Speaking of her step-granddaughter, Jaycee Lee Dugard, Wilma Probyn says, “We’re real happy she’s alive” – a breathtaking discovery that the family and the rest of the nation made only this week, 18 years after the now-29-year-old was abducted and allegedly imprisoned in a backyard by a sex offender.
“We’re happy she’s okay, but upset about all those years she spent in the shed,” the 83-year-old, her voice cracking with emotion, tells PEOPLE. “I still am excited, but I don’t like thinking about how she was kept in that stupid old shed out there with no doctors, no dentists, no schooling.”
After the unimaginable ordeal – police say accused abductors Phillip Garrido, 58, and his wife Nancy Garrido, 54, enslaved Dugard in a cluster of sheds in a “hidden backyard within a backyard”; he raped and had two children with her before his arrest this week – Dugard and her mother, Terry Probyn, and her younger sister, Shana, were reunited Thursday morning in Concord, Calif.
“I talked to Terry last night,” Wilma Probyn said Friday, “and she said Jaycee was doing good, that she’s got a lot of guilt, that she bonded with this guy. But after I’ve heard all these things, I think that’s the only reason she’s alive, because she did bond with him.”
The elder Probyn added, “I heard that that [Garrido] would take the two girls to Hometown Buffet once in a while, and to the aquarium in San Francisco, but Jaycee never got out. I think one neighbor saw her, but others say they never saw her.”
Still, says her step-grandmother, “Terry says she looks good, she looks like she did when she was taken at 11, and she’s 29. She looks healthy.”
Probyn says that Jaycee’s two daughters, ages 15 and 11, were never made aware that their mother had been abducted, and that Jaycee had only just now informed them. “But whether they know what that is, who knows,” says Probyn. “They have no education.”
As for the future, “Getting the family back together for the holidays will be amazing,” she says. “It’s been ages.”