Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

UC Berkeley police say girls' demeanor, appearance raised suspicions about Phillip Garrido

August 28, 2009 |  5:00 pm

Two UC Berkeley police employees whose work led to the capture of suspected kidnapper Phillip Garrido said today that they sensed something was wrong because of the way his daughters appeared and acted: Both were extremely pale and robotic.

Garrido and his wife, Nancy, were arrested Wednesday in the kidnapping 18 years ago of Jaycee Lee Dugard, who was snatched from her South Lake Tahoe neighborhood when she was 11. Dugard was kept captive in Garrido’s compound in Antioch and bore him two daughters, 11 and 15.

Garrido brought the girls to campus on Monday to ask for permission to hold an event he called “God’s Desire,” Lisa Campbell, manager of special events for the university's Police Department, said at a news conference this afternoon. She said Garrido was “clearly unstable,” frenetic and rambling as he tried to explain the purpose of the event.

But what Campbell said struck her the most was the demeanor of the two girls with him. School had started but they were not in school. Their skin was pasty at the end of summer. The elder girl refused to look at Campbell, staring skyward.

Campbell made an appointment to return the next day and alerted UC Police Officer Ally Jacobs.

"I just got a really bad feeling about it," Jacobs recalled Campbell saying.

Jacobs learned from a computer check that Garrido was a paroled sex offender. When Garrido returned the next day, Jacobs joined Campbell in the meeting.

Jacobs said they tried to keep the atmosphere “really mellow.”

“We really didn’t know what we had,” Jacobs said.

The girls, both blond with penetrating blue eyes that matched Garrido’s, wore drab dresses, she said.

The younger girl smiled continuously and the older girl appeared nervous whenever her sister spoke, Jacobs said. When asked if they went to school, the girls answered in unison that they were home-schooled.

The younger daughter mentioned they had an older sister, 28, also at home. The older girl appeared disturbed by that disclosure and then corrected that their sister was 29.

After they left, Jacobs called Garrido’s parole officer -- a call that led to Garrido’s capture and freedom for Dugard.

-- Maura Dolan in Berkeley, Calif.