A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard
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The following are a few statistics regarding child abduction and kidnapping in the United States:
- According to FBI statistics, the number of reported missing persons has increased 468% from 154,341 in 1982 to 876,213 in 2000.
- Of those reported missing in 2000, 85% to 90% were children under the age of 18.
- The Vanished Children’s Alliance reported that a child disappears or is kidnapped every 40 seconds.
A Stolen Life Journal
In 1991, Jaycee Dugard, age 11, was kidnapped by Phillip and Nancy Garrido and kept a prisoner in their backyard for the next eighteen years. Garrido, a convicted rapist and kidnapper, was on parole when he abducted Jaycee. She was physically abused and sexually abused over the years and gave birth to two children fathered by Garrido. With just a fifth grade education, Jaycee not only secreted a diary of her life, but schooled her children in the hovel in the backyard.
It is shocking that the Garridos were frequently visited by parole officers over the years of Jaycee’s imprisonment, but never found anything amiss. After Jaycee’s return, the state of California settled for $20 million dollars on a complaint that parole officers had provided inadequate monitoring of Garrido.
The Survival of Jaycee Dugard
A Stolen Life, the story of those years, was authored and written by Jaycee herself with the use of the diary which she kept throughout the years. It puts into perspective how someone can live under such conditions without attempting to flee, and how one could become aligned with one’s abductor. It also shows how the human spirit can endure long after it seems it cannot. Jaycee’s question, “What would you do to survive?” is one we wish we may never have to answer.