SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 2 – Jaycee Lee Dugard formed a close bond with her kidnapper during her 18-year captivity, helping the rapist run a thriving business while giving no clue to her ordeal according to reports.
As police resumed a search of the California home of Phillip Garrido – who is accused of abducting Dugard in 1991 and holding her captive for nearly two decades – more details of the prisoner’s life began to emerge.
The San Francisco Chronicle quoted customers of Garrido’s specialty printing business as saying that they had believed Dugard, known to them as "Allissa," was the 58-year-old sex offender’s daughter.
Dugard, now 29, was described as a courteous and professional young woman who dealt with clients in telephone calls and emails while helping them place orders for business cards, flyers and posters, the Chronicle reported.
"(Garrido) told us up front he works with his daughter. He said Allissa did all of the graphic design and he did all of the printing," said JP Miller, who hired Garrido this month to help advertise his haulage company.
Miller told the paper he saw nothing to suggest that "Allissa" was in fact the 11-year-old schoolgirl who had been snatched from a street near her South Lake Tahoe home and who was later forced to bear two children to Garrido.
Another customer of Garrido who dealt with Dugard said he saw nothing out of the ordinary in the young woman.
"She was very professional, very polite, just like any other secretary or anyone you’d meet at a place of business," said Ben Daughdrill.
"If I was requesting something, he’d say he’d have his daughter send it over. He’d say, ‘I’ll get Allissa right on that.’ "
Experts say Dugard was likely to have suffered from Stockholm syndrome, a condition in which captors become sympathetic to their captors and say it is likely the woman will need years of treatment as she rebuilds her life.
Dugard’s stepfather Carl Probyn said Monday that Jaycee was slowly coming to terms with her ordeal after being reunited with her mother and her half-sister. "It’s a minute by minute thing," Probyn told ABC. "It’s going to take years."
Probyn revealed that Jaycee’s two children had finally been confronted with the truth about their father, Garrido.
"Jaycee had to explain to them, like two days ago, that she had been kidnapped. They didn’t even know that. They are upset about this because that’s their father and he’s in jail."
The FBI Special Agent heading the investigation, meanwhile, described an "emotional scene" when Dugard was reunited with her mother last week.
"Both of them were just overjoyed to be with each other again," agent Chris Campion said in an FBI podcast.
"There’s going to be a period of adjustment, no doubt, but they’re doing very well at this point. And the two daughters are probably as happy as Jaycee is to be part of this family as well."
Garrido and his wife Nancy, 54, were arrested last week and charged with 29 felony counts including rape, kidnapping and false imprisonment of Dugard.
Dugard was confined in a makeshift prison of sheds and tents in what police have described as a "backyard within a backyard" at Garrido’s home in Antioch, around 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of San Francisco.
Photographs of the secret compound appeared in British newspapers over the weekend showing a squalid network of living quarters strewn with junk.
Scores of police, helped by cadaver-sniffing dogs, combed Garrido’s backyard and a neighbor’s property on Sunday.
"I will confirm they are cadaver dogs. We’ll have them go through the backyard," Jimmy Lee, the Contra Costa sheriff, told reporters.
"Too early to say what we’re looking for," he said. "Anything that may be linked to some open cases that we have. At this point, we’re going thoroughly through both backyards. It’s just too early to say what we might come up with."
Police are looking into links between Garrido and a series of prostitute killings in the 1990s, as other bodies had been found close to where he worked, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Garrido’s ageing father meanwhile was quoted by the New York Post as saying he believed his son was guilty of the murders.
"He was a sex addict – that was his problem," Manuel Garrido, 87, told the Post. "I believe my son killed the prostitutes."