Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

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

Parole Violations

John Albert Gardner
John Albert Gardner
Despite incurring at least seven parole violations after his release from prison for the 2000 assault on the 13-year-old girl, Gardner somehow managed to stay under law enforcement's radar and elude suspicion for the several unsolved incidents. According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the violations did not warrant sending him back to prison. In four of the violations, the GPS tracking device he was required to wear had a low battery. He failed to show up for a scheduled meeting with his parole officer on another occasion, and once had been charged with possession of marijuana. The most serious violation was when he moved into an apartment near Miramar College, which had a daycare center on sitethe apartment was also within 500 yards of a high school and a community park.

Chelsea King
Chelsea King
According to police officials, it appeared that Gardner managed to avoid becoming a suspect in many of the cases being investigated, including those of Chelsea King and Amber Dubois, because he was registered as a sex offender in different counties from those in which the crimes were occurring, and had slipped through the cracks in the system. When Chelsea vanished, police checked photographs of sex offenders registered in the San Diego area, but Gardner's photo was not in the local files because he was registered in another locale. Similarly, during the investigation of an attack against a 16-year-old girl in Riverside County in 2009, Gardner was not in those police files, either, although in hindsight law enforcement came to believe he might have been involved.

"Obviously, there are loopholes [in the system] and he seems to have found them, either by design or by happenstance," said Marc Klaas. Klaas started Klaaskids Foundation following the murder of his own daughter, Polly, who was kidnapped from a slumber party in 1993 and later found murdered.

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