When a registered sex offender was arraigned Wednesday for the murder and sexual assault of a 17-year-old California girl, one of the spectators in the courtroom was the father of another teenage girl from the same area who has been missing for just over a year.
Maurice Dubois knows that the accused murderer of 17-year-old Chelsea King, 30-year-old John Albert Gardner III, could also be responsible for the February 2009 disappearance of his daughter, Amber. He hopes that’s not the case.
“Seeing what this monster is capable of, we don’t want any connection to Amber,” Dubois told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira Thursday via satellite from San Diego.
Amber was 14 when she disappeared in Escondido, Calif., near San Diego. Despite massive searches and a $100,000 reward, neither she nor her body has been found, and no one has been charged in her disappearance.
Among the sex offenders registered in the area whom police say they interviewed was Gardner.
Dubois holds out hope that Amber is still alive. But he admitted to Vieira that there are what he called “eerie similarities” between the two girls.
“Both girls are 5-5, both girls are 130 pounds, both white, both beautiful girls,” Dubois said. He also pointed out the geographic proximity: “The location of the two — less than seven and a half miles between the two incidents. So, yeah, in the back of our head, we are kind of concerned that there is a connection.”
Chelsea King had gone for a jog in a park in Rancho Bernardo, another town in the San Diego area. When she didn’t come home on time, her father went looking for her. He found her car, but not his daughter.