Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

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

Amber Dubois

Amber Dubois
Amber Dubois
Amber Dubois, 14, disappeared without a trace on February 13, 2009, a little more than a year before Chelsea King vanished, while walking to Escondido High School. She had a $200 check with her, which was to have been used to purchase a pet lamb. Gardner has recently come under police scrutiny in Amber's case, in part because he resided in an apartment complex approximately two miles from Escondido High School when the young teenager disappeared. He apparently lived at the apartment with a woman and her child for approximately one year, until about a month before Chelsea disappeared.

Amber's father, Maurice Dubois, said recently that Gardner was on a list of registered sex offenders that he reviewed with police after Amber vanished. Although Gardner "was on that list of sexual predators in the area," he did not know whether Gardner was questioned by the police regarding his daughter's case. He said that he could not help seeing connections between Amber's case and Chelsea's.

"In the back of our heads everyone in our family knows that yes, there's such a huge possibility that the likelihood (of a connection to Gardner) is at a much larger percentage than we could ever want it to be," Dubois said. "In our hearts we don't want to accept that. We are constantly going to keep searching for Amber. We feel she's still alive and we always will feel she's still alive until we find her and we have her home...I appreciate the opportunity to bring Amber up, but right now my heart is going out to Chelsea and the King family....My frustrations are immense. It has been a long, long year."

Police sketch of Lake Elsinore assailant
Police sketch of Lake Elsinore assailant
After Gardner's arrest in the Chelsea King case, Lake Elsinore police began investigating his possible connections to an attempted kidnapping of a 16-year-old girl in October 2009. A police artist sketch based on information provided by the girl, who escaped, chillingly resembled Gardner's mug shot.

In the October incident, the girl was walking to a friend's house in the Lakeland Village area near Lake Elsinore at approximately 7 a.m. one morning when a man in a gold four-door sedan pulled up alongside her and asked for directions. At one point he showed the girl a gun and told her to get inside his car, but the girl ran away and reported the incident to police.

"There are similarities," Lake Elsinore Police Chief Joe Cleary told reporters. "If there is a connection, we will track it down."

There are a number of other incidents in which young girls had been followed by a man in a black sedan who matched Gardner's description as they walked near their homes in Poway, Escondido, Rancho Bernardo, and Lake Elsinore, among others. Gardner has since been linked to a black sedan through a traffic citation. The car has also been seen parked in front of the home of one of Gardner's relatives in Rancho Bernardo, where Gardner was known to reside from time-to-time.

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