In many respects, Jaycee Dugard and her two daughters lived an unremarkable public life — one that belied the horrifying circumstances that have since made front-page news.
Dugard, kidnapped 18 years ago in South Lake Tahoe, California, helped manage the small printing company her alleged captor, Phillip Garrido, ran from his home in Antioch, east of San Francisco. Her two daughters, fathered by 58-year-old Garrido, attended birthday parties and, like many girls their age, shared a love for the TV show “Hannah Montana.” The media “made it seem like these little girls were living like wolves or jungle kids in the backyard dungeon. Perhaps that’s it, but they didn’t give that visual to me,” said Cheyvonne Molino, who runs an auto wrecking yard with her husband. See photos of Dugard’s living conditions » Garrido would often bring the girls by the yard, delivering bottles of water on hot days. The 11-year-old went by the name Angel and the 15-year-old, Starlet. “They were polite. They were well-mannered,” Molino said. Two weeks ago, the girls attended a birthday party for Molino’s daughter, who turned 16. Again, they showed no signs of lives lived in turmoil. Customers of Garrido’s printing company, Printing for Less, knew the girls’ mother as Allissa. Watch interview with Garrido » They spoke to her about graphic design, business cards and fliers, and describe her as professional, polite and responsive.
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“She was always having a very pretty smile on the face,” said Deepal Karunaratne, who had real estate brochures printed. “She comes and talks to me and was always smiling. She was a very pretty girl, a very pretty young lady.” The children, however, sometimes stood out. “They were not dressed like average teenage girls. They were dressed very conservatively,” Karunaratne said. Another customer, Ben Daughdrill, sometimes corresponded with Dugard when he used the printing service for his junk-hauling business. “Nothing stood out,” he said. “Obviously, there was some brainwashing going on. That’s all I can think. She had access to a phone and a computer, so obviously something went on that no one knows about.” Dugard’s real identity was discovered last week and her alleged kidnappers — Garrido, a registered sex offender, and his 55-year-old wife, Nancy — were arrested. They face 29 felony charges, including rape and kidnapping, and both have pleaded not guilty. Authorities said the Garridos held Dugard and her daughters in a soundproof shed in the couple’s overgrown, littered back yard. Garridos told Karunaratne that he had a soundproof recording studio in the backyard, said Karunaratne, who described Garridos’ music as “Christian, contemporary” and said some songs “were about love and romance.” Watch aerial view of backyard compound » Dugard and her mother and daughters have moved to an undisclosed location as they try to get reacquainted, said Carl Probyn, Dugard’s stepfather. A team of psychologists and several law enforcement officers are with them, he said. Now, three northern California law enforcement agencies have joined the investigation. Authorities brought cadaver dogs to search the property next door, as they tried to determine whether Garrido was connected to a string of unsolved slayings of prostitutes in the 1990s. Several of the women’s bodies were dumped near a park where Garrido worked at the time. Watch where police are searching » “What we also know is that Phillip Garrido had access to that property,” said Jimmie Lee, spokesman for the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Department. “He used that property and it looks like he lived on that property in a shed.” As investigators and reporters delve into the case, more details emerge — some horrifying, some commonplace. At a hardware store that Garrido frequented, CNN found a receipt for a purchase he made on August 17.
He paid $24.99 for a pressure switch — and left a $2 donation. The recipient: the Children’s Miracle Network, an organization dedicated to saving and improving the lives of kids.