A vigil is planned Monday night to remember Amber Dubois, the Escondido teenager who disappeared more than a year ago and whose body were found over the weekend.
Skeletal remains found on the Pala Reservation east of Interstate 15 and bisected by state route 76 have been positively identified as Amber, according to Escondido police.
Amber's parents, Maurice Dubois and Carrie McGonigle, thanked supporters and searchers after the discovery was announced Sunday. Privately, Maurice Dubois said that the number one thing that he wants to do now is to change the laws when it comes to sexual predators.
Amber’s mother was described as “absolutely crushed.” She had hope that her daughter would be found alive. McGonigle said that she had believed in her heart her daughter was still alive. It was that hope that was the driving force behind the months and months of searching for her.
Amber Dubois' grandmother, Sheila Welch, released a statement Sunday, "Her loss dims life as we know it and words cannot express the depth of our anguish."
"Beloved Amber. You will forever be in our hearts as a flame of love that burns eternal," Welch wrote.
Escondido police and San Diego County Sheriff's investigators were following a lead in the case when they made this discovery, according to Chief Jim Maher.
Media packed the briefing room at the Escondido police department on West Grand Avenue at 3:30 p.m. Sunday after news leaked that there had been a major development in the case.
Amber's parents, Maurice Dubois and Carrie McGonigle approached the podium but only her father spoke. He thanked the volunteers and members of the community who helped in the search efforts. "They were the most dedicated people you could imagine," he said. "Without them we couldn't have done anything." Amber's mother did not speak at the news conference.
Amber was last seen just after 7 a.m. Friday, Feb. 13, 2009 about a block from Escondido High. She was 14-years old at the time.
In late February, Poway teenager Chelsea King's disappearance launched an extensive search in the area around Lake Hodges with officers from multiple agencies. A body was found along the southern edge of the lake and a registered sex offender was charged with murder and rape in Chelsea's death.
John Albert Gardner III pleaded not guilty in the rape and slaying of 17-year-old Chelsea King.
Escondido police would not answer questions Sunday about the discovery and any potential suspects in the case, explaining that it was an ongoing investigation.
Many might wonder if it was Gardner who led investigators to the Pala location, after working out some kind of deal with prosecutors.
Former San Diego County District Attorney Paul Pfingst said it's possible. "In this case, the most likely consideration that a district attorney would offer a suspect in return for information for the whereabouts of Amber's body would be to strike the death penalty and have him plead guilty to life without parole," Pfingst said Sunday.
Gardner's murder charge in the King case has a special circumstance which does make him eligible for the death penalty.
The King family released a statement Sunday on Chelsea's Light Facebook page, "Chelsea's light is grieving not only for Chelsea, but for beautiful Amber DuBois, whose remains were discovered today. Our hearts and love go out to the DuBois family."
"We have spoken with the Dubois family and our hearts go out to them in this time of deep sadness," Kelly and Brent King said Monday in a statement. "We share their indescribable grief for the loss of Amber's precious young life."
The vigil to remember Amber Dubois is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Escondido High School.
Key locations in the Chelsea King and Amber Dubois cases:
View The Chelsea King case in a larger map