Jaycee Dugard Case Eerily Similar to Women in Cleveland

Dugard and her mother spoke at awards dinner in Washington, D.C. Tuesday night

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Dugard normally keeps a low profile, but tonight spoke publicly as she was honored by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

    The tale of three young Ohio women being trapped in a Cleveland home for about a decade - and finally being freed on Monday - rings eerily similar to the sad story of Jaycee Dugard, taken at age 11 and kept hidden in the back of an Antioch home until she was freed in 2009.

    Coincidentally, Dugard was honored Tuesday night in Washington, DC. with a "Hope Award," given by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. 

    You can watch her speech by clicking on the video at the top of this article. 

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    The ceremony was planned long ago, but it was clear it made the event even more special for Dugard. "What an amazing time to be talking about hope," she said, "with everything that's happening."

    In a statement released Tuesday morning, Dugard said the Cleveland women should not let what happened to them define them:

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    Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight had been held since they went missing when they were in their teens or early 20s. On Monday, Berry managed to escape and call 911. Robert Kovacik reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on May 6, 2013.

    "These individuals need the opportunity to heal and connect back into the world. This isn't who they are. It is only what happened to them. The human spirit is incredibly resilient. More then ever this reaffirms we should never give up hope.''

    Dugard is referring to Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight - all of whom have been held since they were teens or early 20s.  A 6-year-old girl was also found; she is thought to be Berry's daughter. Knight disappeared in 2002, Berry in 2003 and DeJesus about a year after that.

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    Officials said three brothers are in custody and identified them Tuesday as former school bus driver Ariel Castro, 52; Pedro Castro 54; and Onil Castro, 50. The women esccaped on Monday, with a frenzied cry for help. A neighbor heard screaming and prompted an investigation.

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    Dugard's kidnapping captured the attention of the Bay Area - and beyond - in 1991, when she was abducted from a street in South Lake Tahoe while walking home from a school bus stop. She was missing - and presumed dead - for 18 years.

    But in August of 2009, Phillip Craig Garrido - who turned out to be a convicted sex offender - visited the campus of the University of California at Berkeley with two girls. Their odd behavior sparked an investigation that led to his bringing the girls to a parole office on August 26, accompanied by a young woman who was then identified as Dugard.

    Garrido, 58, and his wife Nancy Garrido, 54, of Antioch, California, were arrested for kidnapping and other charges. On April 28, 2011, they pleaded guilty to Dugard's kidnapping and sexual assault.

    Dugard was kept in a concealed area behind Garrido's house in Antioch for 18 years. During this time, Dugard bore two daughters who were ages 11 and 15 at the time of her reappearance.

    On June 2, 2011, Phillip Garrido was sentenced to 431 years imprisonment; his wife received 36 years to life.

    Since her escape, Dugard has been vocal about her story; she's appeared on Oprah, Good Morning America and the cover of People magazine. She also created the JAYC Foundation to provide support to families who have experienced abduction.

    Another little girl who was kidnapped here in the Bay Area is Midsi Sanchez of Vallejo. Sanchez, now adult, was kidnapped by Curtis Dean Anderson in August 2000. He held her for 40 hours before she found a way to escape. NBC Bay Area talked to her today to get her perspective about the kidnapping case in Ohio.

    View more videos at: http://nbcbayarea.com.