WASHINGTON -- The man accused of kidnapping an 11-year-old girl and holding her captive for 18 years appeared in court Friday.
The kidnap victim, Jaycee Lee Dugard, is now back with her family. But joy has turned to horror as more details about her ordeal are coming to light.
A Bittersweet Homecoming
"It's just unbelievable. It's a miracle," said Jaycee's stepfather, Carl Probyn.
Probyn told ABC's Good Morning America how he found out over the phone from Jaycee's mother how his stepdaughter was finally free.
"She said 'they found Jaycee.' And she paused for a few seconds and she said, 'She's alive.' And we both started crying," Probyn recalled.
But many are wondering how convicted sex offender Phillip Garrido could hide Jaycee from neighbors and parole officers for 18 years - long enough allegedly to rape her repeatedly and to have two daughters with her.
All three were held captive in what police call a hidden backyard filled with tents and make-shift shelters.
"As unusual as that may sound, having been there, it's very, very conceivable. The way the house is set up, the way the backyard is set up, you could walk through the backyard, walk through the house, and never know that there was another set of living circumstances in that backyard," El Dorado County undersheriff Fred Kollar said.
Cheyvonne Molino is the owner of a Pittsburg auto dismantling yard and is a client of Garrido. Molino met the daughters at a party - one of the rare moments Garrido let them out of captivity.
"They said this was the first time of really being out, that they were homeschooled and that they were having church at their home in their basement," Molino said.
"We've met the guy a couple of times. I felt kind of funny, but yeah it's really scary to find out what's going on in your neighborhood," said Betty Unpingco, a neighbor of Garrido.
Jaycee's daughters are 15 and 11. After what he did to their mother, people are wondering what vile things Garrido may have done to them.
But in a radio interview from jail, he declared, "They slept in my arms every single night - from birth - I never touched them."
But both girls were kept in primitive conditions - virtual prisoners - all their lives.
Kollar said. "None of the children have ever gone to school; they've never been to a doctor. They were kept in complete isolation in this compound, if you will, at the back of the house."
Jaycee and her two daughters are said to be in good health. Meanwhile, authorities say they will push for life sentences for the suspect and his wife.