Terry Probyn came home late from her second job and stepped outside her home in Riverside to gaze at a large, bright full moon on the night of Aug. 23, 2009.
"OK, Jaycee, where the hell are you?" Probyn called out, continuing a dialogue with her daughter, Jaycee Lee Dugard, who had been kidnapped 18 years earlier.
That same night, 420 miles to the north, Dugard had "an uncontrollable desire" to look up at the moon from the backyard of a convicted sex offender's house in Antioch.
"It was full and it made her think of me," Probyn said.
Three days later, Dugard and the two daughters she had during her captivity were freed from the clutches of Phillip Garrido, who is now serving a 431-year prison sentence for kidnapping, rape and false imprisonment.
Probyn, 53, held a crowd of about 300 people spellbound Tuesday in Santa Rosa as she recounted the "18 hellish years" of separation from Dugard, who at age 11 was snatched from a South Lake Tahoe street on June 10, 1991 in one of California's most notorious kidnappings.
Probyn was the guest speaker at a Sonoma County Crime Victims' Rights Week event at the Family Justice Center on Mendocino Avenue.
It was just the second time she had told her story in a public setting, Probyn said.
"I'm just a mom," she told a crowd that included all five Sonoma County supervisors, District Attorney Jill Ravitch, Sheriff Steve Freitas and numerous law enforcement officials and victims' advocates. "I'm up here shaking."
Probyn said she bears "an overwhelming sadness and incredible anger" over the "18 hellish years" of separation from her daughter.