He and his wife deny kidnapping a little girl and keeping her as a sex slave for nearly two decades. But Phillip and Nancy Garrido are now also at the centre of a murder probe.
As the couple pleaded not guilty to more than two dozen charges in a Californian court, US police were searching their home for any evidence linked to a series of prostitute killings. For now though it is solely in connection with an abducted 11-year-old, now aged 29, that they stand accused. Authorities admit they failed to follow up an anonymous tip three years ago that could have led them to Jaycee Lee Dugard, believed to have been kept in tents and sheds in Garrido’s backyard. Contra Costa Sheriff Warren Rupf acknowledged: “This is not an acceptable outcome. Organisationally, we should have been more inquisitive, more curious and turned over a rock or two.” A neighbour had called police in 2006, saying Garrido was a “psychotic” with sexual addictions who had children living in tents. By that time, the kidnapped schoolgirl had two daughters, who Garrido, a convicted rapist, is accused of fathering with her. Some 18 years after she was snatched, Jaycee Lee – and her children – must now try somehow to rebuild their lives.