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Kidnapped US woman kept 18 years in yard

world Updated: Aug 29, 2009 14:02 IST

A US woman who turned up 18 years after she was kidnapped as a young girl had been kept in a hidden backyard behind her captor's home and had two children with her abductor, police said on Thursday.

Jaycee Lee Dugard, now 29, appeared at a police station in Concord, California on Wednesday and identified herself as the missing woman, police officials said.

At a press conference, the El Dorado Sherrif's Department said conversations with the woman confirmed that she was Dugard, who was kidnapped at age 11.

"Subsequent interviews provided information that only the victim and the kidnappers could know," said Fred Kohler from the department.

Police officials identified a couple taken into custody in connection with Dugard's kidnap as Phillip and Nancy Garrido.
Kohler said that a search of the Garridos' home "revealed a hidden backyard within the backyard" that included "sheds, tents and outbuildings."

He added that two children taken into police care when the Garridos were arrested "turned out to be the children of Jaycee and (Phillip) Garrido."

Phillip Garrido is a registered sex offender who has served prison time for kidnapping and rape, Contra Costa county Sherrif Daniel Terry said, adding the couple were being investigated for kidnapping to commit rape.

Terry said that the pair were arrested on Wednesday and are being held on bail of one million dollars.

Dugard was 11 years old on June 10, 1991 when she was last seen by her stepfather Carl Probyn outside her home in South Lake Tahoe being kidnapped by two occupants in a car.

Probyn, who is now 60, gave chase on a bicycle but was too far away to stop the abduction.

"I had personally given up hope," Probyn said , adding he was just hoping to find the people responsible.

Probyn, his wife Terry and another daughter flew on Thursday morning from Riverside, California to San Francisco to meet Dugard.