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UC Berkeley Officers' Alert Action Uncovers 18-Year Kidnap Victim

August 31, 2009  | 


University of California, Berkeley police officers Ally Jacobs (left) and Lisa Campbell have been credited with closing an 18-year-old kidnapping case. Photo via UC Berkeley news center.

The alert actions of two University of California, Berkeley police officers ensured the capture of kidnapping suspect Phillip Garrido and the uncovering of the whereabouts of 18-year kidnap victim Jaycee Lee Dugard.

The timeline of the steps the two officers took came into sharper focus following Garrido's arrest, as university leaders, law enforcement officials, and the media credited Lisa Campbell, the manager of special events, and Ally Jacobs, a campus police officer, with closing the 18-year-old case.

Authorities say Garrido raped and imprisoned Dugard for 18 years in a lot behind his Antioch, Calif., house, after he and wife Nancy, 55, kidnapped her in 1991 from a South Lake Tahoe neighborhood. The two allegedly dragged her into a car.

Campbell first encountered Garrido, 58, a week ago, when the paroled sex offender arrived at campus to ask if he could stage a religious event related to a group called God's Desire and hand out literature about schizophrenia.

"He had two little girls with him, and they didn't look right," said Campbell about her initial encounter with Garrido. He said the event would be "big and the government was involved," according to a university press release.

Campbell noticed the girls were "sullen and submissive," and made sure to get Garrido's name and schedule an appointment for 2 p.m. the following day.

"I was meticulous in how I treated him," she reportedly said. "I didn't want him to not come back the second day."

After sharing her suspicions with Jacobs, the second officer ran a background check on Garrido that revealed he was a registered sex offender on federal parole for kidnapping and rape. The two officers met with Garrido on Tuesday.

Something about the girls' demeanor felt "like 'Little House on the Prairie' meets cult with kids," according to the release. Jacobs, who has two small children, said "police intuition" blended with "mother's intuition."

The officers noticed Garrido's stiff body language and the girls' rehearsed answers. During the interview, Garrido volunteered that he had been convicted of kidnapping and rape.

The following day, Jacobs phoned Garrido's parole officer to discuss her concerns about the two girls. The parole officer's surprise and view that Garrido didn't have two daughters led to an interview between parolee and parole officer that led to the discovery of Dugard's true identity, the New York Times reports.

Garrido, who had been introducing Dugard as "Alissa," wasn't shy about bringing the girls out in pubic, introducing the 11-year-old as Angel and the 15-year-old as Starlet,  CNN reports.

The capture ended 18 years of Garrido eluding federal and county law enforcement agencies that were unable to locate Dugard, despite several close calls.

In 2006 and 2008, Contra Costa County sheriff's deputies visited Garrido's home, after neighbors complained about Garrido. Sheriff Warren Rupf has apologized to Dugard's family for his office's inability to recover their loved one.

FBI agents have also credited the campus police officers with a job well done. During the Aug. 28 "Inside the FBI" podcast, special agent Chris Campion acknowledged the contribution. The FBI had been unable to find the vehicle Garrido used to kidnap Dugard, Campion said.

"It's my understanding at this point that an officer at the University of California Police Department for U.C. Berkeley had contact with Mr. Garrido and he raised her attention level, and he was with two younger girls," according to a published transcript. "She determined that he was a sex offender, and that gets that sixth sense that law enforcement people sometime have that something wasn't right here, and she did the right thing. She called his parole officer, the parole officer did what he was supposed to do, got to the bottom of it, and the whole thing came out at that point."

With Garrido now in custody, authorities are also investigating whether he is connected to the deaths of as many as 10 women, some prostitutes, in Pittsburg, Calif., in the 1990s, the Daily Californian reports.

Tags: Campus Safety, Sex Crimes, Parolees, Kidnapping


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