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Monday, August 31, 2009

Calif. police search home next to couple charged in kidnapping; seek links to other crimes

Associated Press Writers
via orlandosentinel.com
August 31, 2009

ANTIOCH, Calif. (AP) — Armed with rakes, shovels and chain saws, about 20 officers on Sunday combed the backyard of a couple charged with kidnapping and raping Jaycee Lee Dugard and used cadaver dogs to search an adjoining property where neighbors say one of the suspects once served as a caretaker.

Sheriff's deputies and prosecutors from two counties and officers from two city police departments were using the dogs, shovels and other tools to inspect the neighboring yard, which sits behind an off-white house with a chain link fence."We do consider it a crime scene," said Jimmy Lee, a spokesman for the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department...

[In 2006 a neighbors] then-girlfriend called police after she saw tents and children in the backyard, but the responding deputy did not uncover the backyard compound.

...Police in Pittsburg, a Bay Area city near where the Garridos lived, have said they are investigating whether Phillip Garrido may be linked to several unsolved murders of prostitutes in the 1990s...

...Karen Walker, 58, who has lived two doors down for the last five months, said the Garridos had a fire recently in a van parked on their property. When neighbors went to investigate, Phillip Garrido "shooed people away," Walker said. She could not recall ever seeing Jaycee Dugard, but remembered seeing two shy young blonde girls.

Walker said her 9-year-old grandson once asked the younger of the two girls if she wanted to play."They asked if they could ride bikes with her, just being friendly, but she said she couldn't," she recalled.

Other neighbors said they pointedly kept their distance from a man they nicknamed "Creepy Phil," partly because he ranted about hearing voices from God, and because some knew that he was a registered sex offender. But they assumed parole authorities were keeping a close watch on their neighbor who was convicted three decades ago of abducting and raping a casino worker in a Nevada warehouse that a former detective described as a "sex palace" for playing out his fantasies...

...Her stepfather says her two children remain with her and she is healthy although she feels guilty about developing a bond with Garrido. "Jaycee has strong feelings with this guy. She really feels it's almost like a marriage," said Carl Probyn, who had witnessed the kidnapping and tried to give chase.

Phillip and Nancy Garrido pleaded not guilty Friday to a total of 29 counts, including forcible abduction, rape and false imprisonment.
It just gets worse and worse.

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