RENO — Police are scouring records of unsolved cases in Northern Nevada to determine if any match the profile of the man charged in the abduction and assault of a California girl 18 years ago.
The cold cases include the 1989 slayings of two Reno children who vanished near their school bus stop.
Investigators are looking for similarities between numerous cases and Phillip Garrido’s method of operation in the case of Jaycee Dugard, Reno police Lt. Mike Whan said. Dugard resurfaced last week in California after being snatched near her school bus stop in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., in 1991 at the age of 11.
"There might not be any link between the cases and him, but we’d be crazy not to look at the possibility," he said.
Jennifer and Charles Chia were kidnapped on the 100-yard walk from the bus stop to their home, Whan said. The remains of the 6- and 7-year-old siblings were found nine months later near Blairsden, Calif., about 60 miles northwest of Reno.
He said the cases under review either occurred around 1976, when Garrido kidnapped and sexually assaulted a 25-year-old woman while living in Reno, or in the years after Garrido was paroled from a Nevada prison in 1988.
The 1976 victim, Katherine Callaway Hall, told police Garrido said he had abducted two girls, one from the San Francisco Bay Area and one possibly from Las Vegas.
"Anything is possible with this guy," Whan said. "This guy would be a better suspect than others, based on the prior crimes he has committed."
Garrido, 58, and his wife, Nancy Garrido, 54, have pleaded not guilty to 29 counts of kidnapping, rape and false imprisonment in Dugard’s disappearance.
Police say the Garridos held Dugard captive in a backyard encampment of tents and sheds in Antioch, Calif., and Garrido fathered two children with Dugard. Both Garridos are being held without bail.
Another unsolved Reno case under review involves 7-year-old Monica DaSilva, snatched from her bedroom as she slept in 1990. Her remains were found three weeks later east of Reno.
Whan noted the disappearances of DaSilva, the Chia siblings and Dugard occurred in the same time frame and area after Garrido’s parole. Garrido admittedly had a process of finding females and committing sex acts with them, he said.
"During that time period, we had those child abduction cases and since then we haven’t had any," Whan said. "Kind of interesting."
Hall said Garrido told her the night she was raped in 1976 that he had come to Lake Tahoe specifically for the purpose of abducting a girl.
"The whole scheme was planned for weeks," she said he told her.
A federal prosecutor testified at Garrido’s 1977 trial that Garrido had tried unsuccessfully to kidnap another woman just an hour before he approached Hall.
Garrido was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison but was paroled after serving less than 11 years. He was arrested and jailed from April 4, 1993, until May 10, 1993, for violating parole terms, said Cranston Mitchell, U.S Parole Commission vice chairman. Garrido was then confined to his home until Aug. 31, 1993, and remained on federal parole until March 1999.
Garrido’s parole file shows he was convicted in state court of marijuana possession in 1970 and 1973 and was sentenced to probation both times, Mitchell said.
All police agencies in the Reno-Tahoe area are examining open cases for any links to Garrido, Nevada Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Gail Powell said. FBI spokesman David Staretz said his agency is working with local police on the cold cases.
"We are currently looking at all unsolved female disappearances / kidnappings and a couple of homicides," Staretz said by e-mail. "We are attempting to track Garrido’s activities while in Reno in 1976 and after his parole."
Several Reno police detectives are scouring records on microfiche, contacting retired investigators and seeking other physical evidence, such as DNA, Whan said.
Reno police are giving top priority to unsolved murder, kidnapping and sexual assault cases involving females over missing persons cases.
South Lake Tahoe police are looking at a number of unsolved killings, including that of a 17-year-old girl who was slain the same year Garrido kidnapped and raped Hall, Lt. Martin Hale said.
Washoe County Assistant Sheriff Marshall Emerson said his department is reviewing several cold cases that date back to the 1970s to determine whether they could be linked to Garrido. He hasn’t been named as a person of interest in any of the unsolved cases.