The Jaycee Dugard video was seen Thursday on ABC's 'Good Morning America,' the first time she has appeared publicly since her 18-year kidnapping ordeal.
While her family said they released the recent home video of Ms. Dugard, who was 11 when she was kidnapped from her South Lake Tahoe, Calif., neighborhood, to express gratitude to many well-wishers, it was also a plea for privacy in a case that has generated intense media attention.
“What our family needs is privacy during our healing process,” said Terry Probyn, Dugard’s mother, in a videotape aired on ABC’s "Good Morning America." “As a mother, I am pleading for our privacy in this very public story.”
In making available the video, more segments of which ABC will release throughout the day Friday, Duggard's family is making a smart move, experts say.
“What they are trying to do is to provide some message to the public that they are doing well,” says Ernie Allen, president and CEO of The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “The last thing they need is the glare of the spotlight and doing dozens of interviews."
So far, the footage showed Dugard, now 29, cooking and smiling with her family, but offered only a few words from the woman whose story has captivated many: “Hi, I’m Jaycee.... It’s been a long haul, but I’m getting there.”
Her alleged captors, Phillip and Nancy Garrido, await trial on a slew of felony charges related to the kidnapping. Mr. Garrido also faces rape charges for fathering two of Dugard’s children. The couple has pleaded not guilty.
While the Dugard case has become something of a national fascination, it has also raised many questions about the state of California’s parole system. Garrido, a convicted sex offender, was under the supervision of California parole officers at the time of his arrest.
Last month, Dugard and her mother filed a claim against the state for alleged failings in the case.
According to the Contra Costa Times, the claim charges that there were “various lapses by corrections department." At the time of his arrest, Garrido was also subject to GPS monitoring. The Monitor covered an investigation by the California Inspector General that reported numerous failings in Garrido’s supervision.
Police have said Dugard and her two children lived in a hidden backyard compound at Garrido’s Antioch, Calif., home. At one time, according to the parole records, an agent met one of Dugard's children but believed Garrido’s story that the girl was his niece.
A California judge recently ordered the state to release additional Garrido parole records, which are expected to provide even more insight into his supervision during Dugard's long captivity.