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Jaycee Lee Dugard and Two Children Kept in Suburban Backyard: Why Didn't Anyone Know?

(AP Photo/El Dorado County Sheriffs)
Mug shots of Phillip and Nancy Garrido.

PLACERVILLE, Calif. (CBS/AP) News that Phillip Garrido, a registered sex offender and his wife, Nancy Garrido, kept Jaycee Lee Dugard as a sex slave in their backyard for 18 years and impregnated her with two children has left many wondering how on Earth this could have happened in a suburban California neighborhood without being detected.

Photos: The Search For Jaycee
Photos: Jaycee Lee Dugard Found Alive
Photos: Inside Jaycee's Terror Tent

A parole agent even visited 58-year-old Phillip Garrido's home and didn't have an inkling about a series of blue tarps and sheds where Dugard and her two children were forced to live, El Dorado County Under Sherriff Fred Kollar said at a Thursday press conference. Phillip Garrido is a registered sex offender on federal parole for rape and kidnapping convictions.

"The way the house is set up, the way the backyard is set up, you could walk through the backyard, walk through the house, and never know," Kollar said.

But neighbors said there were clues even before a parole agent on Wednesday noticed Dugard, now 29, who accompanied Garrido, his wife and the children to a parole office.

(Google Maps)
Photo: A Google Map aerial view of the Garrido home clearly shows the blue tarps that police say housed Jaycee Lee Dugard and her two children for 18 years.

Neighbor Diane Doty said she could see the tents and often heard children playing in the backyard, the corner of which abuts her own backyard. She said she even suspected the children lived in the tents, but her husband said she should leave the family alone.

"I asked my husband, 'Why is he living in tents?"' she said. "And he said, 'Maybe that is how they like to live."'

Jaycee Lee Dugard was snatched from a South Lake Tahoe, Calif., neighborhood while waiting for a school bus in 1991. She was 11 years old. Her stepfather, Carl Probyn, saw her abduction and gave chase on a bicycle, but he couldn't catch up. His stepdaughter and her captors disappeared.

Garrido, 58, is being held for investigation of various kidnapping and sex charges. Authorities said his 54-year-old wife, Nancy Garrido, was with him during the kidnapping in South Lake Tahoe and she also has been arrested.

Photos: The Search For Jaycee
Photos: Jaycee Lee Dugard Found Alive
Photos: Inside Jaycee's Terror Tent

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  • Neil Katz

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