Diane Sawyer on The Inspiring Story of Jaycee Dugard

ABC World News journalist Diane Sawyer talks about her interview with abduction survivor Jaycee Dugard.

Diane Sawyer and Jaycee Dugard

In 1991, a child abduction made headlines nationwide when 11-year-old Jaycee Lee Dugard was kidnapped from her school bus stop just a short walk from her own home. She was held captive by Phillip and Nancy Garrido for more than 18 years, in which time she was raped repeatedly and bore two daughters. All hope seemed lost for finding Jaycee until a suspicisious visit to Phillip's parole officer reopened the investigation.

Two years after her return, Jaycee is ready to tell her amazing story of survival. ABC World News journalist Diane Sawyer spoke with Jaycee exclusively in an interview to air Sunday, July 10, at 9 p.m. Eastern. Here, Sawyer shares with Beliefnet what inspired her most about this brave young woman.

Q.  Tell me what surprised you the most about Jaycee?

A. If we look at the fact that there are 20,000 stranger abductions every year in this country, a tiny handful are long term ones and 40 percent of those don’t come back alive. She has come back alive, and she has come back remembering. She says she is ready to stare down what happened to her, and most of all, it is so redeeming. She does something I didn’t think was possible when I first heard this story;  she takes what happens to her and turns it into a life-affirming lesson for everybody else about how you survive, how you hold on to hope, about how you treasure every part of your day.

Q. How did she survive? That’s one of the questions that everyone wants to know. After all of the things that she has been through, how can she come out so positive?

A. I think we’re going to learn a lot about how she used little stories, words and curiosity to find one thing in every day that would give the day value – no matter what awful things were being done to her. She had the little flame of hope that she kept alive, looking at the moon and dreaming of her mother. By the way, when I say looking at the moon, the window was covered with a towel and bars. So, she could just see the shimmering reflection through the towel. It's also about how she valued life and then ultimately protected her daughters.

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Jennifer E. Jones
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