Registered sex offender John Albert Gardner III, the man charged in the murder and rape of Poway teenager Chelsea King, could be tied to the case of missing Escondido teenager Amber Dubois, according to Amber's father Maurice Dubois.
Amber Dubois was last seen Feb. 13, 2009 while walking to Escondido High School. At the time, Gardner lived just two miles from Escondido High School in the Rock Springs East apartment complex.
Amber's father has said he can't help but draw connections between his daughter's case and Chelsea King's and that he's spoken with investigators with Escondido police as well as the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
Escondido police Lt. Craig Carter told the North County Times Wednesday his agency contacted Gardner "no less than eight times" during the two years he lived in the city, including two months after Amber went missing.
Carter, however, would not say whether Gardner was contacted specifically about Amber's disappearance or characterize any of the eight contacts, the paper reported. He did say that Gardner had been visited by police the month before and the month after Amber vanished.
Moe Dubois attended Gardner's arraignment wearing an Amber button on his suit lapel. After, he spoke to reporters about the King family and about the possibility that Gardner could be responsible for 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.”
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.
Gardner pleaded not guilty to charges at his arraignment Wednesday. He's due back in court on March 9 for a status hearing. A preliminary hearing is set for March 18.