Chelsea King, 17, was murdered in the park after she went out for a run on Feb. 25. Her body was found a few days later, on March 2, by searchers in the park not far from the shore of Lake Hodges. At the time she was found, the area was largely overgrown, but as crime-scene investigators worked the site, the area where the shallow grave was located was denuded.
Since then, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of mourners and curiousity-seekers have sought out the spot, some leaving crosses and flowers at the scene. On a recent night, many of the people walking by stopped and spent a few quiet moments before they moved on.
One woman who stopped by with her husband said Chelsea's killing has "torn this community into shreds." She said she had to go to the spot just to "let Chelsea know that she will always think about her."
John Gardner, who was arrested shortly after Chelsea's body was found, later confessed to the teen's murder and also to the killing of Escondido teenager Amber Dubois, 14, who was killed on Feb. 13, 2009. He is expected to be sentenced next week to life in prison without the possibility of parole.