Sheriff: We Failed Jaycee Dugard

"We missed an opportunity"

By Jessica Greene
|  Friday, Aug 28, 2009  |  Updated 3:59 PM PDT
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Sheriff: We Failed Jaycee Dugard

AP

This family photo released by Carl Probyn on Thursday, Aug. 27, shows his stepdaughter, Jaycee Lee Dugard who went missing in 1991.

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As details the Jaycee Dugard kidnapping case develop, many are wondering how the suspects, Phillip and Nancy Garrido, could have held their alleged victims captive in a compound behind their Antioch home without anyone knowing about it.

Some of the neighbors say they had suspicions about what was happening at the house on Walnut Avenue in Antioch and some of them even called police to report it.

At a news conference Friday, authorities admitted they failed to see the signs that something was amiss at the home but missed opportunities in the past to step in and rescue Dugard.

The Contra Costa County Sheriff says a neighbor reported a backyard encampment in November 2006 at the home, but the investigating officer dismissed it as a routine code violation.

Sheriff Warren E. Rupf said that the deputy who inspected Garrido's yard did not know he was a registered sex offender even though the sheriff's department had the information.

The tipster, who called 911 to lodge the complaint, also said Garrido was a psychotic sex addict who had childen living at the house, Rupf said.

Rupf said, "We offer our apologies to the victims for the missed opportunity the Sheriff’s Office had to bring an earlier closure to this case. Organizationally, there are no excuses. Because the responding Deputy did not have access to certain databases, he was not aware that Garrido was a sexual offender, and therefore did not make an extensive search of the property. There were no records of other complaints."

Rupf says more suspicion and curiosity on the deputy's part could have uncovered the secret encampment where Dugard allegedly was held. He says there are "absolutely no excuses ... we should have had a better result."

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