sister Shayna, now 19, who she had not seen for almost two decades, came last Thursday in a California hotel.

Ms. Dugard’s first words to her mother when they met face to face were: “Hi, Mom, I have babies.”

Carl Probyn said Terry, Jaycee and the two girls were “doing fine — not fine, but fine for the situation. My wife says that Jaycee is an excellent mother, and they are bonding, playing little games like checkers.”

Chris Campion, an FBI agent who witnessed the reunion, said Terry was ecstatic. “It was a very emotional scene — both of them were just overjoyed to be with each other again. There’s going to be a period of adjustment, no doubt, but they’re doing very well at this point.”

Ms. Dugard has had to deal with feelings of guilt that she was attached to Mr. Garrido despite the fact that he had abused her and she had made no apparent attempt to escape.

“Strong feelings”

“Jaycee has strong feelings with this guy. She really feels it’s almost like a marriage,” Mr. Probyn told the Sacramento Bee.

Stephen Ajl, a child abuse paediatrician in New York, said Jaycee and her children would need expert care for a long time: “The scars on them will be enormous. Their norm has been inside that compound and anything outside it will seem terrifying. They have been reared on another planet, and nothing about their recovery will be straightforward or easy.” — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2009

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