By now you may have read of the disturbing case of Phillip Garrido, a California man now in custody for the 1991 kidnapping of 11-year-old Jaycee Lee Dugard.Â Jaycee’s mother and stepfather have long since assumed she was dead; indeed, the stepfather has been a suspect for years, although he was a helpless witness to the kidnapping.
It turns out Garrido kept Jaycee as a sexual plaything these 18 years, sequestering her in an elaborate backyard complex designed to prevent neighbors–even visitors to the house–from seeing or hearing anything.Â Jaycee is now the mother of two daughters by Garrido— one 15 years old, the other 11–and in all that time neither Jaycee nor her daughters attended school or visited a doctor.
Garrido was no garden-variety pervert.Â He was on parole for previous sexual offenses during the nearly two decades he incarcerated Jaycee.Â And according to the Associated Press, he was a religious nut:
People who knew Garrido said he became increasingly fanatic about his religious beliefs in recent years, sometimes breaking out into song and claiming that God spoke to him through a box.
In April 2008, Garrido registered a corporation called Gods Desire at his home address… Garrido would talk about quitting the printing business to preach full time and gave the impression he was setting up a church.
In a blog [Voices Revealed] that appears to have been maintained by Garrido, he wrote that he had hired a private investigator to verify his ability to speak to people using only his mind. In an “affadavit” posted there, he said he had the ability to “control sound with my mind and have developed a device for others to witness this phenomena.”
Now, either Garrido is legitimately bonkers, or he’s been building a clever insanity case over the last few years, knowing that soon he’ll have three grown women on his hands that he can’t control or hide forever.Â According to a BBC report, one expert interviewed by a California TV station said, “I think he is going to focus on this element, that his former self was guilty of heinous, unforgivable crimes but that he is now a reformed character.Â I get the impression he will set his own mystified and constructed version of reality, in which he is some kind of God-chosen character.”
I’d like to think that, even in the most religious corners of America, such a defense is not going to get Garrido very far.