How do we even begin to digest this story? Elation as a mother is finally reunited with her daughter after being separated cruelly for almost two decades – and after almost all hope of ever seeing her again was surely gone.
But digust and horror as the details emerge of then 11 year old Jaycee Lee Dugard’s kidnapping, sexual abuse, and confinement in squalid makeshift lodgings in a backyard in California.
She later shared those lodgings with the two children she gave birth to, fathered by her captor Phillip Garrido – a convicted sex offender.
It begs the question - how did this go unnoticed? Didn’t his neighbours see or suspect anything?
It’s true that Jaycee, now 29, was well-hidden – a video on this website shows an aerial view of how Garrido concealed her (click on “Asking Questions – how did Jaycee stay hidden“)
But wasn’t anyone’s suspicions raised in all those long years? Especially as Garrido’s registration as a sex offender was online and known among parents .
One neighbour, whose back fence was adjacent to the compound, said “I knew he was always strange. But I never saw the girl.” And a caregiver who works for a resident just two houses away said “it’s so surreal to think that this was happening 40 feet away.”
Have we become a ‘look-away’ society? In an effort to respect each other’s privacy, have we gone too far in keeping to ourselves? Should we all be nosier neighbours?
And before I go … check out this interesting little experiment in neighbor observations done by Michael Moore a few years ago … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwNf-3VHRhE