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Man is arrested in San Diego teen's disappearance

February 28, 2010 |  8:52 pm

San Diego County investigators arrested a man Sunday in connection with the disappearance of 17-year-old Chelsea King, sheriff’s officials said.

Chelsea The whereabouts of the Poway High School senior, who failed to return from a run near Lake Hodges on Thursday, apparently were still unknown. The case, however is being handled by homicide investigators.

John Albert Gardner III, 30, was arrested shortly after 4 p.m. after “extensive investigation evidence” linked him to the girl’s disappearance, according to statement issued by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

At a news conference, Sheriff William Gore would only describe the evidence as physical, and a department spokesman declined to elaborate.

State records list Gardner, of Lake Elsinore, as a registered sex offender, convicted of one count of lewd acts with a child under age 14.

The sheriff’s statement said Gardner was arrested without incident outside a business in Escondido, and taken to the sheriff’s headquarters for questioning by homicide investigators.

Volunteers spent the weekend searching for King, and both a Facebook page and website have been set up to aid their efforts. 

--Mitchell Landsberg

Photo: A search group in Bandy Canyon, from left, Wayne Hickey, Greg Post, De L, partially hidden, and Larry Luke decided how to proceed in their search for missing tennager Chelsea  King  on Sunday Feb. 28, 2010. Credit: Peggy Peattie / San Diego Uniotn Tribune / KSWB (Chelsea)