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Los Angeles Times
March 1, 2010 | 8:47 am
— Amina Khan
San Diego County investigators continued their search Monday for a missing 17-year-old girl after a man was arrested in connection with her disappearance.
John Albert Gardner III, 30, was arrested Sunday afternoon outside a business in Escondido after investigators uncovered evidence linking the registered sex offender to the disappearance of Chelsea King from the Lake Hodges area, authorities said in a statement.
“During the search the last three days we have obtained numerous pieces of physical evidence in the search scene,” San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said Monday in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “One of those pieces of evidence we were able to tie to John Gardner.”
Gardner, of Lake Elsinore, was convicted in a previous incident of one count of lewd acts with a child under 14, according to state records.
King disappeared Thursday after failing to return from an afternoon run near Lake Hodges, investigators said. Helicopters scoured the area and volunteers waded chest-deep in the murky water looking for signs of the Poway High School senior.
Photos: Searchers examine a backpack discovered along a creek near Lake Hodges in Escondido. Credit: Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times. Photo of Gardner. Credit: San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
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VIDEO: New details reveal that John Gardner fathered twins — (San Diego Gay and Lesbian News)
March 12th, 2010
by Elex Michaelson – San Diego 6 CW
We’re learning more about John Albert Gardner III. The man charged with Chelsea King’s murder and rape, and who is being investigated for Amber Dubois’ murder, is a father and the son of a highly-educated mother.
John Gardner’s mother and his stepfather, Cathy Osborne and Kevin O’Neill, are both members of the San Diego Hash House Harriers, a group that describes itself as a “Drinking Club with a Running Problem.”
On Dec. 27, the group hosted a running event on the same day and location where John Gardner is accused of attacking a woman.
Gardner’s stepfather wrote in the group’s newsletter that day, “Disturbing news at the start…when other members…give us word that a girl had been attacked that morning in the trails where we would be running.”
Kevin O’Neill runs a family photo touch up company out of his Rancho Bernardo home while Cathy teaches behavioral health at Scripps.
On her LinkedIn page, Cathy says she cares for “some of the most challenging psychiatric patients.”
Court documents from 2000 show her son, John Gardner, took at least 8 different psychiatric medications while living with Cathy, including Ritalin, Zoloft, and Paxil.
Last week, Chelsea King’s parents told San Diego 6 that they believed Cathy was putting neighbors in danger by allowing her son to stay at her home. ”Anyone who is a parent cannot in good conscience sit there and say, ‘Yes, it’s okay to let this person live next door.’ You cannot — you cannot tell me.”
Now we’re learning Gardner is a parent of twin boys. But the convicted sex offender never married his children’s mother.
By 2009, The Enterprise Report says, he was living with Jariah Baker at an apartment not far from Escondido High School where 14-year-old Amber Dubois disappeared. Sources tell us Baker is now working with authorities on the Dubois murder investigation.
The black Nissan Sentra that Gardner was seen driving is registered to Baker. The Enterprise Report obtained a ticket John Gardner received while driving the sedan on January 30th in Lake Elsinore.
He was stopped at a DUI check point and ticketed for failing to have registration or proof of insurance.
Last week, San Diego 6 broke the story of a man matching Gardner’s description following another young girl in a black car as she walked home from Bernardo Heights Middle School. The suspect in that case was eventually scared off.
Sources said the black Sentra was seized by investigators.
Elex Michaelson is a reporter for San Diego 6.