The XX Factor

Could Any Kid Become Jaycee Dugard?

Torie, you are right that Jaycee Dugard’s story is utterly flabbergasting . How to make sense of a case of Stockholm Syndrome that’s this long-lasting ? ( Dugard was 11 when she was kidnapped; now she’s 29.) And also this extreme - she had two children, now 11 and 15 themselves, with her kidnapper. I’ve never read anything about Elizabeth Smart or the teenage boy you mention, Shawn Hornbeck, that helped me make sense of their parallel stories, either. And it’s the victims, not the perpetrators, I can’t help focusing on. They are the mystery. My question now seems like the obvious one for parents: Would an 11-year-old girl have to be especially vulnerable to fall prey to such a psychological as well as physical snare? Or could this happen to a normal kid? And how real a phenomenon is Stockholm Syndrome to begin with?

Photo by El Dorado County Sheriff via Getty Images.