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Neighbours say kidnapping suspect was ‘strange’

Published 29/08/2009

Neighbours of Phillip Craig Garrido — Jaycee Lee Dugard’s alleged kidnapper — in California thought he was more than a little strange.

According to the Contra Costa Times, locals described the man who burst into spontaneous bursts of opera singing that echoed through the small neighbourhood on Walnut Avenue in Antioch as eccentric, maybe a little suspicious, and kind of annoying with his proselytising and tendency to push handmade religious literature on them.

None of that prepared them for the revelation he is suspected of kidnapping Jaycee Lee Dugard 18 years ago, fathering two daughters with her, and keeping her and |their children out of sight in a hidden backyard compound. Dugard was snatched on June 10 1991, as the 11-year-old walked to a bus stop, by a man and a woman in a grey Sedan while her stepfather gave futile chase.

“It's crazy,” said neighbour Damon Robinson. “I still haven't digested it.”

Garrido kept his criminal past secret from those around him. That past included a federal prison stint for a kidnapping conviction in the 1970s.

He was granted parole in 1988, but a violation landed him back in prison from April to August 1993.

In 1999 he was out on parole, again for a rape conviction, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Details about that conviction were not available.

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