Would You Have Reported Phillip Garrido?
The discovery of kidnapping victim Jaycee Dugard 18 years after her abduction has sparked all kinds of conversations. From stranger danger, to the monitoring of sexual predators, this case has enough angles to challenge even the most experienced journalist.
Of course one of the most disturbing aspects is how investigators say the suspect Phillip Garrido kept Kaycee captive for 18 years without discovery. It took an especially observant campus police officer at Berkeley to finally crack the case.
The police officer noticed something seemed “wrong” when she tried to talk to Garrido and his two children. The police officer has said in interviews that the girls wouldn’t make eye contact with her, and kept looking to him for the answers. This chance encounter sent up a red flag for this police officer and it was her keen observation that led to the discovery of Kaycee.
Often in our daily lives we come across situations where we sense something is wrong. I would hope if I saw children living in tents in my neighbor’s backyard, I would report it. If I looked at the sex offender registry and learned that Garrido was living next door, I would keep an especially close eye on what was happening there. The mere presence of two young children in the home should have alerted someone that there was a problem.
It’s easy to find out if you have a registered sex offender living in your neighborhood.
Just log onto http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov
, read the disclaimer, and enter your zip code and up pops a complete list with photos, addresses and offenses. If you look up Antioch, you’ll find Phillip Garrido’s photo and address.
Several people now say they noticed something “strange” about Garrido, but never thought much about it. It’s that sixth sense that can help you avert disaster. Call it intuition or common sense, but we all need to be more aware of what’s happening around us.
In a similar abduction case in 2007, 15 year old Shawn Hornbeck of Missouri was discovered 4 and a half years after his kidnapping. Police found Shawn after the kidnapper abducted another boy. The break in the case came from an alert teenager, Mitch Hults, who had seen a white pickup speeding away from the area. This teen's sixth sense told him something wasn't right, and he was able to describe the truck right down to the smallest detail. Here's how the CBS news magazine 48 Hours told the story of Mitch's description.
Sheriff Gary Toelke said "He just starts going down the line, 'Well, you know, I remember seeing a Nissan on the tailgate in dark letters. Uh, a camper top with an elongated window down the side with the knobs on the side. It had a two-inch trailer hitch on the back. Rust or dirt over the fender.' And the FBI agents kinda looking at him, you know, 'right!' because you never get a description like that, even from an adult," Toelke remembers.
The agents didn't believe Mitch at first because he gave them so much detail. But Mitch, it turned out, was a truck fanatic, recalling every minute detail of the vehicle. Ironically, the only detail Mitch didn't remember was the license plate.
Police took casts of the tire treads and an APB for the white truck was broadcast across the state.
Meanwhile, just 45 minutes away in Kirkwood, Mo., a description of the truck caught the eye of Imo's pizzeria owner Mike Prosperi. By coincidence, his long-time manager, 41-year-old Mike Devlin, had a white truck that matched that description.
That description led police to Devlin, and the two missing boys were found.
So look around you. You never know whose life you could save.
Published Tuesday, September 01, 2009 11:06 AM by ksaam