By My-Thuan Tran
Los Angeles Times
Friday, August 28, 2009 2:25 PM
The father of Phillip Garrido, suspected of kidnapping an 11-year-old South Lake Tahoe girl 18 years ago, said today his son had a long history of drug use and mental problems.
"They are treating him like he knew what he was doing, but he didn't know what he was doing," Manuel Garrido, 88, said in a telephone interview from his home in Brentwood in Northern California. "The man is out of it. He is a sick man. He should be treated that way. He should be punished but he should be treated like a crazy person."
Garrido, a 58-year-old registered sex offender, and his wife, Nancy, were arrested Wednesday in the 1991 kidnapping of Jaycee Lee Dugard and are of holding her captive in the backyard of their Antioch home ever since. Garrido is believed to have fathered two daughters with Dugard, who is now 29. The girls are 11 and 15. Manuel Garrido said it had been more than five years since he last saw his son. He said Phillip was a sweet kid, friendly and always making jokes.
Phillip played electric guitar and had a band, and was always willing to help his parents around the house, Garrido said. "Everyone loved him."
He said Phillip started getting into trouble in high school and began using LSD.
Garrido said he tried to talk to his son and get him on the right path, but by the time Phillip graduated from high school it was too late.
"After he got the LSD pills, he was gone," Garrido said. "It ruined his life. He did a lot of crazy things after that."
Dugard disappeared on June 10, 1991, as she walked from her family's South Lake Tahoe home to a bus stop.
Despite a massive search and being featured on the "America's Most Wanted" television program, Jaycee was not found. Investigators were unable to identify a suspect.
Authorities got their break in the case Tuesday when Phillip Garrido was seen with two small children near UC Berkeley. After an encounter with campus police, he was reported to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said Scott Kernan, the department's undersecretary of adult operations.
On Wednesday, Garrido was taken in for questioning at the department's parole office in Concord, near Berkeley, Kernan said. He was accompanied by two children and two women, later identified as Dugard and his wife.
After being questioned by parole officers, Garrido revealed that he had kidnapped a female, now an adult, who was later identified as Dugard, authorities said.
Garrido had been convicted of rape and kidnapping in 1971 in Nevada, was incarcerated in federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan. He was later paroled to California.
In a rambling, sometimes incoherent phone interview with Sacramento TV station KCRA on Thursday, Garrido said he had not admitted to a kidnapping, and that he had turned his life around since the birth of his first daughter 15 years ago.
"I tell you here's the story of what took place at this house and you're going to be absolutely impressed. It's a disgusting thing that took place from the end to the beginning. But I turned my life completely around," he said.