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Rother Responds To Controversy Over Her True Crime Book ‘Lost Girls’

Evening Edition

Caitlin Rother, the author of "Lost Girls," talks to KPBS.

Aired 7/17/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Caitlin Rother, Author of "Lost Girls"

Phyllis Shess - Executive Director, San Diego Sex Offender Management Council


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Above: "Lost Girls" by author Caitlin Rother.

Caitlin Rother, an author and former reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune, has created considerable controversy with her new book, “Lost Girls,” which describes the murders of two North County teenage girls. Registered sex offender John Gardner killed Amber Dubois and Chelsea King in 2009 and 2010.

Both King’s and Dubois’ families oppose the publication of Rother’s book and asked her to donate her book’s profits to charity.

Rother said she’s very sorry the families were hurt by the book because that was not her intention. She said she was hoping to do something positive with the book to prevent future crimes from happening.

“I understand they don’t want to read the book, I wouldn’t want to if I were them either, but I do feel there really is a purpose to revealing the flaws in the system that we can fix, I hope,” she said.

Rother said she also wants to take advantage of the emotion the community feels “so maybe people will be angry enough with what they read in this book that maybe we will be able to mobilize and get some change.”

With a true crime book, Rother said she tries to go into all aspects of a case.

“I feel that it’s important to know what the sexual predator is all about,” she said. “We don’t know very much about sexual predators, we don’t want to know. It’s a repulsive idea. I felt this was an opportunity to really get into an issue like this that really could do some good so we can prevent things like this from happening again.”

Rother said the book also describes the two victims to honor them.

“I always like to pay a tribute to victims,” she said. “This is to honor the victims so there won’t be any more of them.”

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 18, 2012 at 12:17 a.m. ― 4 years, 8 months ago

Wow, this woman is an idiot.

She said there is just "something" about Chelsea King that made us " want her to be found" and then described her physical attributes.

Does ths mean Amber was not as attractive and therefore more disposable?

Why doesn't this nit-wit do something really groundbreaking like take a critical look at the ineffective sex offender laws made in emotional haste when cases like this occur, or explore why affluent, pretty white girls seem to get unlimited attention when they go missing, but poor minority children being victimized rarely get extensive coverage.

Any two-bit hack can get an interview with Gardner and then write about his history, but what does that really accomplish? Nothing new.

This woman is simply trying to capitalize on sex offender hysteria like the slimy politicians.

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Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | July 20, 2012 at 8:55 a.m. ― 4 years, 8 months ago

I expressed remorse for the King and Dubois families when their daughters were murdered and I still have sympathy for them. But they have no right to declare sole rights to any story about this incident that turned their lives inside out. The tragedy affected all of us in the community. Granted, not even close to what they experienced. But this is still a free country and Caitlin Rother has a right to write about any subject she chooses.

If the King's and Dubois' don't want Rother's book to be a success they should back off on their protests. It's only giving Rother publicity. I didn't even know she wrote a book and never heard of her until they created this ruckus.

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Avatar for user 'Amalie'

Amalie | July 21, 2012 at 7:01 a.m. ― 4 years, 8 months ago

The statement Ms. Rother made about Chelsea was in the context of viewing a missing flyer for Chelsea at her gym in Mission Valley. As someone who the Y Mission Valley, I can assure you that I did not see any fliers there for Amber Dubois. I think your anger should be directed at this bill they supposedly passed called Chelsea's Law...why not call it Amber and Chelsea's Law... I've always wondered why Amber was left out of this.....

I agree with HarryStreet however I would like to add that the Kings and Dubois families have given several interviews - Dateline and 48 Hours did shows as did pay for interview publications such as People. Where were the protests then? I find this somewhat hyprocritical.... especially since the parents found the need to be included in poltical advertisements for Nathan Fletcher's losing effort for mayor. If both families refused all interviews and shrunk to the background, ok...but just a few weeks ago there they were once again on TV...... in a political commercial.

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