“I was walking around in a fog all day,” said Dubois about Saturday, when he learned his 14-year old daughter, missing since February 2009, would never return home.
Escondido police announced they were acting on a tip when they found skeletal remains near Pala Saturday morning. By late Saturday, dental records had helped investigators positively identify those remains as belonging to Amber.
“I have closure,” Amber's mother Carrie McGonigle said Monday. “It’s not the outcome that we wanted but you know what, we know where she’s at. I would hate to go through life not knowing.”
“We know she’s safe now, she’s not being hurt anymore but there’s still a lot of justice that needs to be done,” said Dubois.
Amber's parents, divorced but united in the need to find their daughter, said that they've grown closer over the difficult year and they now vow to fight together to see changes so that other parents will not suffer the same pain.
“We have a big fight ahead of us,” he said.
The two say they have reacted differently to the many developments in their daughter's case. When one is up, the other is down. When one is having a bad day, the other is having a good one.
McGonigle drove to the area near where her daughter's body was found Sunday night, "just because that's what I do," she said.
They spoke at the vigil held Monday night at Escondido High School. "People have been so good to us," said Dubois. "Their hearts have gone out to us over and over again, all year long."
They realize they will need their time to grieve the daughter who loved to read, who loved to spend time alone and who had a true love - animals.
She told her father she wanted to be an animal behavioral scientist. Her pets miss her, her mother said. Her cat, Robin, still sleeps in her bedroom.
“She was a free spirit. She had her own way,” said Dubois. “She was very, very special.”
Dubois called Chelsea King's father Brent and spoke to him for a while over the weekend before news that Amber's body was found was released.
“Unfortunately they’re part of our little club, our little group of people who are going to fight and have suffered through this and are not going to give up,” he said. "They’re there for us just like we’re there for them."