Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Body thought to be that of Chelsea King, 17, found in shallow grave near lake


The body of 17-year-old high school student Chelsea King was believed to have been found Tuesday in a shallow grave near a lake not far from her northern San Diego County home, authorities said.

“There is a strong likelihood we have found Chelsea,” said Sheriff Bill Gore at a Tuesday afternoon news conference, confirming the worst fears of the Poway High School senior’s family and friends who had harbored hopes that she might still be alive.

King, a straight-A student and cross-country runner, had been missing since Thursday, when she went out for a run in hilly parkland near Lake Hodges, located near Escondido.

A convicted sex offender, John Albert Gardner III, 30, was arrested Sunday night in connection with King’s disappearance and will be charged Wednesday, according to the San Diego County district attorney’s office.

The whereabouts of Poway High School student Chelsea King remained unknown after four days of intensive searching by thousands of volunteers.
King’s disappearance prompted an outpouring of  support in San Diego and beyond, with hundreds of people joining search efforts and more than 76,000 becoming fans of a Facebook page. Her parents, Brent and Kelly King, appeared on national news broadcasts expressing the belief that she was still alive.

La-me-missing-girl3 Authorities said earlier Tuesday that Gardner had been linked to an attack in December on a 22-year-old woman in the same park where King disappeared. Gardner allegedly tackled the woman and demanded money. She escaped after hitting Gardner in the face, San Diego police said.

Gardner is registered as a sex offender and lives in Lake Elsinore in Riverside County, but he had been visiting his mother in Rancho Bernardo, just south of Lake Hodges, officials said.

Gardner served five years in connection with a 2000 attack on a 13-year-old girl, officials said. After getting out of prison, he wore a global positioning system tracking device until his parole ended in 2008, Gore said.

-- Richard Marosi in San Diego

Photo: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times; Mugs of Gardner and Chelsea (AP)

Photos: First a jog, then a disappearance

Comments () | Archives (35)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Why was he not charged in December? What does it take to get this kind of person off the streets?

When will women and girls learn "DO NOT JOG ALONE?!!" Ever

RIP Chelsea. I'm so sorry this happened.

What are we thinking? How can someone who attacks a 13 year-old child ever be safe to release into society? Rapists and pedophiles do not change. They do not respond to therapy. They need to be put away for life, chemically castrated or, at the very least, made to wear their GPS devices for life.

It's beyond horror.
So, so sorry to the family.

She would have contributed so much to this world. Beautiful, smart, athletic.

Thats probably why he attacked her. She represented what guys like him could never attain through normal behavior.

My sympathy for the victim's family.

Justice wasnt served thanks to a weak Prosecutor who shouldnt be practicing law and a Judge who shouldnt be sitting on any bench anywhere in the world.

Why can't our children leave their house to run in their own neighborhood without being accosted or killed by a sex offender? When are we going to get it that sex offenders don't change? They should not be released from jail.

This is such an epic fail... People like John Albert Gardner III should be locked up for life w/o parole. Anyone who has spent time with someone who has been sexually assaulted knows the life altering damage it causes... Hopefully they get more severe on punishment for sexual misbehavior!

So let me get this straight: A guy goes to jail because he put up a billboard; Martha Stewart goes to prison because she lies; and a girl is dead because a convicted sex offender, who had previously beaten a 13-year-old and was a person of interest in other cases, gets out of prison early so he can do it again. Unbelievable! Not one more sex offender should EVER get out of prison, NEVER. When will our justice system get this figured out? As the mother of two daughters, 23 and 16, this is of great concern to me. They're not safe anywhere it seems.

Just goes to show that rapists, pedophiles and other sexual predators can not be cured. They should have the death penalty for anyone perpetrating sex crimes against a child 15 and under, where the assailant is over the age of 21. Jail sentences should be 30+ years for rapists of any other kind. This is so sad. A smart girl with her whole life ahead of her, gone, because a bunch of liberals think its unfair to punish people like this killer.

Another life has been snuffed out by a sex offender. A beautiful, smart girl in the priime of her teens. My heart goes out to her family for her loss. May they find peace in the life she did live.
When will we get smart in this country and put sex offenders away for life, no not a year, 10 years but for life, no probations. Our justice system is so flawed and yet our lawmakers do nothing.

I hope justice is served speedy for this killer.

The police had the DNA of this guy in December from the assault on the jogger then. They did not test it until the events of this weekend. This is just bad police work and her death lays with them not doing professional work in a timely manner.

i hope they don't let him out this time... its lethal injection time!!!!!

PLEASE, Please, please Parents and Young Women -- stop jogging alone, going into a wooded area or walking alone on the beach. We live in beautiful surroundings, but we have to be mindful of the perverted monsters that live among us and destroy our lives. The justice system does not protect us -- not at all. Therefore we must handle our lives and live our lives looking over our shoulders, and not allow our precious children to get in harm's way. My heart goes out to the King family.

Put this gentleman in prison and never, ever let him out on the streets again.

My sympathies to her parents.

god bless her family. i can not even imagine the sorrow her parents and friends are feeling. may she rest in peace, she sounds like a beautiful young woman who did not deserve to go in such a way.

May she rest in peace and my sincere sympathy to her family and friends. I have a daughter and just the thought is very painful. To the judicial system that caved on the predator's first attack, I hope swift justice will be served this time, albeit to late!

Hello he should have gotten way more than 5 years

So sad-I hope they throw Gardner in a hole and then bury the key--he's an animal

Some people need to be strung up at the first offense. There is no excuse for this excuse of a human to be let out of prison. Too many times the end result is the same. Damn bleeding heart society anyway.

The police had the DNA of this guy in December from the assault on the jogger then. They did not test it until the events of this weekend. This is just bad police work and her death lays with them not doing professional work in a timely manner.

What a horrific tragedy- if sex offenders are allowed to be free in our society, at the very least they should have some sort of GPS implant inserted into their bodies...

Why is this in the LA Times? Has nothing to do with the community.

Whoever it is, may they rest in Peace.

1 2 | »


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: