While it’s wonderful that Jaycee Lee Dugard was found alive, after spending 18 years of her life as a prisoner of Phillip and Nancy Garrido, many are starting to question why on earth she wasn’t found sooner. Law enforcement missed multiple opportunities to find Dugard. In 2006, an anonymous caller phoned police and said that Garrido was “psychotic” and that they had heard children’s voices in the backyard — where Dugard was being held — yet police never even searched his property. And then in 2008, the police did a sweep of registered sex offenders in Garrido’s area, yet they only visited his home but never searched it.
There may have been a third opportunity as well. Police are now searching for forensic evidence which links Phillip Garrido to the deaths of 10 prostitutes in the mid-to-late-90s. Several of the bodies were found near an industrial park where Garrido worked at the time. For the sake of argument, let’s say Garrido is responsible for these killings. Had Garrido been caught, Dugard likely would have been rescued 10 years ago. But unfortunately, when prostitutes are victims of violent crimes, their cases are not treated as high priority. How else to explain why the search for a serial killer has gone unsolved for so long?“No Humans Involved” (NHI) is an unofficial police term for the murders for prostitutes, transients, and homeless people, killings that are generally treated with a less of a priority than the murder of your average citizen. Can you imagine if 10 housewives had been murdered and the police suspected one person was responsible? It would be front page news! And had those murders gone unsolved, the person responsible still on the loose? The Contra Costa County police department would have been even more red-faced than they are now. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that heads would have rolled.
Instead, 10 prostitutes were murdered and their killer was never found. If that killer turns out to be Phillip Garrido, maybe people will finally show some outrage that killing sex workers should be treated with the same priority as everyone else. Jaycee Lee Dugard will have paid the price. [Times Online]