The mother of murdered North County teenager Amber Dubois confronted the author of a new book Thursday that details the death of her daughter, as well as the murder of teenager Chelsea King.
Author Caitlin Rother released “Lost Girls” Tuesday, a book detailing the murders of the two local teenage girls. The book was written without the permission of the families and includes a 15-page interview with the man who killed the teens, John Gardner.
Dubois,14, went missing in February 2009. Her remains were not found until March 2010, after Gardner was arrested and questioned following the rape and murder of Poway High School senior Chelsea King. King and Dubois were both kidnapped, raped and murdered by Gardner.
On Thursday, Rother held a book signing at a Barnes & Noble in Mira Mesa. In front of an audience, Rother explained why she wrote the book and took questions from the crowd.
“Let's try to fix these flaws -- the corrections system, the mental health system, the parole system. There were problems with all of them,” Rother told the crowd.
One question came from Amber Dubois’ mother, Carrie McGonigle, who was in the audience.
Earlier on Thursday, McGonigle and Chelsea's father Brent King released a joint statement admonishing Rother for profiting from the book.
“With the publication of an unauthorized new book, our families are being driven backwards at a time when we’re all working so hard to move forward," the two wrote. "We have already been through the most devastating storm of our lives so, although weathering this new one pales, we are deeply hurt."
McGonigle, along with the King family, said at the book signing that she did not want the book written for fear of reopening old wounds.
"I want to know if our system is still failing us when it comes to John Gardner,” McGonigle asked Rother at the book signing.
Rother interviewed Gardner in prison and McGonigle believes prison officials broke the rules by allowing it without a glass partition.
"He's segregated, so is our system failing us again by allowing a contact visit with a segregated prisoner?" McGonigle continued.
Rother said she wasn't sure about the answer to McGonigle’s question.
Mckenzie Lamont, a close friend of Chelsea King, was also in the audience at the book signing. Lamont voiced concerns over the release of Rother’s book and the impact it is having on King’s family.
“You can just see Kelly, Tyler and Brent [King] are really hurt by this; it's reopening everything with them," Lamont told NBC 7 San Diego. "We're all still trying to get some closure."
Lamont, along with Dubois’ and King’s parents, want Rother to donate all of the proceeds from the book to a victim’s support charity of her choice.
"This is how she can truly help others rather than simply helping herself to personal profit gained from our daughters’ deaths," Brent and Carrie wrote.
But despite the families’ request, Rother said her intent is not to make money off the families' pain.
“I have to make a living, I'm really not going to make much profit on this type of book so that really was not my motivation,” said Rother.
"I felt compelled to write about this," Rother said in an interview with our media partner North County Times. "I saw this opportunity to really educate people about sexual predators."