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Jaycee Dugard speaks about 18 years as a sex slave

As 14-year-old Jaycee Dugard struggled in a crude backyard shed to deliver her baby daughter, the serial predator who had abducted and raped her stepped in to unwrap the umbilical cord that trapped the infant.

“She was beautiful,” Dugard said of the child she birthed three years into her captivity in Northern California. “I felt like I wasn’t alone anymore. I knew I could never let anything happen to her.”

In an exclusive interview with Diane Sawyer broadcast Sunday on ABC, Dugard, displaying remarkable poise and smiling often, provided chilling details about the 18-year ordeal she endured at the hands of her captors, an increasingly deranged parolee named Phillip Garrido and his wife, Nancy, who aided the abduction and condoned his rapes.

Dugard’s memoir, “A Stolen Life,” to be released Tuesday, tells how the Garridos informed her she was pregnant when she was 13. At the time, she knew she was putting on weight and waddling, but she didn’t know why.

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A naive, toothy-grinned blond when she was taken captive at age 11 in 1991, Dugard is now 31 with brown, shoulder-length hair and impossibly young skin — the result, she said, of years spent with little exposure to the sun. Around her neck she wears a pine cone on a chain.

A pine cone, she told Sawyer, was the last thing she grabbed after Phillip Garrido shocked her with a stun gun and Nancy Garrido dragged her into the car as she walked toward the school bus on the street in front of her South Lake Tahoe home.

Phillip Garrido handcuffed her and raped her repeatedly, she said. She learned the link between sex and pregnancy by watching TV. She gave birth to two daughters and kept them in the hidden compound of sheds and tarpaulins, teaching them math and history despite her own limited education, until she was found in 2009.

Early on, her only companion was a spider she called Bianca. “I would live in my own world,” she said. “Physical abuse was all I knew.”

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The Garridos pleaded guilty in April to kidnapping, raping and confining Dugard in their hidden backyard encampment and were sentenced last month to long prison terms. The plea deal spared the victim from having to testify. During the trial, it was revealed that parole officials repeatedly visited the Garridos’ Antioch home but never ventured into the backyard, where they might have found Dugard, despite alerts by neighbors.

Phillip Garrido, 60, who was on parole for rape when he and his wife kidnapped Dugard, was sentenced to 431 years to life in prison. Nancy Garrido, 55, was sentenced to 36 years to life and cannot be paroled until she is in her 70s.

Throughout her ordeal, Dugard said, she thought always of her mother, Terry Probyn, who unbeknownst to Jaycee had launched a ferocious search for her child. At the Garridos’ insistence, the captive Dugard denied her own name, coming up instead with an alias, Alyssa.

Why didn’t she run? Sawyer asked repeatedly.

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“It wasn’t something I felt I could do,” Dugard said. “There was no leaving.”

In a defiant statement read by her mother during the emotional sentencing hearing, Dugard said the man who kidnapped her, held her as a sex slave and fathered her two children “stole my life.”

When Dugard finally wrote down for police the name she had not used for 18 years, “it was like breaking an evil spell,” she said. “It was like a piece of me came back.” Officers told her: “You can see your mom now.” Dugard told her mother by phone: “Come quick.” “I’m coming,” her mother replied.

martha.groves@latimes.com

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