Questions arise over how alleged kidnapper went undetected

ANTIOCH, Calif. (AP) - His neighbors knew he was a registered
sex offender. Kids on his block called him "Creepy Phil" and kept
their distance. Parole agents and local law enforcement regularly
visited his home and found nothing unusual, even after a neighbor
complained children were living in a complex of tents in his
For 18 years, Phillip Garrido managed to elude detection as he
pulled off what authorities are calling an unfathomable crime,
kidnapping and raping 11-year-old Jaycee Dugard, keeping her as his
secret captive for nearly two decades and fathering her two
The question about how he went unnoticed became more pressing
Friday when Garrido came under suspicion in the unsolved murders of
several prostitutes in the 1990s, raising the prospect he was a
serial killer as well. Several of the women's bodies - the exact
number is not known - were dumped near an industrial park where
Garrido worked during the 1990s.
Authorities acknowledged that they blew a chance three years ago
to rescue Dugard from the backyard labyrinth of sheds, tents and
outbuildings that were concealed from the outside world.
A neighbor called 911 in November 2006 and described Garrido as
a psychotic sex addict who was living with children and had people
staying in tents in his backyard.
The investigating officer spent a half-hour interviewing Garrido
on his front porch but did not enter the house or search the
backyard, Contra Costa County Sheriff Warren E. Rupf said. The
deputy, who did not know Garrido was a registered sex offender even
though the sheriff's department had the information, warned Garrido
that the tents could be a code violation before leaving.
"We missed an opportunity to bring earlier closure to this
situation," Rupf acknowledged. "I cannot change the course of
events but we are beating ourselves up over this and continue to do
"We should have been more inquisitive, more curious and turned
over a rock or two."
It was not the only missed opportunity.
As a parolee, Garrido wore a GPS-linked ankle bracelet that
tracked his every movement, met with his parole agent several times
each month and was subject to routine surprise home visits and
random drug and alcohol tests, California Department of Corrections
and Rehabilitation spokesman Gordon Hinkle said.
The last unannounced visit by a team of local police agencies
was conducted in July 2008. Paramedics also were summoned to the
house five times since 1999, presumably to help Garrido's
88-year-old mother, who had dementia.
"There was never any indication to my knowledge that there was
any sign of children living there," Hinkle said.
As it turns out, Dugard and her two children were living there
as prisoners, authorities say. The heavily wooded compound was
arranged so that people could not view what was happening, and one
of the buildings was sound-proofed and could only be opened from
the outside.
Neighbors knew there were children living there. Damon Robinson
has lived next door to the Garridos for more than three years and
his then-girlfriend in 2006 told him she saw tents in the backyard
and children.
"I told her to call police. I told her to call right away," he
Dugard, now 29, was reunited with her family and said to be in
good health, but feeling guilty about developing a bond with
Garrido over the years. Her two children, 11 and 15, remained with
"Jaycee has strong feelings with this guy. She really feels
it's almost like a marriage," said Dugard's stepfather Carl
Probyn, who was there when little Jaycee was snatched from a bus
stop in 1991.
Probyn has been in constant contact with Dugard's mother, his
ex-wife Terry Probyn, since she found out her daughter was alive on
Probyn said both mother and daughter are trying to avoid the
public eye for now. After not seeing each other for 18 years,
Dugard greeted her mother by saying, "Hi, mom, I have babies,"
according to Probyn. Dugard had her two daughters with her at the
reunion, and it appears she never told them she was kidnapped by
their father, he said.
She is now free thanks in large part to two quick-thinking
police employees at the University of California, Berkeley who came
across a rambling Garrido this week, with Dugard's two daughters in
tow. He was on campus because he wanted to hold some sort of
religious event.
Garrido seemed incoherent and mentally unstable, and the girls
wore drab-colored dresses, were unusually subdued, had an
unnaturally pale complexion and appeared robotic and rehearsed when
they spoke, said Lisa Campbell. They said they were home-schooled
by their mother and had a 29-year-old sister at home.
Colleague Ally Jacobs ran a background check on Garrido and
notified his probation officer. On Wednesday, Garrido arrived at
the probation officer's building with his wife, the two girls and a
woman who initially identified herself as Allissa. She turned out
to be Dugard and investigators said Garrido confessed to the
The authorities say they do not yet know whether she ever tried
to escape or to alert anyone of her whereabouts, but she had
chances to escape Garrido, who did a stint behind bars during the
period of captivity.
Garrido and his wife pleaded not guilty Friday to a total of 29
counts, including forcible abduction, rape and false imprisonment.
Phillip Garrido appeared stoic and unresponsive during the brief
arraignment hearing. His wife cried and put her head in her hands
several times.
Garrido gave a rambling, sometimes incoherent phone interview to
KCRA-TV from the county jail Thursday in which he said he had not
admitted to a kidnapping and that he had turned his life around
since the birth of his first daughter 15 years ago. He told the
television station that he walked into the FBI's San Francisco
office on Monday with Dugard's daughters and dropped off several
documents containing rambling passages about religion, sexual
compulsion and mind control.
FBI spokesman Joseph Schadler confirmed Garrido left the
documents with the agency, but declined to discuss any further
Garrido was required to register as a sex offender because he
was convicted in 1977 of kidnapping a 25-year-old woman from
parking lot in South Lake Tahoe, the same town Jaycee Dugard lived
in when she was snatched from a school bus stop.
He was convicted of raping the woman multiple times at a Reno
storage unit that the investigator from the case described as a
"sex palace." It featured various sex aids, sex magazines and
videos, stage lights, wine, and a bed, said investigator Dan
Gail Powell, spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Public
Safety, said Garrido met his wife while he was serving time for the
rape at the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan.
He served about 10 years of a 50-year federal sentence for
kidnapping, and less than a year for a concurrent Nevada sentence
of five years to life in prison for sexual assault. He was paroled
in 1988, said Nevada Department of Corrections spokeswoman Suzanne
A violation of Garrido's parole conditions sent him back to
federal prison from April to August of 1993. Dick Carelli,
spokesman for the federal Office of Court Administration, did not
know what Garrido did to violate parole. Authorities are trying to
piece together how and by whom Dugard was held during Garrido's
four-month absence.
Hinkle said the alarm raised by the neighbor who contacted the
sheriff's department never was relayed to Garrido's parole agent.
But there was no ban on him having contact with children, nor
restrictions on his travels.
Monica Adams, 33, whose mother lives on their street, said she
knew Phillip Garrido was a sex offender and that he had children
living with him. Other neighbors knew, too, but they assumed police
were keeping tabs on him.
"He never bothered any one, he kept to himself," Adams said.
"What would we have done? You just watch your own."
Probyn said he was frustrated to find out that a car matching
the description of the one he saw speeding Dugard away in the day
she was kidnapped was found in the yard of Garrido's home. Nancy
Garrido also fits the "dead-on" description he gave of the woman
who pulled her into the car, he said.
"He had every break in the world," Probyn said of Garrido's
close encounters with the law.
Associated Press Writers Don Thompson in Sacramento, Terence
Chea in Berkeley, Paul Elias in San Francisco, Juliet Williams in
Placerville, Michelle Rindels in Orange, Calif., and Martin
Griffith in Reno, Nev., contributed to this story.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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