Diane Sawyer has the first interview with kidnap victim Jaycee Dugard, who speaks for the first time about her heartbreaking story and left the ABC News veteran in awe of her will to survive.
Dugard was kidnapped in 1991 at age 11 from her school bus stop by Phillip and Nancy Garrido (both now serving life sentences) and was held captive for 18 years, during which time she gave birth to two daughters fathered by her captor.
Dugard, who’s now 31, first gave birth at age 14 — in the backyard, with no medical care — and described the frightening experience to Sawyer.
“I didn’t know I was in labor,” Dugard tells Sawyer in an exclusive, two-hour interview airing on Sunday’s “Primetime.” “I was still … locked [in] at the time. Just scared.”
She gave birth to another baby girl in 1997 and explains how she taught her daughters herself, despite having only a fifth-grade education, by making “a school” in the seclusion of the hidden backyard where she was enslaved.
Sawyer, who promoted the exclusive sitdown on “The View,” says despite Jaycee’s having two children with a man she hated, “she loves them completely.” She also takes a look at “the most beautiful story of a reunion” as Jaycee and her mother discuss reuniting after nearly two decades apart.
Sawyer Chats About Dugard on “The View”: “It’s a miracle” she’s not “a basket case”:
In another mind-boggling detail, Sawyer points out how law enforcement came to the house where Jaycee was held 60 times … and they never found her. It wasn’t until two years ago that Dugard was freed after Garrido took Dugard and her daughters on an outing to the University of California, Berkeley, where campus police discovered he was a registered sex offender and launched an investigation that led to the discovery of Jaycee’s true identity.
Dugard’s memoir “A Stolen Life” will be released Tuesday, July 12, and when Sawyer asked her why she wrote the book, Dugard said: “It’s his shame, it’s not my shame.”
The remarkable story of survival is one Sawyer calls “astonishing.”
“In my long career, I have never met a young woman like her, I have never heard a story like hers and I have never met anybody who comes through it with such radiant spirit,” Sawyer said to Barbara Walters on “The View.” “And if there’s one message I think she’s going to leave with everybody, it’s ‘love your life’.”
The Jaycee Dugard interview will air as a special two-hour edition of “Primetime” on Sunday, July 10 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.