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Missing Teen Chelsea King Body Believed Found

Chelsea King Latest NewsAuthorities in San Diego County, California, found the remains of a female Tuesday that they believe are those of missing 17-year-old Poway High School senior Chelsea King.  According to NBC San Diego, the body was found about 10 feet from the southern edge of Lake Hodges, a body of water that borders the Rancho Bernardo Community Park where Chelsea King was believed to have been running at the time of her disappearance Thursday afternoon.  Although San Diego authorities note that there was a strong likelihood that the body found was that of Chelsea King, a positive identification of the remains had not been made by nightfall.

Chelsea King had been taking a routine run in the park after school on Thursday.  Her parents began to worry when she didn’t come home or check in (something Brent and Kelly King noted that their responsible, straight-A daughter always did) and called the police.  Brent King then tracked Chelsea’s cell phone to her parked car, which was set beside a hiking trail leading into the park, her cell phone, iPod, and school clothes locked inside.

Massive seaches with unprecedented community turnout followed.  On Sunday afternoon, John Albert Gardner III was arrested.  A registered convicted sex offender, Gardner had been staying at his parents’ home in the Rancho Bernardo area when Chelsea King went missing.  Police later revealed that an article of Chelsea King’s clothing found in one of the searches revealed DNA that led to John Gardner’s arrest.

Although John Gardner had refused to cooperate with police, seach efforts were rewarded Tuesday and the area where the body was found was cordoned off.  Police made several trips to the secluded, heavily wooded area by boat throughout the day.

But the arrest of John Gardner for the possible rape and murder of Chelsea King might have shed some new light and hope on other cases in the area.  It already has in one.  Gardner was identified as the assailant in an incident that occurred in December where a female jogger was tackled by a man.  She was able to excape after elbowing her attacker.  The victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, identified John Gardner as her attacker out of a photo line-up.

Police also suspect that Gardner may have knowledge of the missing person case of Amber Dubois, a 14-year-old girl who went missing from nearby Escondido in February 2008.  Given his history — Gardner was convicted of lewd and lascivious acts with a person under the age of 14 (his 13-year-old neighbor) a decade ago — the sex offender just might be the common denominator in a number of open and cold cases in the San Diego area.

John Albert Gardner III will be arraigned in San Diego on charges pertaining to the Chelsea King case Wednesday, March 3.

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