Parole Agents Should Have Found Jaycee Dugard, Report Says

State review found multiple counts of failure with respect to Garrido case.

November 4, 2009, 2:20 PM

Nov. 4, 2009— -- California parole officers failed to properly supervise the man accused of holding Jaycee Dugard captive for 18 years and missed numerous opportunities to free her, according to a scathing report released today by the Office of the Inspector General.

A monthslong investigation headed by California Inspector General David R. Shaw turned up more than a dozen failures on the part of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which had been assigned to supervise Phillip Garrido, a registered sex offender, for the last 10 years.

"Our review shows that Garrido committed numerous parole violations and that the department failed to properly supervise Garrido and missed numerous opportunities to discover his victims," the report read.

Among the departments shortcomings in the Garrido case:

The CDCR took charge of Garrido's supervision in 1999 after he was released from federal supervision. Garrido was convicted in the 1970s of raping and kidnapping a California woman.

In a letter to Shaw, CDCR Secretary Matthew Cates said he agreed that the state needed to improve its parole system and had plans to uprade to a risk-base system that will ensure the most dangerous predators get the closest supervision.

"We regret," he wrote, "he was not caught sooner."

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

A background checked 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.

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

Report: Parole System Jeopardizes Public Safety

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

The report also noted several general shortcomings in the system that "transcend parolee Garrido's case and jeopardize public safety."

Recommendations include more training on search techniques to look for clues for potential parole violations or criminal behavior and contacting neighbors for information on parolee behavior.

Shortly after Garrido was arrested in connection with Dugard's rape and kidnapping, a CDCR official hailed the parole agents who had been assigned to Garrido's case, saying that Garrido had complied with his parole conditions and never received a violation.

But the report indicated that while Garrido had never been issued a formal violation from the state of California, he actually committed several violations in the last several years. The report did not list those specific violations.

The state began investigating the handling of Garrido's supervision "almost immediately" after Dugard was found, Shaw told in September. Shaw said it is believed that Garrido had five or six parole supervisors assigned by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation over the past 10 years.

The investigation, he said in September, was to see if there had been any misconduct on the part of a state employee and to determine whether improvements could be made to prevent a similar situation from ocurring again.

State parole officers and police are known to have paid Garrido and his wife Nancy visits to their Antioch, Calif., home. As recently as 2006, an officer with the Contra Costa Sheriff's Office was called to the house on a complaint from a neighbor that there were people living in the backyard.

The officer met with Garrido in his front yard, determined there was no threat and left.

At a press conference in August, Sheriff Warren Rupf took responsibility for the incident and noted that they were not aware of Garrido's sex offender status.

"He did not enter or request to enter the backyard. This is not an acceptable outcome. Organizationally, we should have been more inquisitive, more curious and turned over a rock or two," he said at the time. "I cannot change the course of events. But we are beating ourselves up over this and will continue to do so."

CDCR spokesman Gordon Hinkle said the 2006 incident was cause in itself for review of communications between the state and local jurisdictions. Garrido's parole officer at the time was never notified of the complaint.

In the weeks after the Garridos' arrest, much of the blame seemed to rest on manpower: Overwhelmed police officers and parole officers who have dozens or hundreds of felons to check on in a state that has been besieged by budget shortfalls.

Hinkle said parole officers are assigned to sex offenders on a 40 to 1 ratio statewide, unless the offender has been designated as a "sexually violent" predator, in which case the ratio shrinks to 20 to 1.

Garrido, he said, was not classified as a sexually violent predator.

In addition to the Garrido case, the supervision of sex offenders has come under fire in other states recently, most notably in the case of Cleveland predator Anthony Sowell, a registered sex offender who was charged with murder Saturday. Authorities have so far found 10 bodies hidden in his home.

Sex offenders were also at the forefront of the search for whoever kidnapped and murdered 7-year-old Somer Thompson in northern Florida last months. No arrests have been made in her death.

Jaycee Dugard Relishing Reunion With Family

Dugard, now 29, and her daughters, 11 and 15, have been living with her mother and half-sister in an undisclosed location in northern California since they were reunited. A recent People magazine photo shoot portrayed the young woman, whose hair has darkened from blonde to light brown, smiling with her family and happily riding horses.

Dugard was 11 years old when she was snatched off the street near her school bus stop in South Lake Tahoe, Calif. Her step-father, Carl Probyn, heard her screams and chased the car down the street on a bicycle to no avail.

A grey Ford later impounded from Garrido's property matched the description Probyn gave to authorities after Dugard was abducted.

Garrido has also been considered a potential suspect in the disappearances of 9-year-old Michaela Garecht in 1988 and 11-year-old Ilene Misheloff in 1989. Both girls vanished within close proximity of where Garrido was living at the time and in a similiar fashion as the Dugard abduction. Michaela was taken in broad daylight in front of a friend.

Searches of the Garridos' property once the Dugard investigators moved out turned up several pieces of bone fragment, but tests later revealed they were too old to have been connected to the disappearance of either girl.

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