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Jaycee Dugard will remain in hiding to protect her daughters

In this photo taken Friday March 9, 2012, Oprah Winfrey presents Jaycee Dugard with a DVF Award at The Third Annual DVF Awards held at the United Nations in New York. AP Images

(CBS/AP) NEW YORK - Kidnapping survivor Jaycee Dugard made her first public appearance over the weekend in New York, but said she plans to remain in hiding with her two daughters until they are mature enough to understand what happened to them.

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The 31-year-old Dugard, and her two children, ages 14 and17, have been living at an undisclosed California location since being found by police in 2009 - 18 years after she was abducted from a South Lake Tahoe bus stop.

Phillip and Nancy Garrido, her captors, held Dugard in their Antioch backyard, where she later gave birth to two children conceived by rape.

In an interview with ABC News that aired Tuesday night, Dugard said she's spent that last three years healing and experiencing life with her family. "I want my girls to have a normal life as much as possible," she told Diane Sawyer. "I feel like on some things I have to do it a little bit differently...not to be recognized for their sake."

"I think in time as they get older, they'll know how to deal with it better, and that would be the time that we would come out," she said.

Dugard has been working to build the JAYC Foundation, which aims to support families dealing with abduction and other tragedies. She wrote a best-selling memoir last year, "A Stolen Life," which recounts her years in captivity.

Phillip Garrido is serving a 431-year prison sentence, and Nancy Garrido is serving 36 years to life. Both struck plea deals on kidnapping and rape charges. The state of California paid Dugard a $20 million settlement under which officials acknowledged repeated mistakes were made by parole agents responsible for monitoring Phillip Garrido, who was a convicted rapist when Dugard was kidnapped.

Dugard was honored at a star-studded awards ceremony on Friday held by fashion designer and humanitarian Diane von Furstenberg. She was introduced at the ceremony by Oprah Winfrey, another honoree of the night.

"Jaycee Dugard, I am so proud of you, your courage, your ability to press onward toward the future and toward a more victorious life for yourself and for using your courage, your strength, and your power to show the world that you care," Winfrey said.

Dugard told Sawyer that during her first trip to New York, she saw a Broadway play, admired the skyscrapers and enjoyed walking down the street among the crowds to get pizza.

"Just being free to do what I want to do, when I want to do it," she said. "That's the whole learning process to, to know that you can."

Complete coverage of Jaycee Dugard on Crimesider

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