“First off, I’d like to express, on behalf of Amber’s entire family, our deepest (pause), our deepest sympathy and condolences to Chelsea and the King family,” Maurice Dubois said. “It’s not the result any of us were hoping to hear and I promise you Chelsea’s going to be in our hearts for the rest of our lives.”
Dubois’ daughter, Amber, was last seen Feb. 13, 2009 while walking to Escondido High School. Dubois sees similarities in the Chelsea King case and his own daughter's disappearance.
“In the back of our heads everyone in our family knows that yes, there’s such a huge possibility that the likelihood 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.”
At the time of Amber’s disappearance, Gardner lived just two miles from Escondido High School in the Rock Springs East apartment complex. One neighbor said Gardner had moved out about a month ago but had been living in the complex for a year with a woman and a two-year old child.
Amber's father said he couldn’t help but draw connections between his daughter's case and Chelsea King’s case.
“We have already spoken with law enforcement. Both agencies, ours in Escondido as well as the Sheriff’s [investigators] who are handling the case here,” he said.
Dubois said this isn’t the first time he’s heard the name John Gardner.
“We did pull a list of all sexual predators at the time Amber went missing. He was on that list of sexual predators in the area,” he said.
Dubois said it has been a long and frustrating year for him and his family, but didn’t want to take away from Chelsea’s disappearance.
“Our hearts are going out to their family and I want to keep this day on Chelsea. I appreciate the opportunity to bring Amber up, but right now my heart is going out to Chelsea and the King family,” he said.
Dubois also had some advice for parents.
“Educate your kids early,” he said. “Use such things as a ‘what if’ game, teach your kids at a young age to start thinking analytically. Ask them questions, what would you do if you couldn’t find me in a grocery store, see how they answer.”
He said it will help them in the future.
“I also would strongly suggest that any parent and kid, if your child is ever faced with someone trying to abduct them with a weapon or anything, fight, scream, yell, do whatever you can to possibly get away. Do not let that person get you under their control,” Dubois said.
John Albert Gardner III pleaded not guilty in the rape and slaying of 17-year-old Chelsea King. Gardner is due back in court on March 9 for a status hearing. A preliminary hearing is set for March 18.