"Now I can walk in the next room and see my mom," the former captive tells Diane Sawyer

By Stephen M. Silverman
July 10, 2011 11:30 AM

Jaycee Dugard is savoring her freedom.

“Now I can walk in the next room and see my mom,” the 31-year-old former captive, who lost 18 years of her life when she was kidnapped at age 11, tells ABC News’ Diane Sawyer in an exclusive, two-hour interview to air on Sunday’s Primetime.

“Wow,” says Dugard. “I can decide to jump in the car and go to the beach with the girls. Wow, it’s unbelievable, truly.”

Having lashed out at her abductors, Phillip and Nancy Garrido, at their sentencing last month through a letter read in court by her mother, Jaycee is now speaking for herself.

In addition to the Sawyer interview, she has published a detailed story of her ordeal, the book A Stolen Life, excerpts from which appear exclusively in this week’s PEOPLE.

During the ABC interview, the June 10, 1991, abduction is retold: Dugard’s mom running late and not kissing Jaycee goodbye, then Garrido’s stun gun shocking the girl, who tried to hide in the bushes – where her fingers became sticky from the sap of a pinecone.

“Back then [the pinecone] was the last thing I touched. You know, the last grip on me,” says Dugard. “Now, it’s – it’s a symbol of hope and new beginnings. And that – there is life after something tragic.”

Used as Phillip Garrido’s sex slave, Dugard became pregnant at age 14 and gave birth to a girl. A second daughter was born three years later.

As noted in an ABC press release, today “Dugard wears around her neck a small symbol of a pinecone to symbolize her new life and the hope she held onto during her imprisonment.”

Clung to Hope of Seeing Her Mom

“I knew she was out there somewhere,” Jaycee’s mother, Terry Probyn, tells ABC of what those 14 years were like for her and her family. “I held onto her and didn’t let go. I couldn’t let go. And my heart got ripped out and that huge hole couldn’t be filled by anyone but her. I just hung on.”

The judge did not permit the victim’s statement to be broadcast at the sentencing, but the TV interview contains Probyn’s message.

It went: “I could hear her crying, not with my ears, but with my heart. I could feel her pain, not with my body, but again with my heart. Completely unbearable and debilitating.”

Phillip Garrido was sentenced to 431 years in prison. Nancy Garrido received 36 years to life.

For eight pages of exclusive excerpts from A Stolen Life and never-before-seen photos, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday