“THE BABY OF THE FAMILY”
Phillip Craig Garrido was born in Pittsburg, California, on April 5, 1951, to Manuel and Pat Garrido. His brother Ron was seven years older and the two brothers would never be close. The Garridos were a lower-middle-class family. Manuel worked as a forklift operator and Patricia as a secretary.
In the early 1950s, Pittsburg was a largely middle-class rural town, forty miles northeast of San Francisco. Originally known as Black Diamond for its rich coal deposits, the town lay on the busy State Route 4 highway, carrying commuters to Oakland and San Francisco.
“I had been raised in the country and lived in a very clean house,” Phillip wrote in 1978. “I was the baby of the family and spoiled in the long run.”
When Phillip was small, Manuel moved his family fifteen miles east on Route 4 to Brentwood. There they lived in a tiny house at the end of a dirt road, with Phillip sharing a room with Ron.
“Phillip and his brother Ron were good boys when growing up,” said their mother Pat. “But I always wished I could have had a daughter.”
Manuel Garrido was a strict father who often disciplined his youngest son, while his doting mother let him do whatever he wanted. Phillip was her favorite child and in her eyes he could do nothing wrong.
“I was more strict than his mother,” explained Manuel in 2009. “She gave him everything. Anything he wanted growing up, he got.”
Years later, Phillip told a psychiatrist that his parents had caused him “considerable emotional conflict” during his formative years.
Manuel Garrido remembered his younger son as a sweet, gentle, well-behaved child, who loved making people laugh.
“He was never any trouble,” he said. “He was bright, intelligent and polite.”
With his dark good looks and inscrutable smile, little Phillip Garrido could have been a choirboy. And from the very beginning he was a charmer, easily manipulating his parents and teachers to get exactly what he wanted.
He also had a natural sense of humor that the other kids liked.
“[He was] very popular with a lot of friends,” said his father. “They loved his jokes.”
By the time he entered Liberty High School at fourteen, his father had high hopes for his future.
“He was clever and good with his hands,” Manuel remembered. “He could do complex electronics.”
But he was a mediocre student, with little interest in his studies or school activities. Although he was now over six feet tall and athletic, Phillip disliked sports and did not belong to any school societies. But he loved rock music, spending hours in his bedroom, listening to his favorite British invasion bands, instead of doing his homework.
In 1967, San Francisco was ground zero of the Summer of Love, but according to his father, sixteen-year-old Phillip hated the flower children and what they represented.
“He'd see hippies with long hair,” said Manuel, “and laugh at them.”
But according to Manuel Garrido, everything changed when his son had a motorcycle accident, sustaining serious head injuries.
“They had to do surgery,” Manuel recalled. “He would talk funny and do funny things. After that, he was a different boy. Entirely different. That's when he started to change.”
Janice Gomes grew up near Brentwood and knew many of Phillip's Liberty High School friends.
“He got a very severe head injury,” said Gomes. “And after that they say he wasn't really the same.”
When he finally came out of hospital, Phillip grew his hair long, started smoking marijuana and taking LSD. He rarely attended classes and his grades plummeted.
Girls liked his new outlaw image, tall and devastatingly handsome with long flowing hair, and flocked to him.
He was now missing school, smoking grass every day and taking LSD at weekends, and to finance this he started dealing drugs.
“Then he got onto that LSD crap and he was gone,” said hisfather. “It ruined his life. He stopped going to school. He fell in with a bad crowd of Mexicans. He went nuts.”
After someone gave him an electric bass guitar, Phillip learned a few lines and formed a band, playing covers of Jefferson Airplane and Credence Clearwater Revival at local dances.
His 1968 junior year class photo had shown a clean-cut seventeen-year-old, his jet black hair smartly slicked back surfer-style. But the following year when Phillip Garrido graduated, there was no photograph for him in the Liberty High Yearbook.
In his last year at Liberty High, Phillip Garrido devoted himself to getting high and writing songs. He spoke about grandiose schemes to make millions of dollars, telling his father he could now talk to God.
“I thought he was weird, but not that weird,” recalled his classmate Steve Lucchesi. “I'm not sure if he was high all the time or saw things differently. But something went haywire.”
Phillip had converted an old shed at the bottom of his parents’ garden into his private den and rehearsal space. He painted it black and soundproofed it with mattresses, covering the walls with psychedelic posters. No one else was allowed inside, and he would spend hours in there getting high, playing guitar and masturbating to his growing collection of pornographic magazines.
“He was a sex addict,” explained his father. “He started going crazy. We tried to get him help, but what could a doctor do? The LSD had killed his brain.”
