Authorities release videos taken by Dugard captors
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Officers' repeated visits to the home of a sex offender even as he held Jaycee Lee Dugard captive in his backyard are a concern and embarrassment for California parole officials. Now, a newly released video is adding salt to the wound.
The videos recorded by Dugard's abductors, Phillip and Nancy Garrido, also provide chilling details about the two and their outings to stealthily shoot footage of young girls frolicking.
The video of a parole officer's visit shows yet again how the state botched chances to find Dugard as she was kept hidden for 18 years in the backyard of the couple's Antioch home.
Throughout the years, parole officers had paid dozens of visits to the home to check on Phillip Garrido and give him drug tests, but none of the officials reported any irregularities.
Three video clips were among several pieces of evidence released Tuesday by El Dorado County prosecutors "to highlight the gravity and severity of the mistakes made," and to improve the supervision and detection of sexual predators.
The footage was recovered from videotapes found in trash in the Garridos' backyard. They had apparently tried to destroy many of the tapes with chemicals.
But investigators, with the help of NASA technicians, were able to recover footage from the damaged tapes. Still photos of the partially destroyed tapes were included in the released evidence.
"The criminal justice system had some significant failures," District Attorney Vern Pierson told The Associated Press. "It's important to reevaluate what has happened and look at what has changed since then and ask if there's more that needs to be done."
One of the videos, taken sometime between 1989 and 1993, shows Phillip Garrido playing a guitar and singing while sitting against a tree at a park.
His wife and accomplice Nancy Garrido is behind the camera and appears to be pretending to record him, though the focus is on the children behind him.
"What you need to do, you need to make it look like you're pointing at me," Phillip Garrido is heard saying. "Further you are away from me, they can't tell exactly where it's pointed."
As he plays guitar, he is heard asking, "You got me real good?"
"Yes, I can see you really good!" replies a woman's voice, as the camera zooms in on a girl in a red tank top swinging on a bar on a play structure.
Another clip taken around the same time features close-ups of girls' legs as they stand in a parking lot.
Phillip Garrido is heard asking on the tape: "You think anybody can see me?"
Other footage shows a parole officer following Phillip Garrido through his Antioch home during a routine search done under terms of his parole after a 1976 rape and kidnapping conviction.
The video, first aired Sunday by ABC News, was taken by Nancy Garrido between 2000 and 2007.
It shows the parole officer searching rooms of the house but never looking in the backyard, where Dugard was being held with her two daughters fathered by Phillip Garrido after she was kidnapped in South Lake Tahoe in 1991.
Officials blurred the parole officer's face before releasing the images.
"So right now, it's just you, your wife and your mother in here?" the parole agent asks Phillip Garrido. His response is not clear, but the officer can he heard saying, "OK."
Phillip Garrido later confronts the officer as he leaves the home.
"I don't understand. I'm doing everything I'm supposed to do," Garrido says. "No one's ever talked to me like this."
Phillip Garrido was sentenced last month to 431 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to kidnapping and rape in the Dugard case. Nancy Garrido was sentenced to 36 years to life after pleading guilty to similar charges.
Other released evidence includes several pages of federal parole documents, a 1972 booking photo of Phillip Garrido, and a photo of a handwritten note with Dugard's name, which she wrote down when she was discovered by parole officers in 2009.
A report by a federal judge found that parole agents failed to properly monitor Garrido and to stop his crimes against Dugard.
"Had Mr. Garrido's federal supervision been conducted properly from the onset, it is possible that he may have been deterred from some of the acts now attributed to him," Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware wrote in the 43-page report based on a review conducted last year by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.
State lawmakers and law enforcement officials plan to hold a public meeting at the state Capitol on Aug. 3 to discuss weaknesses in California's parole system and ways to improve it.
Dugard already has received a $20 million settlement under which the state acknowledged repeated mistakes were made by parole agents responsible for monitoring Phillip Garrido.
Dugard — whose memoir, "A Stolen Life," was released the same day as the videos — told ABC News she had even talked to an agent during one home visit.
"He made me feel like he didn't really care," she said.
Dugard was reunited with her family in August 2009 after her whereabouts was discovered during a meeting with a parole agent who had summoned Phillip Garrido to his office.
The meeting came after two University of California, Berkeley police employees grew suspicious when Garrido showed up at the campus with the two girls he fathered with Dugard and asked for a permit to hold a religious event.