Missing Poway Teen's Parents Cling to Hope

Poway teen Chelsea King went for a run and never returned home

By Michelle Wayland
|  Monday, Mar 8, 2010  |  Updated 7:58 AM PDT
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Images: Chelsea King

Rory Devine

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Major Search Efforts for Missing Poway Teen

Chelsea King may have been abducted.

Missing Teen May Have Been Abducted: FBI

Her cell phone was found inside the car along with her school clothes, which leads investigators to think she was in running clothes when she disappeared.
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With hundreds of volunteers crowded around, Chelsea King’s rain soaked and emotional father held up a post-it note taken from his daughter’s bathroom.

“They can because they think they can,” the quotation read.

“We think we can bring her home,” Brent King told the crowd, clinging to hope that his missing daughter will be found safe.

So many volunteers turned up to help on Saturday that more than 700 were turned away. Chelsea’s mother was overwhelmed with the support.

“My heart is overflowing,” Kelly King told the crowd.

When a reporter asked how they were holding up, Chelsea’s father said “minute by minute.”

“Everybody started crying,” said a reporter at the scene.

A $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the Chelsea ‘s whereabouts.

In stormy conditions, the intensive search turned from land to water, with dive teams in Lake Hodges and its tributaries, the San Diego County sheriff said Saturday.

The FBI is now involved in the case, looking into the possibility that Chelsea may have been abducted. Investigators have taken Chelsea’s computer and cell phone into custody, according to Sheriff Bill Gore.

Friends, neighbors and family members joined search and rescue teams from San Diego, Santa Barbara and Riverside counties as well as San Diego police to search for the Poway High School student who has been missing since Thursday afternoon.

King, 17, went for a run about 2 p.m. Thursday at Rancho Bernardo Community Park. When it got dark and her parents hadn't heard from her, they became worried and called police.

“Anybody out there, if you know anything, please just help us bring her home. She’s such a good girl, she needs to come home,” Kelly King said.

Deputies were able to track the long-distance runner’s cell phone and find her black BMW at the park. Her cell phone was found inside the car along with her school clothes, which leads investigators to think she was in running clothes when she disappeared.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Dept. Search and Rescue team, San Diego police search dogs and rescue teams from Riverside and Santa Barbara spent Friday searching an area south of Lake Hodges and north of the Rancho Bernardo Glassman Recreation Center where Chelsea started her run.

A reverse 911 was also put in place to get the word out to the surrounding area.

“We still have not located her and we’re just praying for Chelsea to get home and find us,” her father Brent King told reporters.

Hundreds of friends were searching for the missing teen, but officials said their scent could complicate the search.

Instead, they set up a base camp at the Rancho Bernardo Glassman Recreation Center and made flyers, which they planned to distribute as far south as Tijuana and as far north as Los Angeles.

“All the volunteers that are out there now and they’ve been out there all night, thank you,” Chelsea’s mother said.

Friends say Chelsea is a college-bound senior at Poway high school and well liked by everyone. They're stunned by her disappearance.

"I'm incredibly worried. I mean she's like my best friend I can't even describe what I feel," Mckenzie Lamont said. "She's responsible, she never gets into trouble. This is just out of her character."

Chelsea had run cross-country for Poway High and friends say it wasn't uncommon for her to run for hours at a time. She was also a peer counselor and played the French horn. Lamont says when she didn't show up for symphony Thursday night -- they got worried.

"I think everyone's still in their shock phase. This doesn't feel real to anyone yet," Chelsea's friend Susan Rudiger said. "We're just trying to keep our negative thoughts inside right now and really just try to stay positive in a time like this."

“She must be an amazing person because there are a lot of friends and family that are standing here,” Caldwell said. “That’s a testimony to the kind of girl that she is.”

Chelsea is described as having strawberry blonde hair, blue eyes; she’s about 5 foot 5 inches tall and weighs 115 pounds. If you have any information regarding her whereabouts, please contact investigators.

“Anything you can do, look at her picture, look for her, please keep your eyes and ears open and pray for her,” her father pleaded.
Anyone with information on her whereabouts should contact the Sheriffs Department at (858) 565-5200.

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