ABC Draws Big Audience for Dugard Interview

A Stolen Life: A Memoir

I remember when this happened. I grew up in Reno (and still live there) so it was all over the local news when she was kidnapped. I was a freshman in high school at the time. Never in a million years did I ever think I’d watch her – alive – talk about her ordeal on national television 20 years later. She looked the same to me – even her teeth when she smiled. Her mother, of course, looked older, but she too also looked the same. Just as feisty as she always was.

Concerning her actual interview – I will fully admit there were many times I burst into tears. Just so sad, yet simultaneously inspiring that she survived. Not only enduring physical abuse and daily rapes, but also joking about her youthful skin (didn’t see daylight for 18 years). Good for her, and good for her not letting this horrendous couple destroy her spirit calling her confinement a blip in her overall lifetime. I have no idea if I could ever be as poised as her, but I’m thankful she can provide and be a great spokesperson to others who are/were in similar situations. She really is an inspiration. Something I never foresaw during those first few days she disappeared. 


The story of aCaliforniawoman kidnapped and held prisoner by a sex offender for 18 years has proven compelling for television viewers.

The Nielsen Co. says 14.8 million people watched ABC’s Diane Sawyer interview Jaycee Dugard in a two-hour special Sunday.

Dugard, who was 11 when she was kidnapped and is now 31, has a memoir about her experience being published on Tuesday.

The audience was more than triple the number of people who watched a couple of drama reruns on ABC the previous Sunday night. It was the most-watched summertime newsmagazine since a 2004 episode of “60 Minutes.”

It was also the most-watched Sunday night program on ABC, not including sports, since the Academy Awards in February.

Dugard was just 14 when her first daughter was born. She says she knew she could “never let anything happen to her.”

She said there was a “switch” that she had to shut off in order to emotionally survive her rape and imprisonment. She said, “You just do what you have to do to survive.

Dugard described the kidnapping itself — which took place when she was 11, walking to a school bus stop on a street inSouth Lake Tahoe,Calif.She says she was zapped with a stun gun, and heard kidnapper Phillip Garrido tell his wife Nancy, “I can’t believe we got away with it.”

As for why she didn’t try to leave, even when her captors took her out in public in later years, she says she was too scared — partly because of what the Garridos told her about the world. She says, “The unknown out there was terrifying.”

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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