Saturday, February 13, 2010
Family and friends of a teenage North County girl who went missing a year ago today plan to put on a fundraiser this morning to help them pay for their ongoing search for her.
The Amber Dubois "Walk-A-Thon'' will begin at 8 a.m. at Escondido High, where the brown-haired, blue-eyed girl went to school and where she was heading when she vanished at age 14. The event will include a promenade around the campus track by sponsored walkers, a raffle and a silent auction.
Police have come up empty in their efforts to find Amber, described by loved ones as a studious, well-behaved adolescent with no history of running away.
Hundreds of interviews, follow-ups on more than 1,000 tips and searches of the teen's computer and cell-phone records have shed little light on what may have led to her disappearance while she was walking to school the morning of Feb. 13, 2009, according to Lt. Bob Benton, who has called the investigation one of the largest his department has ever undertaken.
Widespread publicity -- People magazine featured the case in a November cover story about missing children -- also has failed to generate meaningful clues about what has become of the high school freshman.
In a Jan. 13 essay on the family's Web site -- www.bringamberhome.com -- the girl's grandmother described the difficulty of enduring 11 months "not knowing where she is or how she is.''
"At night when sleep does not come, we wonder if she has a place to sleep or is locked up in someone's basement, or worse,'' the woman wrote.
"When we have a meal in front of us, we wonder if she is hungry and find the food has no interest. Where can she be?''
A $50,000 reward is being offered for Amber's safe return, and an additional cash incentive in the same amount offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction in California of the person or persons responsible for her disappearance.
Her family urges anyone with information about her possible whereabouts to call (760) 743-8477. Tipsters may remain anonymous.