So Jaycee Dugard’s money problems are over

I forgot to write this earlier: the state of California has given Jaycee Dugard twenty million dollars in compensation for her abduction and eighteen-year captivity by Phillip Garrido. The money will pay for things like housing, education/job training, health care, and presumably lots and lots of therapy for herself, her children and the rest of her family.

Although I think people are judging the police a bit harshly for not finding Jaycee sooner — correct me if I am wrong but I haven’t seen that anyone had any good reason to suspect he had a kidnapped kid on his property — I do think Jaycee deserves the money as much as anyone. Some people are making a fuss, saying “we don’t give that much money to every kidnap/rape victim,” but Jaycee’s ordeal was extraordinary by any measure. And “we can’t help/save everybody” is not an argument not to try to help whoever we can. Other people are claiming that money can’t help Jaycee, which is ridiculous: housing costs money, psychologists/psychiatrists cost money, education costs money, and for someone as high-profile as Jaycee, privacy will also cost money. The girl has suffered enough. Now we all can get on with our lives.

Philip Garrido cleared in three Reno, Nevada murders

Philip Garrido, whom everyone and their massage therapist knows kidnapped Jaycee Dugard, has been cleared of suspicion in the 1989 murders of siblings Charles and Jennifer Chia (six and seven respectively) and the 1990 murder of seven-year-old Monica DaSilva. No word on his status as a possible suspect in the 1988 kidnapping of Michaela Garecht from Hayward, California. She was nine and was abducted in broad daylight by a young man who took her away in his vehicle — very similar to Jaycee’s kidnapping. She also bore a strong resemblance to Jaycee and they were about the same age.

Jaycee Dugard appearing on TV

Tonight, 20/20 is going to air an exclusive interview with Jaycee Dugard. Too bad I won’t be able to see it. Some details of it have already been released. According to the article, the story about Jaycee getting financial support from a church isn’t true, but she did get support from an “undisclosed benefactor.”

Jaycee has gotten a driver’s license and is working on her GED, so she can go to college. She is going through some kind of therapy program involving horses. Way to go, girl! I’m so glad she seems to be doing well.

Good Morning America, in conjunction with the latest Jaycee story, has done an article profiling other missing persons but it’s quite out of date. For Robert Wiles, the last MP listed in the article, they fail to mention the fact that four months ago someone was charged with his murder.

Lindsey Baum’s mom facing serious financial problems

I just read this article saying missing ten-year-old Lindsey Baum‘s mother, Melissa, is broke with no signs of that changing. Melissa apparently hasn’t worked since Lindsey disappeared last June. She took some months of unpaid leave, then asked to return to work, but only part time. She got fired instead, and applied for unemployment. She got some compensation, but now for some reason the state wants most of it back.

Meanwhile, Melissa can’t afford the rent and she and her son, Lindsey’s brother, have moved out of their former home and in with relatives. She says she can’t return to work full time because she still needs to search for Lindsey, and also her son has Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder.

Melissa says the system just isn’t designed to help parents whose children are missing.

“It’s a situation that I have no control over. But at the same time, it’s not something they have precedence for. They have to go by the laws,” she said.

I have often read of parents of missing children taking substantial time off work, years sometimes, both to help with the search and because their nerves are shattered. Melissa says as much: “I was not even conscious for the first two or three weeks even. I was pretty well medicated,” she said. But everyone must eat, and bills must be paid, whether your kid is missing or not. Plus, left-behind parents want to do things like hire private detectives, and that costs money too. I wouldn’t be surprised if many families of the missing fall into financial ruin as a result.

As I noted in the comments section of an earlier entry, Jaycee Dugard’s family is broke too, and living on charity. Apparently she was paid little or nothing for the few media appearances she made, and the state will only give her $2,000 compensation.

Jaycee Dugard diary entries

I’m a little late — like ten days late — but I just found a People magazine article about Jaycee Dugard’s diary that she kept in captivity. From the little that has been released, it shows (unsurprisingly) that she remained under extreme strain even more than a decade after she was taken. The prosecution hopes to get a restraining order prohibiting the Garridos or their lawyers from contacting Jaycee and her daughters. Jaycee is receiving therapy, and the latter article link says she’s trying to distance herself from Garrido by, for instance, choosing new names for her children to replace the ones Garrido picked. This would have the added benefit of making the children less easy to identify. There can’t be that many kids out there named Starlit Dugard or Starlit Garrido.

It’s really the children I feel the most sorry for. They knew no other life before the sham was exposed, and Garrido, monster that he is, is their father and they must have a lot of conflicting feelings about him. It sounds like Jaycee has a good, supportive, sensible family and support network. I only hope all three young women are able to rise above this and somehow lead normal lives.

The NY Times has the court filing linked here.

As everyone and their gardener has noted…

…current pictures of Jaycee Dugard have appeared in People magazine. She has grown into a beautiful young woman. I think it looks pretty close to her age-progression picture, except for the hair obviously. A lot of kids with light blonde hair have their hair turn brown when they grow up. I did, I think. I’ve been coloring my hair since I was ten but I believe it’s naturally light brown now.

I hope people don’t bother Jaycee if they recognize her on the street or whatever from the magazine photos. I know she is living very quietly in an undisclosed location, but presumably she’s not hiding in her hotel all the time.

Shawn Hornbeck on Jaycee Dugard

This is old news, a month and a day old in fact, but I thought I’d post about this interview Shawn Hornbeck gave to People magazine about Jaycee Dugard. He says she was undoubtedly brainwashed and will need a great deal of therapy and should move on from the attack — pretty obvious. It sounds like Shawn is doing well, and I’m glad to hear that. He has such a nice smile.