Cutting Edge returns with the first in-depth documentary about the discovery that stunned the world: a girl kidnapped as an 11-year-old and found – just last month – aged 29.
In June 1991, Jaycee Lee Dugard was waiting at the bus stop on her way to school in South Lake Tahoe when a grey Ford saloon pulled up alongside her. A man and woman jumped out, bundled her into the car and drove off. The kidnap was witnessed by Jaycee Lee’s stepfather, Carl Probyn, who chased in vain after the car.
Eighteen years passed. The pink ribbons tied to the trees in her home town faded. The search for Jaycee Lee went cold. Even her closest relatives admitted that she was probably dead.
Then, on 24 August 2009, thanks to the intuitive “motherly instinct” of two female police officers, an investigation began that would lead to an astounding discovery: Jaycee Lee Dugard was alive and for the last 18 years she had been held captive by a notorious sex offender.
Now aged 29, Jaycee Lee has given birth to two daughters, fathered by the sex offender, Phillip Garrido. And for 18 years, Jaycee Lee and her daughters have been kept in a maze of tents and sheds in the back garden of Garrido’s home in Antioch, California.
Cutting Edge films in Antioch, South Lake Tahoe and the University of California, Berkeley, where patrol officers had their first suspicions about Garrido. He was on campus distributing religious leaflets, accompanied by the two young girls who turned out to be Jaycee Lee’s daughters. The film also visits the courtroom where Garrido and his wife Nancy plead not guilty to 29 charges of kidnap and sexual abuse.
Featuring interviews with some of those closest to the young Jaycee, including family members, classmates and her headmistress, Cutting Edge also meets the neighbours and business associates of her captor Phillip Garrido, and the investigators involved in her case, to piece together one of the most incredible missing person stories of all time.
The programme includes an interview with Carl Probyn, Jaycee Lee’s stepfather, who witnessed the kidnap. He was the prime suspect in the case for 18 years. His marriage to Jaycee Lee’s mother broke up; his life, to all intents and purposes, was ruined. He reveals his story from the day he saw his stepdaughter kidnapped: his anguished 911 call to the police, how the events of the day changed his life forever, and the joy and sadness that engulfed him when he heard she’d been found alive and well.
Thursday 1 October 2009
9:00pm, Channel 4