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Sex offender's neighborhood searched as woman kidnapped 18 years ago emerges [Updated]

August 27, 2009 | 12:22 pm

FBI A 29-year-old woman abducted from South Lake Tahoe, Calif., as a child 18 years ago has been found, and a man and woman have been arrested in connection with the case, authorities said today.

Dugard2 After speaking with police hours earlier on an unrelated matter, Jaycee Dugard walked into the office of the Concord, Calif., Police Department on Wednesday, about 200 miles from where she was abducted, Lt. Les Lovell of the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department told The Times.

[Updated, 12:30 p.m.: Authorities arrested Phillip Garrido, a registered sex offender, and his wife, Nancy Garrido of Antioch on Wednesday night in connection with the case, said Jimmy Lee, spokesperson for the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department.  

Garrido, 58, is listed on the state's Megan's Law sex offender website as being convicted of rape.

Concord police officers first encountered Dugard at a nearby house on Wednesday while they were conducting a separate investigation, Lovell said. Police began to question the woman and something didn’t add up, he said.
"Based on really good police work, the Concord police smelled a rat," Lovell said. Police continued to press the woman, and she eventually revealed her name was Jaycee Dugard.
Officers asked her to come to the Police Department for further investigation and Dugard cooperated, Lovell said. 

Police are awaiting the results of a DNA test to confirm Dugard's identity, he said. 

Dugard's mother, Terry Probyn, has been in contact with her daughter, Lovell said. "They have discussed things that only the two of them would know," Lovell said. "We are about 99% sure the woman is her."

Lovell was one of he original investigators assigned to the Dugard case. "It's a great feeling that she is alive," he said. "We followed up on hundreds, if not thousands, of leads. And out of the blue, this one came to us yesterday."]

Details about the last 18 years of Dugard's life are still unclear.

Dugard was 11 when she was abducted on June 10, 1991, as she walked to a school bus stop on a quiet cul-de-sac in Meyers, Calif., in El Dorado County, authorities said at the time.

As Dugard's stepfather, Carl Probyn, watched from the family garage 200 yards away, a late-model gray car -- with a man and a second person, believed to be a woman, inside -- stopped abruptly in front of the girl. Jaycee was swept into the sedan, authorities said.

Probyn gave chase on a bicycle but the car sped off. "There was nothing I could do," he recalled.

Despite a massive search, local outrage and being featured on the "America's Most Wanted" television program, Dugard was not found. Investigators were unable to identify a suspect.

[Updated at 12:50 p.m.: Carl Probyn, Dugard's stepfather, was calling friends with the news that his stepdaughter had been found, said Phillip Oster, a close friend of 15 years.

"This is a really big event in his life," Oster said. "A mutual friend called me and said that Carl was crying like a little baby. He was so happy."

Probyn, who owns his own wallpaper company, has been living in Orange. Oster said Probyn left him a message last night, sounding happy but serious about the news.

Oster said Probyn didn't always talk about his stepdaugher's abduction. "He didn't wear it on his sleeve but it was something that dented him," Oster said.]

-- My-Thuan Tran

Photos: An unidentified FBI agent enters a home in Antioch, Calif. The home was being searched by FBI agents and El Dorado County Sheriff's officers and is believed to be connected to the disappearance of Jaycee Lee Dugard, who was abducted outside her Lake Tahoe-area home in 1991; credit: Noah Berger / Associated Press

An undated photo of Jaycee Lee Dugard provided by her stepfather, William Carl Probyn.