South Shore never forgot Jaycee Lee Dugard | TahoeDailyTribune.com

South Shore never forgot Jaycee Lee Dugard

Elaine Goodman / Tahoe Daily Tribune

The kidnapping of 11-year-old Jaycee Lee Dugard as she headed to a South Shore bus stop 18 years ago sent reverberations through the community that are still felt today, an investigator who worked on the case said.

Since Dugard’s abduction on June 10, 1991, parents have no longer felt it’s safe to let their children walk to school or the bus stop alone, said El Dorado County Sheriff’s Lt. Les Lovell, one of the detectives who investigated Dugard’s disappearance.

And even years after the adbuction, investigators have always been on the lookout for new information in the case – even if that news was potentially grim.

“Every time we had a citizen bring in a bone – a bear or a deer or whatever – we always thought, this is our crime scene. But it never panned out,” Lovell said.

Thursday’s news that Dugard is alive and well was unexpected and exciting, Lovell said.

“Historically, these things don’t end well,” Lovell said.

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Dugard walked into a Concord-area police station Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.

“We’re convinced it’s her,” said Lovell, adding that Dugard had spoken with her mother and shared information that only the two of them would have known.

Despite the happy ending, Lovell said Dugard’s disappearance and the 18 years of disruption to family members’ lives remained a tragedy.

Law enforcement will release further details of the investigation at a 3 p.m. press conference today.

Meanwhile, South Shore resident Missy Odlin is asking residents to decorate their homes, cars or even themselves with pink ribbons as a way to celebrate Dugard’s reappearance.

Odlin’s son was 6 and in kindergarten at Dugard’s school in Meyers when the girl disappeared. At the time, classmates started a pink ribbon campaign to show their hope for her safe return.

“She’ll know we’ve been thinking about her every day,” Odlin said of the pink-ribbon idea.