Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Disappearance and Murder of 17-Year-Old Chelsea King

The Police Are Called

As it became dark outside, with no word from Chelsea, Brent and Kelly King became increasingly worried. Chelsea was not answering her cell phone, either, and it was out of character for her to just go off somewhere without keeping her parents informed of her whereabouts. Her parents called several of her closest friends to see if she was with any of them, but no one had seen her. If she had been merely running late, her parents believed she would have called.

Chelsea King
Chelsea King
Unable to reach her, Chelsea's parents contacted the police. They also went to their cellular provider's Web site which, using the GPS feature of her phone, traced the phone's location. It was still at Rancho Bernardo Community Park, a large heavily-wooded recreation area that ran along part of San Diego's northern border. When Chelsea's father arrived at the park, he quickly found her 1994 BMW using the coordinates from the cellular provider. Chelsea's phone, iPod, school clothes and other personal items were inside her car. Fearing for his daughter's safety and well-being, Brent King saw a running trail not far from Chelsea's car that went into the woods. Running as fast as he could, he followed the trail, calling out Chelsea's name in every direction. Sadly, there was no response. The initial efforts of the San Diego Police Department and San Diego County Sheriff's Department deputies also proved futile.

As the first day drew to a close, the law enforcement agencies involved issued a missing person bulletin that described Chelsea as 5 feet 5 inches tall, 115 pounds, with blue eyes and strawberry blonde hair.

"She is one of the most driven, personable, caring people that you could ever meet," her father said. "Her goal in life is to brighten everyone's day. That's what she does, and when she walks into the room, you know she's there."

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