Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Madeleine McCann's parents ‘more determined’ after US reunion

Phillip Garrido
Phillip Garrido's wife Nancy
Madeleine McCann

The parents of missing Madeleine McCann have said that the reappearance of child kidnap victim Jaycee Lee Dugard 18 years after she disappeared “only makes us more determined” to find their daughter.

Jaycee was abducted at the age of 11 from her home in California in 1991 but has now been reunited with her mother after walking into a police station with her alleged captor and the two children he fathered by her.

Kate and Gerry McCann said: “Once again this shows that children can sometimes disappear off the radar only to be found years later alive.

“It emphasises that we should never assume that someone is not alive without any evidence to support this. We should never give up

“This case only makes us more determined to find Madeleine. She is out there somewhere and somebody knows where,” they added.

The McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell said the couple, whose daughter disappeared in Portugal in 2007, sent their best wishes to Jaycee and her family “for a happier and peaceful future”.

DNA tests are being carried out to confirm whether the woman who recently presented herself at Concord police station in California is Jaycee Lee, who was snatched by two people in a car from a bus stop outside her home.

Convicted rapist Phillip Garrido (58) and his wife Nancy (54) have been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping the 11-year-old along with other offences, the El Dorado Sheriff's Department said.

Mr Garrido is also being held for investigation of rape and lewd and lascivious acts with a minor, a spokesman for the Contra Costa Sheriff's Department said.

The kidnapped girl is believed to have borne two children, now aged 11 and 15, by her captor in a chilling echo of the case of Josef Fritzl, the Austrian man who fathered seven children with his daughter while she was imprisoned in his cellar.

A spokesman at the Sheriff's Department said Jaycee was apparently kept in a shed in the backyard of the Garridos' house where her children were born and brought up.

She has now been reunited with her mother, although officers admitted it “would be a long and ongoing process”.

The Garridos were arrested on Wednesday after Mr Garrido — who was convicted of rape and kidnap in Nevada in 1971 — admitted the kidnapping under close questioning by one of his parole officers.

He had been called in for a meeting after being seen with two children at the University of California, Berkeley.

It is understood Jaycee and the two children went to the meeting.

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