Jaycee Dugard and Other Amazing Survivors of the Past Year

Survivors of 2009

The past year has had its heros, its villains, its classless celebs, as well as enough drama, violence and mystery to wow a reality show producer.

But it has also had a unique class of amazing survivors, people who have been victimized by unimaginable horrors that left them mutilated, defiled, or abused beyond what many people believe is endurable.

What makes these people remarkable isn't the fact that they were among the unfortunate of the past 12 months, but that they have endured and done it with remarkable toughness, grace and optimism.

The news in the year 2010 will bring a whole new cast of villains and heros. And unfortunately there will also be victims, people who are caught in the crossfire of cops and crooks, who are the collateral damage of peoples' greed, fury or jealousy.

Life After Captivity

The future victims -- and those who have suffered much more minor setbacks -- have amazingly resilient role models to look up to in these six people:


After 18 years in captivity, Jaycee Dugard will celebrate the new year as a free woman for the first time in her adult life. The discovery in August that Dugard, kidnapped at age 11, was alive when so many had given up hope shocked her family and the California community where she was kept hidden.

Dugard and her two daughters fathered by alleged kidnapper Phillip Garrido have been living in seclusion with her mother, Terry Probyn, in northern California since Garrido's ruse was uncovered with the help of police and parole agents.

Jaycee Dugard

A spokeswoman for Dugard and her family told ABCNews.com recently that she was very excited about spending the first Christmas and New Years in nearly two decades with her family, but that details of the celebration would be kept private.

Now 29, Dugard spends her days riding her beloved horses and bonding with the family she left behind, including her 19-year-old half-sister who was just an infant when Dugard was abducted near her school bus stop.

Her daughters have reportedly tested at their appropriate grade level, a testament, her family has said, to Dugard's intelligence despite having only a sixth grade education herself.

Lawyers for Dugard have said she intends to testify at the trials of Garrido, a registered sex offender, and his wife, Nancy Garrido. The two are accused of hiding Dugard and her daughters, now 11 and 15, in a backyard lair of sheds and tents that were wired for electricity and computers.


The 911 call, when it came in February, seemed too bizarre to be real. A 200 pound pet chimpanzee was going berserk and attacking a woman in Stamford, Conn. The chimp's owner, Sandra Herold, screamed into the phone "he's ripping her apart" as the chimp named Travis could be heard shrieking in the background.

Charla Nash, 56, survived the assault, but her injuries were severe and life altering. Travis bit off both of Nash's hands and mauled her face. Nash lost her eyelids, nose and lips in the attack and a large portion of her scalp is also gone.

For months, Nash was fed via a syringe inserted in an opening where her mouth used to be. Doctors have also had to remove her eyes because of the fear of infection. Nash was transferred to the Cleveland Clinic right after the assault and remains there 11 months later.

But recently Nash sat down with Oprah Winfrey and gave a tutorial on fortitude and forgiveness.

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