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US kidnap victim's book tops Amazon bestsellers

13 july 2011, 17:38
©RIA Novosti
©RIA Novosti
A California woman's account of being kidnapped as a schoolgirl and repeatedly raped over 18 years in captivity went straight to the top of the Amazon bestseller list on Tuesday, the day it was published, AFP reports.

In "A Stolen Life" Jaycee Dugard, who was 11 when she was seized and kept in a back yard compound by Phillip and Nancy Garrido in 1991, describes how she gave birth to two daughters of her own -- and how that helped her survive.

The book pulls few punches, including chapters on the first "run," as she came to describe the times she was raped by Garrido, a convicted sex offender who was on parole at the time he and his wife seized Dugard.

Giving birth, alone in a backyard and aged 14, was the most painful experience of her life, she said ahead of the book's publication, describing her thoughts about when she first saw her baby daughter.

"She was beautiful. I felt like I wasn't alone anymore. (I) had somebody else who was mine... and I know I could never let anything happen to her. I didn't know how I was going to do that, but I did," she told ABC news.

Phillip Garrido was given a prison sentence of 431 years in June, while his wife was jailed for 36 years to life, after the pair agreed a plea bargain over the crimes which shocked America and the world.

Dugard, 31, describes the moment she was kidnapped, while walking to school from her home in South Lake Tahoe, California on June 10, 1991 as "like the most horrible moment of your life times ten."

She recalled her rescue in August 2009 -- when Garrido took her and her two daughters with him to a parole meeting, and Dugard initially maintained the fiction that she was the Garridos' daughter.

But parole officers were suspicious, and she eventually confirmed her identity by writing down her real name -- an act she likened to re-igniting a flame which had been extinguished.

"The light came back ... it was very dark for so long ... but that light finally came back on," she said.

The California case led to angry questions about how Garrido had been free to kidnap Dugard, even though he was on parole and subject to tight monitoring by authorities.

Since being freed, Dugard has been living at a secret location with her family, including her two daughters by Garrido. California has paid Dugard $20 million in compensation for her suffering.

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