The raw emotion felt by so many after the discovery of a body in the Chelsea King disappearance surfaced when someone painted a threat on the home of the suspect’s family, but it boiled over when neighbors confronted two men who painted over the message.
A neighbor spotted the message “Chelsea’s blood is on you, move out” on the garage door of the home of John Albert Gardner’s mother and stepfather on Matinal Road in Rancho Bernardo and called police at 5:39 a.m. Wednesday. Just after 8 a.m. two men pulled up and started painting over the message.
A neighbor, who only wanted to be known as Fred, yelled at the men, "You should've left it." One of the men, who called himself Josh, replied “good day sir, have a great day.”
Fred pointed to Gardner’s parents house and yelled “Her blood, on their hands.”
“It’s a beautiful day out there sir,” Josh, replied.
“A scumbag was there that killed somebody. Do you realize that?” Fred asked.
“Be mature sir,” Josh said.
“I am,” Fred shouted back. “I can see the sympathy you have for her. I can see it in your eyes. Get the hell out of this neighborhood. You don’t belong here. You’re scum, because you’re sitting here protecting someone who has killed an innocent girl. Get out of here!”
Josh told the media he doesn’t know Gardner and nobody hired him to paint over the message.
“We’re just doing a public service, because it looks like crap on the garage. No one wants to see that,” Josh said.
After the two men drove away, Fred explained his anger towards Gardner’s parents.
“This is absolutely outrageous that these folks allowed this creep, this creature, this monster to be staying in a house with a close proximity to these kids around here. You’ve got a school a few hundred yards down there; you’ve got a park a few hundred yards down there,” he said. “What did these parents do? They stuck their head in the sand.”
Fred said he has an 18-year-old stepdaughter and feels for Chelsea’s parents.
“Our hearts go out to them. There isn’t anybody in this whole area of Rancho Bernardo or San Diego that hasn’t been touched by this,” he said.
He also described how his neighborhood is feeling and why.
“They’re all extremely frustrated. How could these parents have allowed him to be there when there are children walking by on a daily basis, going to school, going to the park,” he said.
Other neighbors said they’re scared and feel threatened because people have been driving by and yelling comments.
“Yesterday it escalated,” neighbor James Rashger said. “A lot of people were pointing at that house, screaming bad words towards the house. Then it started getting directed towards the neighborhood.”
Police said they believed Gardner’s parents were not inside the home at the time.
“Vandalism like this, it’s so open, it’s not just on the house that’s targeted, it’s on the whole neighborhood and the residents are feeling threatened and this is becoming a real problem to them,” Lt. Dan Christman said.
Police said they would conduct a thorough witness check in the area.
“We take this very seriously. It is a crime and if we find the person who did it, we will prosecute. We will be adding extra patrols in this neighborhood,” Lt. Christman said.
Gardner, a registered sex offender, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of raping and murdering the 17-year-old girl, who disappeared after going for a jog.
A body believed to be that of Chelsea’s was discovered in a shallow grave two days after Gardner was booked on suspicion of rape and murder.
He had pleaded guilty a decade ago to molesting a 13-year-old female neighbor and served five years of a six-year prison term.
“We did not know that the gentleman had any background in 2000. We did not know what kind of monster was living in our neighborhood,” Rashger said.
San Diego police say Gardner is positively linked to an assault on a 22-year-old Colorado woman who managed to fend off her attacker on Dec. 27.
The body that was found yesterday has not been positively identified but San Diego County Sheriff William Gore says there's a "strong likelihood" that it's Chelsea's.
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