Rape victim shares her horrifying story to help change lives

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - She was kidnapped, held captive and raped over and over again for hours, and by the same man now accused of a high profile kidnapping in California.

Katie Callaway Hall is now a renowned national speaker.  She retold her personal story of survival before an audience at the annual Smith County District Attorney's Office Crime Victims Rights Conference.

"The parole system let him out, did not notify me, and three years afterward, he kidnapped Jaycee Lee Dugard," recalled Callaway Hall.

Jaycee Lee Dugard went missing nearly 20 years ago from her California neighborhood.  She was, allegedly, held captive until her escape last August by Phillip Garrido.

KLTV 7 does not normally identify victims of sexual assault, but Callaway Hall said it's important for her story to be told.

"I am so angry that [Garrido] was able to do this," she said.

Dugard was went missing in 1991, but 15 years earlier, Garrido kidnapped Katie Callaway Hall.  She said she was forced to drive across the California state line to a storage unit in Reno, Nevada.  That's where Callaway Hall said she was held for hours, and repeatedly raped.

She said a policeman noticed the out-of-states plates on her car outside the unit.  Moments later, she was rescued.

"I went to court and prosecuted [Garrido] and he went to prison," she said. "I tried to tell the parole agents that he was dangerous."

Garrido was sentenced to 50 years in Hall's case, but was paroled after serving 11 years.

Callaway Hall said she was watching television when she learned of Jaycee Dugard's escape from the alleged suspect she knew, too well.

"It opened up a Pandora's box of emotions," Callaway Hall said.  "Had I been more proactive, had I been more aggressive in pursuing the parole officers, could I have stopped Garrido from getting Jaycee? I tend to think of my life, before, as a victim living in the shadows of my victimization."

Callaway Hall said life has changed.  She is now seeing a counselor, and spends time speaking to victims and their advocates.

"The whole system seems to be focused on the criminal," she said.

"This is a tough business to be in," said Matt Bingham, Smith County District Attorney.  "[Victim's advocates] deal with cases where people have been hurt, everyday."

Bingham said there is always room for improvement.

"If a victim counselor had kept saying, 'I'm here, let me help,' I would have allowed it," said Callaway Hall.

She said being able to share her story has slowly helped her find closure.  She said she hopes her life-changing story doesn't just change the system, but impact other lives.

The Victims' Rights Conference continues Friday.  Katie Callaway Hall said prosecutors in Jaycee Dugard's case have contacted her.  She said, if asked, she will gladly testify should the case go to trial.

Copyright 2010 KLTV. All rights reserved.