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. “She’s eager to live a quiet life right now with her daughters, mother and sister.”
Schulte declined to comment on whether Dugard has spoken about her captors or the 18 years she was kept from her family. Dugard’s attorney has previously said that she understands terrible things have happened to her and she is prepared to testify if necessary.
People magazine has been in contact with family representatives since the story broke and has a strong relationship with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said Betsy Gleick, the publication’s executive director.
“These tales of hope are few and far between,” she said. “She’s doing well, but there is a long, difficult road ahead.”
Gleick would not disclose details of the arrangement the magazine had made with Dugard for the photos, but said, “People, like lots of news outlets, does pay for photos, and we have in the past.”
The Associated Press doesn’t pay newsmakers for interviews, to take their photographs or to film or record them.
Schulte said Dugard does not plan to do any interviews, but said Dugard’s mother, Terry Probyn, would likely write a book. People magazine said Probyn is writing a book about her experience for Broadway Books that is expected next spring, and Dugard might contribute the foreword.
The Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House that includes Broadway Books, did not immediately return an e-mail Wednesday seeking comment.
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.
Among the pictures is one of Dugard on a horse, which she rides as part of therapy. Another shows Dugard with her daughters, Angel, 15, and Starlit, 11. That picture does not show the girls’ faces.
“Jaycee has done a remarkable job with them,” Schulte said. “They are bright and curious and interested in all kinds of things.”