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Task Force Continues To Investigate John Gardner

Audio

Aired 5/18/10

A multi-agency law enforcement task force will continue to investigate whether the man sentenced for the murders of Amber Dubois and Chelsea King is guilty of other crimes.

— A multi agency law enforcement task force will continue to investigate whether the man sentenced for the murders of Amber Dubois and Chelsea King is guilty of other crimes.

Sergeant Don Parker describes the discovering of Chelsea King's body during during a panel discussion headed by many of the county's top law enforcement officials on May 17, 2010.
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Above: Sergeant Don Parker describes the discovering of Chelsea King's body during during a panel discussion headed by many of the county's top law enforcement officials on May 17, 2010.

Since Gardner’s arrest, other cases involving him have come to light. A law enforcement panel Monday discussed details of the case.

Police described at least two incidents in the year between the murders of Amber Dubois and Chelsea King where possible clues were missed. For example, police said they focused on witness accounts of a red pickup at the last sighting of Amber, and did not make a connection with Gardner when he was stopped soon after for harassing a woman while driving a car.

Escondido Police Chief Jim Maher defended his force but he said, “I think, though, it would be our obligation at the conclusion, that we review every step that we took in this case to see if we could have and should’ve done anything differently.”

After the second murder, when Chelsea died, the Sheriff’s Department formed a task force with nine law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Justice.

Lieutenant Dennis Brugos of the Sheriff’s homicide divisions, says Gardner told them enough following his arrest that the task force will continue to investigate his involvement in other crimes.

“We do believe, based on what he told us, that he may be involved in other criminal activity. We’re looking at him for all missing persons cases for females in the range of the early teens through early 20s in three different counties. We believe that he’s involved in some other cases, not necessarily murders, but other assault-type cases.”

Brugos says those cases may be in Riverside, San Bernardino or San Diego Counties.

He says there is little advice he can give to parents.

“I think in Chelsea’s case, she was doing everything right. I think if she had not been alone, perhaps she would not have been attacked.”

The multi-agency task force will continue indefinitely.

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