Inside Story: How Jaycee Dugard Finally Escaped Her Captor

Two female cops used "mother's intuition" to free Jaycee and her two daughters

Photo: Nick Ut/AP; El Dorado County Sheriffs Office/Reuters/AP

It was a mother’s intuition that finally rescued Jaycee Lee Dugard from the clutches of Phillip Garrido.

Kidnapped by Garrido and his wife, Nancy, in 1991 from the bus stop in front of her South Lake Tahoe home, Jaycee, now 29, lived, along with the two children she bore her rapist, in lean-tos and tents behind his Antioch, Calif., house for 18 years.

Jaycee’s fate finally changed on Monday, Aug. 24, when a University of California, Berkeley, female cop grew suspicious of Garrido after he came to campus with the two daughters, aged 15 and 11, looking for an event permit to distribute religious flyers.

“He was clearly unstable,” Lisa Campbell, 40, the UC Berkeley manager of special events said at a press conference late Friday. And her mother mode went into gear when she watched Jaycee’s 15-year-old stare “straight up in the air.”

Campbell stalled Garrido, and asked him to return on Tuesday, Aug. 25. Meantime, she went to fellow UCBPD officer Ally Jacobs, 33, who ran a background check on Garrido and discovered he was a sex offender.

Garrido Returns

When Garrido returned to campus with his two daughters on Tuesday, Jacobs and Campbell were both there. “I’m a mother, so police mode turned into mother mode,” says Jacobs, whose gut feeling told her something was wrong with the girls.

According to Jacobs, both daughters were robotic, extremely pale to the point of being almost gray, and with non-responsive bright blue eyes.

Garrido confessed to the officers that his “life had changed” and that he was “on parole for a rape and kidnapping that happened 33 years ago.” As Jacobs watched, the girls “sat there with no emotion.”

When Jacobs asked the 11-year-old about a bump above her eye, “She said ‘It was a birth defect. Inoperable. Have it the rest of my life,’ and never stopped smiling,” recalls Jacobs.

Parole Officer Called

Jacobs tried to think of a way to hold Garrido to keep him from taking the girls home, but couldn’t do anything legally. Instead, she and Campbell called Garrido’s parole officer at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

When Jacobs told the parole officer she was concerned about Garrido’s two daughters, there was a pause on the phone line: “He doesn’t have any daughters,” the parole officer responded.

On Wednesday, Aug. 26, Garrido brought his wife, Jaycee (whom he called Allisa) and their two daughters into the parole officer’s office, where he finally admitted he had kidnapped Dugard and that the girls were his. Garrido was then taken into custody along with his wife, Nancy.

Jacobs and Campbell were not aware of the outcome of their deed until they saw the news. “I couldn’t believe it,” said Jacobs. “I’m glad the horrible ordeal is over but there’s a long road ahead.”

1991: Jaycee is abducted by strangers in front of her stepfather

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