Agents missed chances to rescue Dugard

November 4, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
State officials release a scathing report about the supervision of a convicted rapist now accused of kidnapping an 11-year-old girl and holding her hostage for 18 years.

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The review blasts the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The report says parole agents "failed to supervise" Phillip Garrido properly during the 18 years Jaycee Dugard was held at his Antioch home and "missed numerous opportunities" to discover his victims.

The first mistake the Parole Department made was in not classifying Garrido as "High-Risk" even though he had a prior rape and kidnapping conviction. Instead, they classified him as "Minimum-Risk," setting the tone for many, many mistakes to come.

"Our review disclosed that during the 10-year period that California supervised Phillip Garrido, the department often failed to follow its own procedures established to supervise dangerous sex offenders," California Inspector General David Shaw said Wednesday."

Shaw said there were systemic problems in the state parole system that transcended Garrido's case and that they jeopardize the safety of the public. Garrido's former neighbors say the report's conclusion is troubling.

"It's scary. It's completely scary," said Mary Brown.

"They should have came out and they should've actually done an investigation, even if they went into the neighbor's yard and looked over the fence," Betty Unpingo told ABC7.

Garrido served time in federal and Nevada State prisons for a prior kidnap rape conviction in 1977. In 1988, he became a federal parolee. Jaycee Dugard's kidnapping occurred during that time. Garrido was turned over to California parole authorities 10 years ago because he was living in Antioch.

The report says there were numerous clues over the years that parole agents and law enforcement should have detected, such as neighbors' reports of suspicious activity in Garrido's home.

The missed opportunities included: his parole agent failing to investigate clearly-visible utility wires running from Garrido's house to the concealed backyard compound where Dugard and her two daughters were hidden; failing to investigate the presence of a 12-year-old girl during a home visit; not talking to neighbors or local public safety agencies; and failing to act on information that clearly showed Garrido had violated his parole.

The report also said parole agents did not properly monitor Garrido's GPS device. Shaw cited the month between this July and August.

"Almost every night Garrido's GPS signal was lost for significant periods of time, typically nine hours. And agents took no action," Shaw said.

Matthew Cate, the head of the State Corrections Department responded, "We agree that serious errors were made over the last 10 years. We obviously deeply regret any error that could've possibly resulted in the victims living in these conditions for even one additional day.

Predictably, Shaw is recommending tougher regulations to supervise parolees, specifically, better training for parole agents, better lines of communication with other agencies, and a better GPS monitoring system.

"We determined that Garrido was only properly supervised 12 out of the 123 months it supervised him. A failure rate of about 90 percent," Shaw said.

Also from this report, new details are emerging about kidnap victim Jaycee. When authorities questioned her for the first time this summer, she was agitated and defensive and lied to protect her abductor.

It says she knew Garrido was a sex offender, but told investigators he was "A changed man and a great person who was good with her kids." Starlet and Angel are daughters police say Garrido fathered by raping her.

Jaycee told authorities she was from Minnesota and was in hiding from an abusive husband. That's why didn't have identification.

LINK: Inspector general's report on the Garrido case

Jaycee Dugard Trust Fund
Checks only to:
Jaycee Dugard Trust Fund
c/o Viewtech Financial Services
P.O. Box 596
Atwood, CA 92811

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