My name is Tina Dugard and I am Jaycee’s maternal aunt. I could tell you about the grief, sorrow, anger, and helplessness I have felt during the 19 years Jaycee was gone. I could tell you story after story of a mother’s anguish, a sister’s heartache, and a family in crisis and pain. I could tell you of a family struggling to go on under a cloud of despair. But I won’t.
Today I would like to speak for another victim who is not here to speak for herself. Her name is Onita Dugard, my mother, Jaycee’s ninny. My mom died less than a year after Jaycee was stolen from us. I could give you the medical reasons why, but really, it all boils down to one thing. My mother died of a broken heart. Jaycee was the center of my mom’s world, as only a first grandchild can be. Facing life without her beloved Jaycee was more than my mom could handle. I wish she had found the strength to live for me, for my brothers and sisters, and for her other grandchildren. But she couldn’t. Losing Jaycee was simply devastating, and she just couldn’t recover.
So I have spent the last 20 years without my mom on Mother’s Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and her birthday. In times of grief and times of joy, I have been alone as only one who has lost her mother could be. I miss her so very much. When the kidnappers took my Jaycee, my mother was stolen from me too.