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Lessons From The Dugard Abduction

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington.

The facts of the Jaycee Dugard case are appalling. We can't gloss over what's happened if we're to learn what went wrong here and what we can learn from it, but we do want to advise those of you with children nearby that some of what you may hear will be difficult. Last week, a convicted kidnapper and rapist named Phillip Garrido told police that he and his wife perpetrated a crime he himself described as disgusting. Eighteen years ago, they kidnapped 11 year old Jaycee Lee Dugard as she walked to a school bus stop in a quiet neighborhood in California.

They kept her imprisoned in a dismal backyard compound of tents and sheds, where she was held in isolation. She had two daughters by her alleged captor; the youngest is 11, the same age she was when she was abducted. Garrido and his wife face 29 felony charges. They've entered pleas of not guilty. The case is obviously unusual, maybe unique. But what went wrong here? Why did this take 18 years? Contra Costa Sheriff Warren Rupf admitted his department's failures in the case. We have yet to hear from parole officers. Some neighbors voiced suspicion, others didn't.

Today, lessons learned in the Dugard case. What is our role as citizens when we suspect a crime, especially one involving children where allegations can be explosive? 800 989 8255 is the phone number. Click on TALK OF THE NATION. And Clint, nice to have you back on TALK OF THE NATION.

Mr. CLINT VAN ZANDT (FBI Agent): Thank you, Neal. What went wrong here?

Mr. ZANDT: Well, kidnap investigations do, especially in the bureau's case, if we believe the victim was taken interstate and as, you know, in this case, she wasn't. In fact, she was held 170 miles from her home. The system broke down here, though, Neal. And when you look at where it broke down, it's you know, the police department, the sheriff's department, the FBI, the neighbors there are a lot of people, a lot of entities, a lot of agencies that could have done something about it. But, you know, there are 675,000 or so registered sex offenders in America, of which the alleged kidnapper is one.

Neal, there's only 685,000 police officers, and that's at all ranks and all levels. So if we assigned a police officer to every predator, we still couldn't keep track of every one of them that bear that title. I mean, I'm a suspect up until yesterday.

Mr. ZANDT: Well, I think the FBI had countered that, suggesting he was a suspect for a short period of time and they moved on. But in any kidnapping investigation, Neal, you always it's like a bull's eye target. If you can imagine that, that bull's eye right in the middle. That's ground zero. Ground zero is where the victim lived and who was around her: her parents, her husband, you know, his grandparents whatever it's going to be. And what investigators have to do, they start at that bull's eye, and they move out in concentric investigative circles.

But first of all, you have to eliminate those closest to the victim. In this case, the only one who saw the actual kidnapping was the stepfather. It's a terrible thing to say, well if you report it, you are our number one suspect. But you are a suspect until you can be eliminated. But realize, there's always a two track investigation, just like a set of railroad tracks. Track number one is, we have to look at those closest to the victim. Track number two says, we have to look at other, in this case, predators in the area. And of course, in the state of California, there are literally tens of thousands of registered sex offenders.

CONAN: And is it fair to say obviously not in this case, but in general is it fair to say that the majority of these cases involve people known to the victim?

Mr. ZANDT: Yes. And I think that's what's important here. There are probably 120 or so of these stereotypical kidnappings where the victim's taken away, kept for multiple days, perhaps murdered. The vast, vast majority of children who are offended against, it's somebody they know. It's somebody within the home. It's their mother's boyfriend. It's their father. It's a Boy Scout leader. It's a priest. But that the challenge right there is that the average child molester will molest 380 children in his life, perhaps.

A little that molester will molest 50 girls and up to 150 little boys. And you know, Neal, there was an offender in California a couple of years ago who was arrested. He kept meticulous records of 36,000 individual acts of molestation that he committed. So, even though we're looking today at this terrible kidnapping that lasted 18 years, what is important is these individual acts of molestation,rolex day date imitation, many times by somebody the victims knows.

CONAN: Police officers were in this man's house on more than one occasion.

Mr. BASTON: Yeah. And it was reported that there were children in the backyard, too. And police officers

CONAN: By one of the neighbors.

Mr. ZANDT: Yeah. And, you know, part of the challenge to me, Neal, is being a citizen, too. I mean, there just aren't enough police officers there. But I've heard people say where there was a 6 foot fence. If you think there is something going wrong, get an 8 foot ladder and look over the top of that fence. If law enforcement doesn't respond the first time, hit them again and make them come back,fake rolex day date womens, and make him do their job. It's terrible. You say, shouldn't they do it? Yes, they should. But if they don't, as citizens we have to be tenacious. We have to not say, you know, this is socially incorrect or it's not my business. The lives

Mr. ZANDT: of children is everybody's business.

CONAN: Well, you're making allegations against somebody. You could ruin that somebody's life if it turns out he's innocent.

Mr. ZANDT: No, you're not making allegations. You're saying there is something going on, and I want law enforcement to satisfy itself that what I saw, there's nothing negative. There is nothing wrong in what I saw or heard. I'm not making an allegation. I'm saying, this has to be investigated. All law enforcement would've had to do is go in the backyard. Now even though these tents and structures were concealed in the back half, there was a power cord running from the house into the woods. A very semi astute police officer or FBI agent could say, I wonder where that power cord goes? And you pick it up and you follow it, and where does it take you to.

CONAN: Our number: 800 989 8255. Ansel(ph) is on the line from San Francisco.

ANSEL (Caller): Yeah, hello Neal. Hi. It's I'm calling from San Francisco and in my freelance reporting, I was working with the Daily News last week, was actually onsite the day after the news broke. And I wanted to bring attention to the California Department of Corrections defending the parole officers in so far as, quote, they acted accordingly. This is they said well,rolex date just replica, Garrido was very deceptive. why didn't they walk the perimeter? Would they did see the lease agreement? What are they charged with doing?

And if that needs to be explained further. And why the Parole Office didn't receive the report from the Contra Costa Sheriff's Department, vis a vis a neighbor already called, a woman living next door, saying there are children in the backyard. So, we really haven't had the level of transparency from the state agencies.

CONAN: And that remains to be explained, Clint.

Mr. ZANDT: Yeah, it does. And the situation he's talking about, where a woman called the Sheriff's Office a deputy came out, Neal, and either wasn't told or didn't take the time to find out that the person he was talking to was a registered sex offender. If you're coming out there with allegations there are children in the yard making noise that aren't known to be there, and you find out that that person is a registered sex offender, that should set off all types of bells and whistles. So I think the criminal justice system, the parole officers, there is a lot of accountability to be shared in this situation.

CONAN: All right, Ansel, thank you very much.

CONAN: Bye bye. Ernie Allen is the president and CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He's also with us here in Studio 3A. Thanks very much for coming in today.

CONAN: And there is one aspect,rolex day date womens imitation, amid all of the terrible things about this case, there is one aspect of it that is hopeful. A kidnap after 18 years seems to have been resolved, and the victim is found alive.

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