Now, nearly two decades later, Jaycee has been found and Carl Probyn, who was always a suspect, can't wait to meet her.
"To me it's a miracle I never thought after 18 years that we'd get her back alive," he told CBS' The Early Show on Friday.
When his wife, Terry Probyn, called Carl Probyn said she first told him they had found Jaycee. "Then she paused for a few seconds and said 'she's alive,'" he told CBS reporter Maggie Rodriguez.
"So we basically cried for five minutes, just lost it. Unbelievable. I had no idea after this long that we'd find her alive," he said.
Carl Probyn says he had always hoped Jaycee would be found alive, but not like this. He said he is most upset about "the way she was kept in the backyard."
Jaycee was living in Phillip and Nancy Garrido's backyard in an elaborate series of tarps and sheds intended to isolate and soundproof Jaycee and her two daughters, according to police.
Phillip Garrido fathered the two girls, ages 11 and 15, with Jaycee.
"I was hoping for a better scenario where maybe a couple took her because they couldn't have their own children or something; that she had been in school, that she had been raised by a couple. I wasn't expecting this ending," Carl Probyn said.
The FBI and other authorities questioned Carl Probyn numerous times and conducted lie detector tests when Jaycee first went missing in 1991. Despite the ordeal, Carl Probyn says they were just doing their job. "I knew the FBI was going to put me through the wringer, and that was OK."
Carl Probyn is also relieved to find out his original description of the kidnappers and their car was right all along. "I told them it was a man and a woman; it was a man and a woman. I said it was an '85 Ford Monarch gray four-door and it turned out they had the car in the backyard."
"I was I was curious for years like how close was I. Was I a help to the case? Did I get the car right? And it turned out I get everything right."
Getting "it right" may be little comfort to Carl Probyn, who lost his marriage as well as his stepdaughter. Carl and Terry Probyn are currently separated.
"Losing Jaycee ended the marriage," he said. "It wasn't between us. We've never had a fight. We're best of friends right now. Just losing Jaycee just changed her life."
In an interview with CBS affiliate KCBS/KCAL, he said that every summer Terry Probyn would break down as she relived the season during which her daughter vanished. "Every year in May she was going crazy, and June, for two weeks she would just sit in her room," he said.
Terry has seen a psychologist, says Carl Probyn, and that helped her deal with the trauma and find peace with the tragedy. "Within the last eight years she's finally had a closure where she went to a psychologist and the psychologist basically said you have to close this out. You have to end this. It just drives you crazy," he said.
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