(raw video; The Garridos leave court) ANTIOCH -- As Phillip Craig Garrido and his wife pleaded not guilty Friday to kidnapping an 11-year-old girl and imprisoning her as a sex slave for 18 years, police began picking through his house outside Antioch to determine whether there is evidence tying him to a string of prostitute killings in the 1990s.
Police are staying tight-lipped about the new search, but they say Garrido worked in the area where some of the prostitutes' bodies were found.
Garrido, 58, and his 55-year-old wife, Nancy Garrido, were arraigned on a total of 29 charges of rape and kidnapping in connection with the 1991 abduction of Jaycee Lee Dugard. Sitting in the jury box with their hands chained to their waists, neither spoke a word during the four-minute hearing in El Dorado County Superior Court in Placerville, letting their court-appointed public defenders enter their pleas for them.
Phillip Garrido looked frail and thin and sat stoically. His wife kept her head hung low, face covered by her long hair, and sobbed.
Both could spend the rest of their lives in prison if convicted of all counts. Phillip Garrido is already a registered sex offender.
Superior Court Judge Doug Phimister ordered the couple held without bail.
They are accused of kidnapping Dugard outside her South Lake Tahoe home in 1991, when she was 11, and taking her to their property outside Antioch. There, authorities say, she was kept in a secret, ramshackle compound in the backyard and forced to have sex with Phillip Garrido. She gave birth to two of Garrido's daughters, now 15 and 11, authorities say.
Dugard, now 29, and her daughters are in a motel in the Antioch area. Her reunion with her parents has gone well, according to statements made by her stepfather, Carl Probyn.
The Garridos were arrested Wednesday when Dugard told a state parole officer that she was the child who had been kidnapped 18 years ago. The officer was interviewing the family after being told that Phillip Garrido had behaved strangely with his two young daughters on a visit to UC Berkeley.
Police return to home
While the Placerville court hearing was unfolding, police were conducting a new search of the Garridos' home on Walnut Avenue on unincorporated land just outside Antioch.
Officers had been poring over the home and its backyard collection of tents and shacks this week for evidence in the Dugard kidnapping case. But this time, they were hunting for clues in the killings a decade ago of about 10 prostitutes in the Pittsburg area, said Capt. Dan Terry of the Contra Costa County sheriff's office.
"Pittsburg police, for whatever reason, decided he was a person of interest," Terry said.
He said some of the women's bodies were found in 1998 and 1999 in an industrial area near where Garrido worked. Among those found strangled, stabbed and dumped in ditches in a two-month period were Valerie Schultz, 27, Rachael Cruise, 32, and Jessica Frederick, 24.
A month before those slayings started, in November 1998, the body of Lisa Norrell, 15 - younger and not a prostitute - was found in the same area.
Terry said Garrido has been interviewed by authorities about the killings but has said nothing to indicate he was involved.
UC officers' role
Also Friday, UC Berkeley police recounted how campus officers' suspicions were raised on Tuesday when Garrido brought his two young daughters to the university to discuss holding an event related to God, the FBI and other topics.
The officers said the children behaved robotically and were unusually subdued for girls their age, staring straight ahead with "penetrating blue eyes" and answering questions as if rehearsed.
The pale, blond girls were wearing drab sundresses, "like 'Little House on the Prairie' meets robots," Officer Ally Jacobs said.
"The younger daughter was staring directly at me, as if she was looking into my soul, with this eerie smile on her face," Jacobs said. "I just got a weird, uneasy feeling."
Jacobs checked Garrido's background, saw that he had been convicted of rape and kidnapping in the 1970s and was a registered sex offender, and contacted his parole officer. She told the parole officer that Garrido was accompanied by two daughters.
"He said, 'Garrido doesn't have any daughters,' " she recalled. "At that point, my stomach just sank."
Chronicle staff writer Henry K. Lee contributed to this report. E-mail the writers at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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