Carrie McGonigle and Maurice Dubois leave the podium Monday after thanking… (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles…)
Reporting from San Diego — Registered sex offender John Albert Gardner III is a focus of the investigation into the death of Amber Dubois, the high school freshman whose skeletal remains were discovered Saturday in northern San Diego County.
The Escondido Police Department's announcement Monday was the first time authorities have acknowledged that Gardner, 30, may be linked to the case.
Gardner is being held without bail after being charged last week in connection with the slaying of Chelsea King, a 17-year-old from nearby Poway. His arrest brought renewed attention to the disappearance of Amber, 14, who vanished on her way to Escondido High School in February 2009.
Amber's remains were found in rugged terrain near Pala, Calif., off Interstate 15. Authorities, who continue searching for evidence on the remote hillside, have yet to provide details on the tip that led them to the area, which is a few miles north of the Pala Indian Reservation. Authorities have said that Gardner has not cooperated in their investigation.
Hundreds of students and residents gathered at a candlelight vigil Monday evening honoring Amber's memory. Carrie McGonigle said she was grateful for the sense of closure after the long search for her daughter.
"I'm managing," McGonigle said in a brief interview with the Associated Press. "It was a roller-coaster the last year and now we have closure, which is more than a lot of parents have."
The discovery came days after authorities found a shallow grave at Lake Hodges believed to contain the remains of Chelsea King, who disappeared in late February while jogging on a desolate trail at the lake.
Chelsea's parents, Brent and Kelly King, said they had reached out to Amber's family.
"We have spoken with the Dubois family and our hearts go out to them in this time of deep sadness. We share their indescribable grief for the loss of Amber's precious young life," the Kings wrote on their Facebook page, Chelsea's Light.