She missed out on so much for 18 years, but at least Jaycee Dugard is finally catching up on some paperwork. Not long ago her daughters Angel, 15, and Starlit, 12, were granted delayed birth certificates by California’s bureau of vital statistics. And on Feb. 2 Jaycee, 29, finally got something most teenagers take for granted-a driver’s license.
Yet as much as she may like the freedom of driving, Jaycee-rescued six months ago after vanishing in 1991-still faces the challenge of breaking free from her alleged kidnapper. Recent court papers reveal just how much control Phillip Garrido apparently had over her and suggest he’s still trying to manipulate her from prison. Which, according to Dugard family spokeswoman Nancy Seltzer, will not work. “Jaycee has repeatedly said she does not want to interact with Garrido or his representatives,” says Seltzer.
But as the case against Garrido moves forward (see box), it’s not clear Jaycee is anywhere near ready to face him in court. Prosecutors say Garrido, 58, used certain words in statements to the media and lawyers as warnings to Jaycee to stick to his story that they were a loving family. He had his lawyer tell her he doesn’t “harbor any ill will” toward her, which Jaycee told an official meant, “I’m not following the plan,” a prosecutor said in a motion.
Authorities also released excerpts from a secret journal Jaycee kept during her ordeal. “I don’t want to hurt him…so how can I ever tell him how I want to be free?” she wrote in 2003. And a year later: “Why don’t I have control of my life! I feel I can’t even be sure my thoughts are my own.” Right now “it’s too early for Jaycee to be in the same courtroom as Garrido,” says psychiatrist Carole Lieberman. “She hasn’t had enough psychotherapy to make her immune to him and his mind games.”
It’s unlikely Jaycee will have to confront Garrido any time soon (though her daughters do have the option of contacting him through their attorneys, a judge ruled on Feb. 26). For now Jaycee will continue therapy in northern California, where she and her daughters live in an undisclosed location. She has also made friends with a police officer involved in her case. This new friendship and her license represent something she has dreamed about for years. “I want to be free,” she wrote in her journal. “Free to come and go as I please…free to say I have a family…FREE.”