ANTIOCH — For 18 years, since two strangers snatched 11-year-old Jaycee Lee Dugard off the street in the morning light as her stepfather watched in disbelief, she has dwelled in a hidden backyard, raising two girls fathered by one of her abductors, authorities said.
It appears Dugard, now 29, may never have left the 2-acre property in Antioch after her abduction, which occured as she walked to a bus stop near her South Lake Tahoe home.
It was not until recently that her two daughters, ages 11 and 15, were noticed by neighbors and then police when Phillip Garrido took them to pass out religious literature Tuesday on the campus of UC Berkeley.
The details authorities revealed Thursday drew a mix of joy that Dugard remains alive, and shock at her fate since 1991.
She and the girls lived on Walnut Avenue, in an elaborate backyard compound of sheds, tents and outbuildings with outside locks — one soundproofed. Hidden behind a fence, trees and tarps, they were undetectable even to the parole agents charged with checking on Garrido, a registered sex offender, authorities said.
They had rudimentary, camp-like bath facilities. Power was supplied by electrical cord.
"None of the children had ever gone to school or been to a doctor," said El Dorado County Undersheriff Fred Kollar, who fought back tears as he announced the discovery. "They were kept in complete isolation."
Cheyvonne Molino said she started seeing the girls this summer when their father brought them by the Molinos' auto wrecking yard when doing printing business for them.
"I don't think they realized anything was wrong or different except they didn't go to schools with other kids," said Molino, who was told that the girls were home-schooled, described them as "very shy" and said the older one was "very clingy to her father."
Garrido told Molino that he brought the girls to visit with her teenage daughter "so they would have someone else to talk to," she said.
Garrido and the two girls caught the attention of a UC Berkeley police officer as they tried to enter campus Tuesday, Kollar said. A background check turned up his status as a parolee for a 1971 kidnap and rape conviction in Nevada.
Dugard resurfaced Wednesday, when she accompanied Garrido and his wife, Nancy, and the two girls to a parole interview, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
She went by "Allissa," then revealed her identity under police questioning. Kollar described Dugard as "relatively cooperative."
Authorities are now seeking DNA confirmation.
Garrido "eventually admitted to the abduction of Jaycee Dugard," said corrections department Undersecretary Scott Kernan.
Police arrested Garrido on suspicion of conspiracy, kidnapping, rape, lewd acts with a minor and sexual penetration. His wife, Nancy, was booked on suspicion of conspiracy and kidnapping. Both were held on $1 million bail at County Jail in Martinez until El Dorado sheriff's investigators took custody of them Thursday morning. They are expected to be charged today in El Dorado County.
Assistant District Attorney Bill Clark said the charges will likely include abduction and molestation, since Garrido fathered the girls when Dugard was young.
Dugard and her mother, Terry Probyn, were reunited Thursday morning in Contra Costa County, authorities said.
The stepfather, Carl Probyn, told Bay Area News Group that he got a call from his wife shortly after she got the news of Dugard's reappearance.
"She said, 'They found Jaycee. She's alive,'" he said. "We cried for about two minutes."
An FBI agent called Terry Probyn and put her on the phone with Jaycee, Carl Probyn said. "She believes it was her," Carl Probyn said. "She said Jaycee remembers everything."
Garrido, 58, is a registered sex offender with a religious-themed blog that reveals a fascination with mind control. Kollar said his wife matches the description of a woman seen in the car that swept up the 11-year-old in her pink Windbreaker and white sneakers.
The couple's Antioch-area home was searched Thursday by FBI agents and El Dorado County investigators. Authorities declined to say whether Garrido's name ever surfaced during a months-long search for Dugard.
Whether she was held captive, or a victim of Stockholm syndrome, may take years to know, authorities said. Stockholm syndrome is a behavior sometimes found in kidnapping cases where abductees becomes loyal to their kidnappers.
"All I know is there are no known attempts by her to outreach to anybody," said Kollar. "It's way too early to conjecture on her part. She was in good health, but living in a backyard for 18 years takes its toll."
The case was investigated for more than 10 years, but has remained largely dormant lately. National talk shows such as "Geraldo" intermittently brought attention back to the disappearance.
The California corrections department said Garrido was paroled in June 1999 from a Nevada prison, and transferred to the custody of California parole agents. He had reregistered as a sex offender every year, said Jimmy Lee, spokesman for the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office. His parole did not prohibit him from being near young children.
Clark, the El Dorado County prosecutor, said the discovery brought mixed feelings.
"People feel good about it, but there's another side of it. She's lived a whole other life," he said. "(Probyn) was the mother of an 11-year-old and never got her back. Now she's got grandkids."
Staff writers Malaika Fraley, Jonathan Lockett and Paul Burgarino contributed to this story. Robert Salonga covers public safety. Reach him at 925-943-8013. Follow him on Twitter: @robertsalonga.