SAN FRANCISCO – Jaycee Dugard is emerging from obscurity after, police say, she spent 18 years as a captive in a sex offender’s yard, releasing the first photos of herself as an adult and her first statement.
A picture on the cover of People magazine, which hits newsstands Friday, shows Dugard smiling brightly, her light brown hair loosely falling on her shoulders. In other photos, she is snapped with her mother, sister Shayna and two daughters at an undisclosed Northern California location, where she has been since she resurfaced two months ago.
“I’m so happy to be back with my family,” she said in a statement to People. “Nothing is more important than the unconditional love and support I have from them.”
A family spokeswoman said Dugard wanted to release the photos because she knows people have been curious about how she is doing and what she looks like. She trusted that the magazine, which has covered several kidnappings, including hers in 1991, would be sensitive with the story, spokeswoman Erika Price Schulte said.
Dugard doesn’t want to put herself in the spotlight, Schulte said.
“This was a kind of thank you to the people who have expressed their support and shared their joy for her,” Schulte said.
Schulte declined to comment on whether Dugard has spoken about her captors or the 18 years she was kept from her family.
Dugard was reunited with her family Aug. 27 when police arrested an Antioch couple in her kidnapping. Phillip and Nancy Garrido have pleaded not guilty to rape and imprisonment.
Schulte said Dugard and her mother cook, go for walks, ride horses and laugh.
“I think it’s a much more normal life than most people probably assume,” Schulte said, while acknowledging there is still a lot of healing to be done.