The unimaginable wrecking anguish that grips a family when a child goes missing can not be adequately expressed by mere words. In the past few weeks I have received two specific emails from friends who in some way have experienced this in their own lives or in the lives of close relatives. The pain that I feel for these families can only hint at the deep sorrow and worry they carry.
This story has made national headlines. Here is an excerpt from the other email I received from my friend, asking for continued prayer for a young girl who disappeared over a year ago.
As you may know, my stepmother’s niece, Amber Dubois went missing last February 13th …just yards from the front gate of her school at Escondido High. At the time, she was just 14. It’s hard to believe that one year later, Amber is still missing and that I am writing to you about it. But here we are. Living with the effects of child abduction is 24/7. And for a parent, Amber’s Dad said it best, “You’re scared beyond belief the first 24 hours. After that words can’t communicate the horror of your child going missing.”
Many may recognize this name as it is now infamously linked to the Chelsea King case in San Diego, California. Sadly, I received this email on February 8th, two week prior to Chelsea’s abduction. Following a lead, Amber’s remains were found by Escondido police on March 6, 2010.
Tragedy entered the lives of these teens and changed their families forever. We as parents must be vigilant for our children, recognizing that evil does in fact exist, and equipping our kids with the tools needed to recognize danger.
The man arrested for the rape and murder of Chelsea King is John Albert Gardner III. “A 2000 probation report on John Albert Gardner III depicts an erratic and violent young man. He is now charged with killing 17-year-old Chelsea King of Poway”, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The New York Daily News.com reported, “He (John Albert Gardner III) had faced a maximum of nearly 11 years in prison under terms of a plea agreement, but prosecutors urged six years. Dr. Matthew Carroll, a court-appointed psychiatrist who interviewed Gardner, had urged the maximum sentence allowed by law. He said in court documents that Gardner was a “continued danger to underage girls in the community” and an “extremely poor candidate” for treatment.” Gardner was convicted of molesting a 13-year-old neighbor girl in May of 2000. He served only five of his six-year prison term.
According toThe National Center for Exploited and Missing Children:
- 800,000 children younger than 18 are missing each year, or an average of 2,000 children reported missing each day.
- 200,000 children were were abducted by family members.
- 58,000 children were abducted by nonfamily members, and
- 115 children were the victims of “stereotypical” kidnapping. These crimes involve someone the child does not know, or knows only slightly, who holds the child overnight, transports the child 50 miles or more, kills the child, demands ransom, or intends to keep the child permanently.
California implemented Megan’s Law on September 24, 2004, designed to “expanded access to the public for the first time to use their personal computers to view information on sex offenders required to register with local law enforcement under California’s Megan’s Law”.
|California||W&I Code § 6608. 5 (f) (2005)Penal Code § 3003 (g) (1) (3)||A sexually violent predator or a serious paroled sex offender cannot live within one-fourth of a mile of a school, and high-risk paroled sex offenders cannot live within one-half mile of a school, daycare center, or place where children congregate.|
The website familywatchdog, allows individuals to research the database, to see if there are any registered sex offenders in their neighborhood, with the goal of knowing one’s neighborhood, empowering one’s children and changing the laws. As I researched my town, I discovered that an offender lived within 0.3 miles of an elementary school and two lived less than a half mile from the middle school. Both of these examples demonstrate how easy it is for registered sex offenders to break the law with no repercussions. To expect an offender to follow a statute meant to keep children safe, when they are the perpetrators of evil against children is ludicrous.
There are tools that a can help us keep our children safe. We must teach them to be wise as serpents. We must make an effort to get to know everyone with whom our children hang out, as well as those who have authority type positions in their lives. We should not live in anxious fear when our children are not in our line of sight either, but utilize this sad reminder to “predator proof” our children.
My heart and prayers are with the three families mentioned in this blog. Each are undergoing circumstances that are life altering. Please keep the King Family and the Dubios Family in your prayers.