She followed the orders of the serial sex offender who had immobilized her with a stun gun in June 1991, stashed her in his car and then laughed to his accomplice-wife that he couldn’t believe he had gotten away with it.
Over the following months, if Dugard balked at his commands, Phillip Garrido terrorized her by turning on the gun so she could hear it “zap.”
“I didn’t want it to happen again, so I was good,” she recalled in vivid grand jury testimony released Thursday after her abductors were sentenced to prison. She “tried to do what he wanted me to do even though I didn’t like it.”
The testimony was unsealed at the request of several media organizations, including The Associated Press. Detailed descriptions of sex abuse were redacted, but the testimony painted a portrait of a vulnerable child, teenager and young woman who fought to preserve her innocence and spirit and protect the two daughters she had with Garrido.
For months, the only person she saw was Garrido, who locked her inside a backyard studio and brought her meals.
When she confessed feeling lonely, he gave her a cat, which he took away once it started urinating indoors. He introduced her to his wife, Nancy, and Dugard was moved into another backyard room where the three of them would sleep.
After assaulting Dugard, Garrido “would, like, go get food, and we’d sit up and watch TV and movies and stuff,” she recalled. “I had told them my birthday, and so they came in… And they gave me some Barbie stuff because they knew I liked to play with Barbies.”
Garrido also gained control over his young hostage by manipulating her confusion. He at first refused to tell her why he had taken her, or even his name. But he eventually persuaded her that “I was helping somebody, even though it was in a really sick, perverted way,” Dugard recalled.
“In the beginning, he said that I was helping him and that, you know, he got me so that he wouldn’t have to do this to anybody else. So I was helping him,” Dugard, now 31, said during her September 2010 grand jury appearance. “I guess that’s how I felt, yeah. That’s what he told me.”
The relationship changed after the births of their children, the first when Dugard was 14. The sexual assaults became less frequent and stopped altogether once Dugard became pregnant again a little more than two years later. As the girls grew older, Garrido wanted them to act and go out in public like a real family.
Dugard and the daughters were instructed to call Garrido “dad” and his wife, “mom.” He told Dugard, whom he always had called “Snoopy,” to pick an alias. She chose “Allissa.”
“We just started like, acting like a family, and we would celebrate their birthdays together. Just trying to be normal, I guess,” she said of the years after her daughters, now 13 and 16, were born.
At times, Garrido would offer an apology of sorts, saying “he’s so sorry for what he did; he can’t believe he did it. I would tell him, “‘It’s OK. You know, I’m OK. You don’t have to worry.'”
The façade was difficult to maintain.
Phillip Garrido was prone to mercurial moods and bouts of paranoia, during which he would listen to the walls with electronic ears and say he heard voices he thought were the police.
He instructed Dugard and their daughters to avoid his parole agents should they make a surprise home visit, and told Dugard to immediately ask for a lawyer if he were arrested. She assured him she would.
“I just didn’t want to make him mad because he would go through these – not physically violent but just really mad,” she recalled. “Like we had a printing business, and he would shut down the whole printing business, and then we couldn’t make any money … So I tried to stay – you know, go with the flow, that kind of thing.”
Criminal justice experts say Dugard’s comprehensive testimony may be helpful to FBI profilers and other investigators as they try to help predict other predators’ behavior.
Investigators testified that they recovered hundreds of video tapes from a black garbage bag hidden in the back yard of the Garridos home. The tapes had been doused with corrosive acid, but officials recovered enough to learn that Nancy Garrido recorded children at playgrounds at the direction of her husband.
“The kind of information that’s in this case is potentially more valuable because it involves a somewhat atypical behavior,” said Ken Lanning, a Virginia-based consultant and former FBI agent who specializes in crimes against children.
Though similar cases are rare, Elizabeth Smart’s kidnapping followed a similar pattern, where a child was violently abducted, then incorporated into a family structure. Like Dugard, Smart’s abduction involved a female accomplice who helped control the victim even while her rapist was briefly behind bars for another crime.
“The primary attempt of this grooming is to get the child to do what you want without violence,” Lanning said.
Most assaults are completed in a few hours or, perhaps, days.
“If you’re going to keep this child for years, can you just stand there with a knife for the next 18 years? No,” Lanning said. “As time goes on, you have to begin to change your method of control.”
Although she longed for freedom, Dugard became convinced she did not have the means to escape.
“It was just very confining. I mean, we went places later on as a family but never by myself, and I wanted him to teach me how to drive and stuff. And that never came. I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “I couldn’t leave. I had the girls. I didn’t know where to go, what I would do for money or anything. I didn’t have anything.”
On the day the Garridos were arrested following Phillip Garrido’s decision to bring his entire family to a meeting with his parole officer, Dugard still was trying to act the part she’d been assigned. She told police her name was Allissa and became frantic when they threatened to take her children. Garrido had told them both Dugard and his daughters were nieces.
“I just looked at them and said, ‘They are my daughters, I gave birth to them. And he still didn’t believe me,” she said.
It was only after Garrido confessed under further questioning that he had kidnapped Allissa. A female officer came in to tell her and begged the scared young woman to reveal her real name.
“I said that I can’t because I haven’t said my name in 18 years,” she recalled. “I wrote it down. And then, I wrote down my mom’s name.”
[Source: The Associated Press]