Jaycee Dugard, who was kidnapped from South Lake Tahoe as a girl and held captive for 18 years, said the Ohio women found after apparently being held for a decade “need the opportunity to heal and connect back into the world.”
Dugard said in a statement that the apparent abuduction and imprisonment of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight “isn’t who they are. It is only what happened to them.”
“The human spirit is incredibly resilient,” Dugard said. “More than ever this reaffirms we should never give up hope.”
An 11-year-old Dugard was on her way to school in 1991 when convicted rapist Phillip Garrido and his wife, Nancy, shocked her with a stun gun, pulled her into their car and drove to Antioch. There, the girl was kept in a labyrinth of sheds, tents and tarps, and raped hundreds of times. She gave birth to two daughters.
In 2009, Garrido took the two girls to UC Berkeley to pass out fliers. A campus policewoman spotted the trio and thought their interactions were suspicious, sparking an investigation that ultimately led to Dugard’s rescue.
Two years later, the Garridos pleaded guilty to multiple charges of kidnapping and sexual assault. Phillip Garrido was sentenced to 431 years to life in prison. Nancy Garrido was sentenced to 36 years to life and cannot be paroled until she is in her 70s.
Monday’s discovery in Ohio recalled memories of the abduction of Dugard and Elizabeth Smart, the Salt Lake City teen kidnapped from her home in 2002 and discovered alive nine months later.
Ohio authorities say the three women -- Berry, DeJesus and Knight -- and Berry’s 6-year-old daughter were rescued Monday from a Cleveland home after Berry broke through a screen door and got the attention of neighbors.
The women were abducted separately about 10 years ago, and police believe they had been held captive since.
Three men have been arrested in connection with the case, police said.