SACRAMENTO, Calif. —State parole agents failed to properly supervise Phillip Garrido for a decade and missed obvious clues that could have led them much earlier to Jaycee Dugard, whom he is accused of kidnapping in 1991 and harboring in his Antioch backyard, a prison watchdog reported this week.
Many warning signs were overlooked or ignored, according to Inspector General David Shaw. Utility cables led to a hidden backyard compound where Garrido kept Dugard and the two girls he fathered. Data from the satellite tracking device the state made him wear could have alerted his parole agent to his presence in that area, had it been reviewed.
Federal parole records, not obtained by the state, noted that he had a soundproof room in his yard. Young girls had been spotted at his house but did not trigger further investigation.
Last year, Shaw's report says, Garrido's parole agent met a 12-year-old girl at Garrido's house, accepted his explanation that she was his brother's daughter and did nothing to verify it.
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"No one can know, had the parole agents done everything right, whether we would have discovered Jaycee and her children any sooner," said Shaw, who conducted a two-month investigation. "However, our investigation revealed that there were missed clues and opportunities to discover their existence sooner than they did."
The state prisons chief, Matthew Cate, acknowledged "serious errors" and said his department had improved its supervision of high-risk offenders and would continue to do so to protect the public from this sort of "abject evil."
Garrido and his wife are accused of kidnapping Dugard outside her South Lake Tahoe home when she was 11.
The stinging report details what Shaw characterized as serious problems at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation relating to training, supervision and activities of parole agents, and the ineffective use of satellite tracking to monitor offenders.
A California parole agent improperly classified Garrido, saying he needed only low-level supervision, a category in which he remained until he was arrested and one that allowed him to avoid more intensive oversight.
Garrido was barely supervised for several years after the state began monitoring him, Shaw said. Agents often failed to make required home visits, and did not interview neighbors.