"Why weren't they more curious?" an angry Katherine Callaway Hall asks about parole officers

By Michael Y. Park Howard Breuer
September 01, 2009 09:30 AM
CNN; Pat Dollins/Mountain Democrat/ZUMA

Katherine Callaway Hall was 38 years old and working at a roulette table in a Lake Tahoe, Calif., casino in 1988 when a thin man ordered a cocktail, remarked how he hadn’t had a drink in 11 years, then cashed out his chips without ever placing a bet.

“Hope to see you again real soon, Katie,” the man said as he left.

That man was Phillip Garrido, now 58, the man who had kidnapped and repeatedly raped Hall 12 years earlier – and who would allegedly abduct 11-year-old Jaycee Dugard three years later. Now Hall believes the seed for the idea of taking a child as a sex slave came from her own eight-hour ordeal at his hands.

It was 1976 when Hall first met Garrido. She’d just bought groceries to make dinner at her boyfriend’s house when there was a rap on her car window. It was a thin man in a ponytail, asking for a ride. Hall agreed.

Overpowered Her

But when Garrido lured her to a remote road, he overpowered her, handcuffed her and drove her to a garage-sized storage locker in Reno, Nev. Inside, Garrido had converted the space into a sex dungeon, complete with hanging carpets he’d turned into a maze, a projector, pornography, and a bottle of wine.

“He raped me there, and the rape, which lasted about seven hours, is what I’ve completely blocked out of my mind,” Hall says, her voice cracking. “I also had scratches and bruises. I was roughed up.”

Around 2:30 a.m., a policeman noticed that someone had jimmied his way into the storage locker, and knocked on the door. Garrido untied Hall and told her to act as if nothing were wrong. She promised to cooperate.

Garrido told the cop he was “partying” with his girlfriend, but when she realized there was a policeman nearby, Hall crashed through the hanging rugs and boxes and told the officer her story.

“Please don’t tell on me! Please, please,” Garrido pleaded with his captive.

Exposed in Court

But she did tell, in court, and Garrido was given 50-to-life for raping her, and a life sentence for kidnapping her. His parole officer said Garrido would live “in a fishbowl” and be watched constantly.

Which is why Hall is incensed that her onetime tormentor got out of prison so quickly and managed to hide Jaycee Dugard from notice for 18 years.

“I just can’t imagine how they would not check on him,” Hall says. “Why weren’t they more curious? He had a reputation as being a weirdo and was getting more psychotic. I can’t believe they went to the house several times and never checked back there.”

Perfected His Predatory Skills

Worse, Hall feels that, instead of learning to repent during his sentence, Garrido simply learned from his mistakes and became a better predator in prison and even earned a degree in psychology. Possibly that was when he decided to start targeting children, “maybe because he could control her better,” Hall says. “An adult woman could out-think him.”

Despite his visit to her at the casino in 1988 – Garrido had been paroled and left his halfway house to see her – Hall didn’t see Garrido again until she saw his face on TV, the lead suspect in the Jaycee Dugard case, behind bars for what seems will be for good.

And finally, after nearly three decades of living in fear, she at last feels safe. “I’ve looked him in his eyes and I’ve been afraid ever since, until now.”

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