SACRAMENTO — A blistering new report concludes that state corrections officials failed repeatedly to properly supervise accused rapist and kidnapper Phillip Garrido for 10 years, missing numerous opportunities to discover that he had allegedly kept Jaycee Lee Dugard captive in his Antioch-area backyard during the entire time California authorities were supposed to be keeping watch over him.
Among the mistakes by state parole agents who supervised Garrido from 1999 until his latest arrest in August was a failure to investigate why there was a 12-year-old girl inside the home of a registered sex offender, why "clearly visible utility lines" were running from Garrido's home to a concealed compound where he allegedly kept Dugard and why agents took no action when they received information "clearly showing Garrido had violated his parole terms.
A four-page executive summary of the audit by California Inspector General David R. Shaw, posted in advance of his full report later today, lists numerous failings by corrections officials and suggests needed improvements in the system. Shaw said in his two-month investigation that he found "systemic problems that transcend parolee Garrido's case and jeopardize public safety."
In a press briefing in the Capitol this afternoon, the inspector general presented a chart showing that between June 1999 and last July, parole officers completed 60 visits to the Garrido home. Corrections officials have said that, typically, an offender such as Garrido would be subjected to three to four home visits monthly.
"Despite numerous clues and opportunities, the department, as well as federal and local law enforcement, failed to detect Garrido's criminal conduct, resulting in the continued confinement and victimization of Jaycee and her two daughters," the audit states. "On August 26, 2009, Garrido and his wife were finally arrested for these heinous crimes, and Jaycee was reunited with her family."
Dugard was 11 and walking to school near South Lake Tahoe when Garrido and his wife allegedly abducted her in 1991, using a stun gun they carried and hiding her in his Antioch-area backyard for 18 years. Garrido was on parole, first under federal supervision and later under supervision by a California state parole agent, for a 1977 conviction for rape and kidnapping.
Garrido was supposed to serve 50 years to life in federal prison for his rape and kidnap of a 25-year-old casino worker he abducted from the Tahoe area in November 1976, the second of two women he dragged into his car that day, court records show.
But he was released in January 1988 after 11 years in prison and placed under federal supervision. He moved back into his mother's home in the Antioch-area with his wife, Nancy. Federal parole records obtained by The Bee through the Freedom of Information Act show he was praised as a model parolee. Federal agents never knew that during the period they supervised him he had allegedly kidnapped Dugard and kept her hidden.
Even after he returned to prison in 1993 for a short period for a marijuana violation, she was not discovered.
Federal officials discharged Garrido from federal parole in March 1999. He was technically under the supervision of Nevada authorities because of his conviction for the 1976 rape, which took place in Reno. But in June 1999 he became the responsibility of California parole agents because he was living in Antioch.
During the next 10 years, California parole agents failed repeatedly to supervise him properly, the Inspector General found, missing opportunities to detect Dugard -- as well as the two daughters she bore to Garrido -- at the home.
He was under "passive GPS" monitoring, meaning he was required to wear a monitoring device that was reviewed at certain times to see where he had been. And he was one of 40 parolees assigned to his agent.
Despite that, Shaw found corrections officials failed to supervise the agents responsible for Garrido, did not use GPS readings on him, ignored Garrido's parole violations and did not talk to neighbors or area law enforcement agencies who were aware of complaints that Garrido had children living in the yard.
Following Dugard's rescue, corrections officials called a press conference to label the parole agent a "hero" for discovering her, and corrections officials continued after that to state that he had acted "by the book" and should be commended for finally discovering her.
Corrections director Matthew Cate took a different stance Wednesday, issuing a statement conceding that the department should have done more.
"The circumstances surrounding the kidnapping and 18 year disappearance of Jaycee Dugard are horrendous," said Cate, who is scheduled to appear with Shaw later today when the full report is released. "The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is committed to improving its operations every day to ensure an incident like this never happens again. The Department appreciates the efforts of the Office of the Inspector General to assist in our mission."
Neighbors had called area law enforcement about their concerns that children were living in the backyard in tents but authorities never discovered Dugard until after Garrido went to the UC-Berkeley campus with her and her daughters and aroused the suspicions of campus police, who called his parole agent.
It was only then that the agent summoned Garrido to his office, and when he showed up with Dugard and the girls he finally discovered who she was.
Shaw's office issued a series of recommendations, including the need to:
"Enforce appropriate standards for parole agents to properly supervise assigned parolees and for parole supervisors to properly supervise parole agents.
Ensure that all sex offender parolees have been correctly assessed for their risks to re-offend using the department's revised assessment tool.
Require parole agents to obtain parole information from federal or other state parole authorities when a parolee has been recently supervised by these entities.
Establish a mechanism to obtain and share information with local public safety agencies."
Garrido, 58, and his wife Nancy, 54, are being held in the El Dorado County Jail on kidnap, rape and other charges that could send them both to prison for life. They both have pleaded not guilty and face their next court appearance. Dec. 11.