Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Maurice Dubois encourages vigil attendees to push for tougher penalties for child predators

A candlelight vigil in Amber Dubois's memory was held tonight at Escondido High School, where Amber was a freshman at the time of her disappearance. It's estimated that between 1,200 and 1,500 people attended. ''Our hearts go out to Amber's friends and family, as well as the staff and students who have struggled to understand this tragic situation,'' Principal Rich Watkins said at the vigil.

Amber's father Maurice Dubois addressed the crowd asking them to turn their sadness into action by pushing for tougher penalties and stricter laws to protect children from predators. He encouraged them to act like Amber's favorite animal, the wolf, and hunt down child predators. "Wolves hunt to survive, wolves hunt together to catch their prey," he said, "We as parents and the community need to make a change for the protection of our children." He also spoke of the need to work against groups who aid criminals.

Chelsea King's parents were there to give support to Amber's family and friends. Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher and a representative of Kelly and Brent King will convene a news conference Tuesday morning to announce their partnership and preliminary work on “Chelsea’s Law”.

Authorities released few details about their investigation into Amber Dubois's death. During a news conference on Sunday afternoon, Escondido police Chief Jim Maher said only that detectives were ''following a lead'' when they located Amber's remains in a ''very rugged and remote'' locale near the Riverside County border. ''Positive identification was subsequently made by the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office late Saturday afternoon by way of a dental-records comparison,'' Maher said. ''Her parents were notified in person by Escondido and sheriff's investigators Saturday night.''

Maher declined to take questions from reporters, citing concerns over the possibility of compromising the investigation by releasing too much information.

The case returned to widespread public attention last week following the arrest of a 30-year-old registered sex offender in connection with the disappearance and apparent slaying of 17-year-old Chelsea King of Poway, whose body was found Tuesday in a shallow grave near Lake Hodges.

John Albert Gardner III -- who was ordered held without bail after pleading not guilty to raping and murdering Chelsea -- lived in Escondido when Amber disappeared.

Investigators were looking into any involvement the suspect might have had with Amber or the victims of other unsolved crimes.

''The Amber Dubois crime scene is still being processed and (Gardner) remains a focus of the investigation,'' Escondido police Lt. Craig Carter said this afternoon.

Overhead views of the area shot by television news helicopters at midday showed searchers combing through heavy brush on sloping terrain near several large canopies that had been erected a short distance from a dirt road. Authorities had road access to the area fully blocked.

It was in the same general locale that the remains of 7-year-old Leticia Hernandez of Oceanside were found 15 months after she disappeared from her home in 1989.

Following Sunday's briefing, Amber's father, Maurice Dubois, took a moment to thank everyone who had helped search for his daughter, especially the hundreds of volunteers who donated their time and efforts weekend after weekend

for much of last year.

''They were the most dedicated people you could ever imagine,'' he said. ''Without them, we couldn't have done anything.''

ESCONDIDO - A candlelight vigil will be held tonight at Escondido High School for 14-year-old Amber Dubois, whose skeletal remains were found on the Pala Indian Reservation more than a year after she disappeared while walking to the school.

Extra counselors were on hand today at Escondido High School to help students cope with the weekend discovery of Amber's skeletal remains, more than a year after the freshman disappeared while walking to school.

Despite a prolonged search by law enforcement, her family and volunteers since she disappeared, Amber's body was not found until Saturday.

''The discovery was made in the early morning hours of Saturday, in a very rugged and remote section of Pala,'' Escondido police Chief Jim Maher said at a news conference.

Pala is in northern San Diego County, about 25 miles from Escondido. Amber's body was found west of Pala Temecula Road, about three miles north of the historic Pala Mission. It was the same area where the remains of 7-year-old

Leticia Hernandez was found 15 months after she disappeared from her Oceanside home in 1989, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Maher said detectives were following a lead when Amber's body was found.

''Positive identification was subsequently made by the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office late Saturday afternoon by way of a dental records comparison,'' Maher said. ''Her parents were notified in person by Escondido and sheriff's investigators Saturday night.''

Maher did not take questions because of the ongoing investigation.

Amber returned to public attention after the arrest of John Albert Gardner III, 30, in connection with the disappearance and death of 17-year-old Chelsea King in nearby Rancho Bernardo.

Gardner -- who was ordered held without bail after pleading not guilty to raping and murdering Chelsea -- is a registered sex offender who lived in Escondido when Amber disappeared.

Investigators were looking into any involvement he might have had with the girl, or in other unsolved crimes.

Because Maher did not take questions, the source of the tip or any possible role played by Gardner was unclear. But Bill Garcia, a private investigator hired by Amber's family shortly after she disappeared, told the Union-Tribune he was told by a person with firsthand knowledge of the case that the tip about the location did not come from Gardner.

''The entire Chelsea King event emotionally pulled at somebody who had this information,'' Garcia told the newspaper. ''They've seen the community in a lot of pain. Someone who had been afraid to say something finally came forward.''

Amber's father, Maurice Dubois, took a moment to thank everyone in the search for Amber, especially the hundreds of volunteers who looked for the girl every weekend for much of last year.

''They were the most dedicated people you could ever imagine,'' Maurice Dubois said. ''Without them, we couldn't have done anything.''

 

Reader Comments(0)