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Memorial service for Chelsea King held at Poway High

March 13, 2010 |  3:36 pm

Powayvigil A memorial service was held Saturday afternoon for Poway High School senior Chelsea King, the 17-year-old girl who was attacked, killed and buried in a shallow grave at a community park in the Lake Hodges area.

The service was scheduled to begin about 2 p.m. at Poway High's stadium. Students wrapped ribbons around 8,000 sunflowers to hand out at the service, according to reports.

The honor student and cross-country runner went missing Feb. 25 after she went for a jog on the winding trails of Rancho Bernardo Community Park.

Three days after her disappearance, registered sex offender John Albert Gardner III, 30, was arrested in connection with her death. Since then, Gardner has pleaded not guilty to murder with a special allegation of rape or attempted rape, and on another count of assault with intent to rape another woman in December at the same park.

Investigators also are trying to determine if Gardner is linked to the disappearance and death of Amber Dubois, 14, an Escondido High School teen whose skeletal remains were found March 6 in a remote area of north San Diego County. She disappeared last year on her way to school.

At the time, authorities say, Gardner lived a couple of miles from where Dubois vanished near the high school. No solid leads had emerged for the entire year that she had disappeared until Gardner's arrest, authorities said.

Her parents helped in the search for King.

--Ruben Vives

Photo: People gather at a memorial service at Poway High School for slain teenager Chelsea King.

Credit: Associated Press