Jaycee Dugard Interview: Flourishing After 18 Year Long Kidnapping

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Dugard coped with the manipulation by keeping journals, writing stories and dreams that allowed her to imagine herself in a life outside of the compound.

While the Garridos stripped her of her innocence, they could not strip her of her imagination.

She would come up with stories about the tree outside the window, she named the spider in her room, she wrote in her journals about falling in love one day, riding in a hot air balloon, being a veterinarian.

Throughout her captivity, she would take care of several cats and other animals.

When she became a mother, she turned a corner of the compound into a school for part of the day.

She remembered how she used to play school as a little girl, but now she was responsible for actually educating two little girls.

She made a regimen of classes during the day with worksheets and lessons she found online.

She mothered her girls even though the Garridos forbid the children from calling Dugard "mom."

Nancy Garrido, jealous of Dugard, required that the children call her "mom."

Even with access to the computer, Dugard said she never searched for her mother or for news accounts of her kidnapping.

She was scared to because of the Garridos' manipulation.

The Rescue and the Future

Dugard and her daughters would be rescued in August 2009 after an increasingly paranoid and delusional Phillip Garrido alarmed two campus police officers, Ally Jacobs and Lisa Campbell.

He'd shown up on the University of California, Berkeley, campus with the two daughters he'd fathered with Dugard.

The campus officers, both moms, did something nobody else had done.

They saw a man haranguing and they talked to him, engaged him and then acted on their suspicion.

A background check revealed he was a convicted sex offender.

When they called his parole officer to ask about his two daughters, the parole officer didn't even know that Phillip Garrido had children.

Over the 18 years Jaycee Dugard was in captivity, parole officers had visited the home at least 60 times and never reported anything amiss.

Phillip Garrido was called to a meeting with his parole officer on Aug. 26, 2009. He brought his wife, Dugard and the two girls.

At first, Dugard lied for Garrido, still under the spell. She eventually confessed who she was by writing her real name down.

In her memoir, she says that writing her name was like an extinguished flame reigniting.

"The light came back…it was very dark for so long…but that light finally came back on," she said.

Dugard is savoring her freedom and planning for the future.

"I would like to study writing, you know? Really, because I love words and I love mythology…the way metaphors work and how [you] can see things differently with words," she said. "It helped me get through a lot of days, my imagination."

Dugard wants her book, her story to help people realize there is a way to triumph over tragedy and survive. And for her captors, both locked away in prison, she has a message.

"[You] can't steal anything else," she said.

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