Missy McBride calls it the most vivid memory of elementary school – the day the children at Meyers Elementary School found out 11-year-old classmate Jaycee Dugard had been kidnapped.
“Everybody was scared,” McBride, now 27 and living in Seattle, tells the Reno Gazette-Journal, “and the parents were even more scared than the kids.”
The memories flooded back for former students of the South Lake Tahoe school when Dugard, now 29, was found living in Northern California in a squalid compound behind the home of her alleged abductor, Phillip Garrido, along with the two daughters he fathered with her.
‘Overflow of Fear’
For McBride, the childhood fears never went entirely away. A third-grader when Jaycee, a fifth-grader, was abducted, McBride still has Jaycee’s missing person’s flier, which she showed to her 5-year-old daughter Maya to warn her to be safe when she went to kindergarten last year.
“I’m an overprotective mom, I guess,” McBride tells the Gazette-Journal. “I want to know where Maya is every minute of every day. I think what happened to Jaycee had a lot to do with that.”
Kristina Rhoden, a fifth-grade classmate of Dugard’s and a member of the same Girl Scout troop, remembers the “overflow of fear” when school administrators locked down the building and canceled year-end activities after Jaycee was kidnapped from a bus stop.
“That bus stop on Pioneer Trail was a major stop,” Rhoden, now 28, of Reno, tells the newspaper. “We realized it could have been anybody who was taken. I was just at her 11th birthday party at Round Table Pizza. We just couldn’t believe someone we knew was kidnapped, that no one was really safe.”
“Thoughts of Jaycee followed me everywhere through school and after,” Rhoden adds. “Her name would come up or I’d read about another kidnapped child, and I’d wonder, ‘Where is she now? Is she even alive?’ … Her life was stolen from her. It makes me mad she wasn’t found earlier. She would have been so loved, so happy.”