ESCONDIDO, Calif. – The bones of a 14-year-old Southern California girl who vanished more than a year ago while walking to school were discovered in a rugged, remote area, authorities said Sunday, less than a week after a registered sex offender was charged with murdering another teenage girl who lived nearby.
The search for Amber Dubois had produced few leads until 17-year-old Chelsea King disappeared Feb. 25, last seen wearing running clothes in a park about 10 miles south of where Amber was last seen walking with a man. A body presumed to be King’s was found in a shallow, lakeside grave five days later.
Searchers found Dubois’ skeletal remains early Saturday on the Pala Indian Reservation, a sparsely populated area that occupies more than 12,000 acres in the northeast corner of San Diego County, said Escondido police Chief Jim Maher.
Dubois’ father, Maurice Dubois, thanked everyone who had searched for the girl since her Feb. 13, 2009, disappearance near Escondido High School, particularly volunteers.
“They were the most dedicated people you could ever imagine,” he said. “Without them, we couldn’t have done anything.”
John Albert Gardner III, 30, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to raping and murdering King and attempting to rape another woman in December, a potential death penalty case.
A spokesman for the San Diego County district attorney’s office, Paul Levikow, declined to comment Sunday on the investigation into Amber’s death.