Lois Freitas, whose son Bill was in Phillip's class, remembers him as an outsider who never participated in any school activities.
“He was a lone wolf,” she recalled. “Not a lot of friends. A misfit. My niece knew him as well [and] said some of the girls were frightened of him.”
It was rumored that Phillip Garrido enticed innocent young girls into his shed in his parents’ garden with the promise of free drugs before taking advantage of them.
“He would drug girls and rape them,” said Janice Gomes, “and then they couldn't really go home and tell their parents, because they were under the influence of drugs. They didn't tell their parents or the police, and to this day a lot of them don't want to discuss it.”
Manuel Garrido now says his son was obsessed with deflowering young virgins, and made no secret of it.
“I lost count of the times my wife would tell me he brought another virgin back to the house,” said his father. “It was dozens. It was kind of like a trophy.”
Although Irene Thompson, who was in his English class, knew nothing of it, she still remembers the long-haired rebel well.
“He was sort of strange,” she said. “I just thought he was eccentric, not evil.”
But Carol Harris, who took the school bus with Phillip every day, says he made her uncomfortable.
“He gave me the creeps,” she recalled. “The way he looked at me. I just got a really bad feeling about him. You know when the hairs on the back of your neck stand up for no reason.”
So Harris always did her best to avoid him.
“I have a really good sense about people,” she said. “And with him I sensed danger.”
But not all Phillip Garrido's female classmates felt the same way. Christine Marie Perreira, a pretty brunette two years his junior, became his high school sweetheart. The pretty teen with a fashionable beehive hairdo faithfully followed him everywhere, although he treated her badly and would later beat her.
Soon after they started dating, Garrido was accused of raping a young girl. He talked his way out of trouble, insisting she was lying. And as it was just her word against his, it never went any further.
“He could talk you pretty much into anything,” said Christine.
Phillip had little interest in graduating high school, but as his father wanted his son to go to college, he offered to buy him a new blue Oldsmobile to graduate.
“We had a hell of a time getting him to graduate,” recalled his father. “He didn't want to go to school.”
In 1969, Phillip Garrido graduated from Liberty High School with a diploma, finishing the twelfth grade with B's, C's and D's. But his mediocre grades hardly mattered, as he had set his sights on becoming a rich rock star.
A few months later, Phillip Garrido was arrested in Contra Costa County for possession of marijuana and LSD. He was sent to the minimum-security Clayton Farm Facility. After serving his time, he moved back in with his parents, got a succession of odd jobs and resumed dealing drugs.
He was now part of the Antioch music scene, playing pick-up bass guitar with local musicians, wherever he could find a gig. And he had also started channeling his sick sexual fantasies about young girls into the lyrics of his derivative songs, influenced by his progressive rock idols—Emerson Lake & Palmer, the Moody Blues and Yes.
Sex now dominated his life. Where once he had satisfied his urges by masturbating to pornographic movies and magazines in his parents’ shed, he was now pleasuring himself in public.
Several years later, he would admit to masturbating in restaurants, amusement arcades and bars. He was also a Peeping Tom, peering through windows at women as they undressed.
He loved to get high and park his blue Oldsmobile outside schools, masturbating as he watched young girls as young as seven. Then he would open the car door and expose himself to them, with his pants down to his knees.
Later he would testify about his unusual practices at the local drive-in movie theater.
“I would take my automobile,” he said, “and I would put up on the side windows two towels … to keep anybody from seeing me. And I would sit in the back seat [and masturbate].”
Garrido's taste in pornography was also getting harder, and Playboy, Penthouse and Oui magazines no longer satisfied him.
“Well, I always looked at women that are naked,” he explained, “but there has been a type of bondage picture. Women in handcuffs, chained. There is [a certain] position that the women are in the magazines.”
Garrido now took large doses of LSD and masturbated for hours, believing the hallucinogenic drug increased his sexual pleasure by quantum leaps.
“I just increased it into a realm,” he explained, “that I didn't even realize.”
On May 28, 1970, nineteen-year-old Phillip Garrido had his second run-in with the law, being arrested for marijuana and put on probation. Eight months later his parents divorced, with his mother Pat moving out of the family house.
“We separated in 1971,” said Manuel Garrido. “And I haven't talked to her since. I had nothing to do with her. Then [Phillip] left home at nineteen.”
According to his brother Ron, Phillip fled town in a big hurry, after discovering local drug dealers had taken out a contract on his life.
Excerpted from Lost and Found by John Glatt.
Copyright © 2010 by John Glatt.
Published in 2010 by St. Martin's Press
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