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California Official Admits Failure in Jaycee Dugard Case

Neighbor reported girl named Jaycee living on Garrido property in 1991.

ByABC News via logo
November 4, 2009, 2:20 PM

Nov. 5, 2009— -- The corrections department official who was slammed in a California state report for failing to properly supervise Jaycee Dugard's accused kidnapper said today his parole agent's workload restricted him to spending only 45 minutes a week on each of his cases.

"Mistakes were made by the department and by this agent," Matthew Cate, secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, told "Good Morning America" today. "Our focus, though, is to make sure each agent has more time in that 45 minutes to focus on GPS tracks."

The scathing report, released Wednesday by the California Office of the Inspector General, said Phillip Garrido's parole officers missed several chances to rescue the now 29-year-old Dugard and the two daughters fathered by the registered sex offender.

Garrido was outfitted with GPS monitoring, according to the report, but parole agents ignored 335 alerts that his device had lost its signal, which Cate blamed on the location of his house and poor reception. Other signals showed Garrido was spending a considerable amount of time in his backyard.

The report also noted that Garrido was paid 60 visits by parole agents in a 10-year period. Even where there were obvious clues that something was amiss in the Garrido household, there was no follow-up.

A neighbor in 1991 -- the year of the kidnapping -- reported seeing a young blond girl in the backyard who said her name was Jaycee. And in 2008 a parole office found a young girl in Garrido's house, a direct violation of his parole, but did nothing.

And Garrido, a man with a violent history of rape and kidnapping, was considered a minimum-level offender when authorities now say he should have been classified as a highly dangerous predator.

California Inspector General David Shaw said his department's review found that Garrido was properly supervised for 12 out of the 123 months he was under California's jurisdiction, a failure rate of 90 percent.

Dugard was found in August, 18 years after her 1991 kidnapping. She was rescued after Garrido, 58, took her two daughters to hand out religious material at the UC Berkeley campus, tipping off two police employees there.

A background check showed that Garrido was a registered sex offender and his nearly two-decades-old crime unraveled when he showed up at a meeting with his parole officer with Dugard and the two girls in tow.

Cate admitted today that if it hadn't been for the UC Berkeley employees, it is "very possible" that Dugard and her daughters would still be in the Garridos' backyard.

Dugard initially protected Garrido when confronted by authorities the day she was rescued, telling them that he was a good man and that she was from Minnesota, hiding from an abusive husband, according to the report.

Dugard and her family did not comment on the specifics of the report but issued a statement on the overall findings.

"The inspector general's report clearly sets out many missed opportunities to bring a much earlier end to the nightmares of Jaycee Dugard and her family," a family spokesperson, who asked not to be identified, told today, reading from a statement. "We expect that the appropriate authorities will take the necessary action to ensure this never happens again. In addition, Jaycee is fully committed to holding Mr. Garrido accountable for the crimes he has committed."

Garrido and his wife, Nancy, have been charged on 28 counts, including rape and kidnapping. They have pleaded not guilty. Garrido's bond has been set at $30 million.