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Man charged in disappearance of former local girl

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On Tuesday near San Diego, police found what is believed to be the body of 17-year-old Chelsea King, a former Naperville resident. King went jogging on Thursday in a rugged area near San Diego and never returned.

A 30-year-old registered sex offender named John Albert Gardner III has been arrested in the case. Gardner served five years in prison for an attack on a 13-year-old girl and is suspected in the disappearance of a 14-year-old and in the unsuccessful attack on another woman.

Gardner could have been eligible for a sentence of up to 11 years in the previous case but was only sentenced to five. Being on the sex offender list means police knew where to find him, but it did not restrict his actions. While Gardner has not yet been charged, he is the main suspect.

Is there anything else we can do to keep an eye on convicted sex offenders to keep these kinds of tragedies from happening?

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14 Comments

"There is a reason why so many people can't have kids these days as compared to years ago. "

While STDs may have had an impact on fertility for a small percent of hte population, I think it is more the result of people putting off having children until an older age than 50 years ago. 50 years ago, even 20 years ago, more people had their first children in their twenties. Nowadays it seems like more and more wait until their thirties.

Another issue is that people did not "plan out" their lives and children to such an extent then. And now those people who have planned that out get more frustrated when things don't quite go as planned. So we just hear more about infertility nowadays.

Anonymous 5678 - I am with you. Having a daughter in college in the city, who also does quite a bit of volunteer activities in the Evanston area, she often has to ride the red line back to Loyola after 10pm. She uses common sense to minimize the opportunities of something bad happening, but is not going to restrict her life and not do the work she loves by not ever leaving campus.
Her tips:
Keep your cell phone handy but not visible
Do not listen to your Ipod and definitely never wear headphones
Ride in the El car behind the conductor (one of them knows her and recognizes her now)
Be aware of your surroundings
Stay in lighted areas
And stick with the buddy system whenever possible
Let others know your plans and when you should be returning. Contact them if your plans change. (she always lets her roommate know so that the roommate doesn't worry.)
Arrange for friends to meet you at the El if you are going to be much later than usual.
Take a self defense class as a back up measure

She has not once over two years had a problem. She does shake her head at the people leaving the El, listening to their music and paying no attention to anything around them. She knows they are far more likely to be victimized than she is. While we both realize that none of this guarantees her safety, it does make her much less likely to encounter a problem. In most cases these criminals are looking for easy prey, someone who is not going to hear or see them coming.

My point on stereotypes is that more times than not they are accurate. I think I started by saying that 95% of sex offenders look like sex offenders and that this guy looked like someone I played softball with. At first look he didn't fit the stereotype in my mind. BTW, I have since changed by thinking on that as he does look creepy.

I lived in major cites for a good 15 years of my life. You just have to be more vigilent. I would have to judge myself as having a tremendous amount of street smarts. I think living in cities will make that happen instantaneously for most people.

But this suburban life we live in now. It is like a walk in the park comparitively speaking.

I don't want to burst your bubble. And I will agree with you that trust is built over time. You don't just meet someone and give him all your money to invest - a la Bernie Madoff. But the way you write, it comes across that you trust no one, never will trust anyone, want your kids to trust no one and want to live in a bubble. Am I discriminatory when I meet someone? Absolutely. It sounds like you think the boogie man is around the corner at all times. It just wouldn't make for a healthy lifestyle for me and my family. Just a difference of opinion. And I to will live to tell about it.

I'm not sure where you are going with this STD thing. I don't think most people walking around who can't have kids have STDs or were born to parents who have or had STDs. If that is what you think, I have to sit and laugh a little and ask where did you come up with that?

Anon 5678,

Don't quite understand your stereotype argument, but I'll respect it. If you stereotype everyone though, why is there still crime?

As far as trusting anyone, this country wasn't built on trust. It was built on lies. First off - Columbus didn't discover something that was already here.

As far as a bubble, living in one is what gets you killed. There is no safe place to live and killers don't all look the same.

It's called instinct. And no, my children trust no one, everyone is always a suspect. Now that's reality. I didn't sign up for life thinking it would be honky dory. You need to wake up and realize you need to protect yourself and have your guard up at all times. If that is too hard and doesn't come naturally, well I guess you don't value life in these times we live in.

9/11 did happen and it is only going to get worse. Look at the state of this country. People are getting more desperate. You can't even watch tv without all the violence, etc,. Its desensitizing our youth.

You're right, my kids will be very discriminating in relationships. Everyone should be - aren't you.

So please don't think of my views as living in a bubble. Well maybe it is by your definition, but I'll live to tell about it. I am very comfortable sleeping at night, knowing that even though I'm in Disneyland, I mean Naperville. My alarm is set, all doors are locked, the stove isn't left on, fido is put away and my wife's good pot roast hasn't been left out - she'd kill me. Now THAT is being responsible for myself and my family.

Oh and just for a kicker, my kids mates will be subject to a AIDS test and credit check. They don't understand the credit check, but they do understand the AIDS test.

There is a reason why so many people can't have kids these days as compared to years ago. I truly believe stds are the elephant in the room. Youthful promiscuity can come back to bite you in adulthood. aka - infertile.

Now don't go popping my bubble.

Get Real,

I wasn't trying to come up with a category which is why I sated "if that can be a category". The word stereotype was created for a reason. Becasue there are sterotypes. People get cast into stereotypes for a reason. I'll admit it. I'm white and can't dance. But you are not going to see me driving a hopped up, multi-colored, multi-paneled 1989 Honda Civic with a fin on the back and an engine sticking out from the hood either. Odds are, you might see another race driving that kind of car. See? Stereotype.

Ted Bundy and Scott Peterson didn't quite fit the stereotype either. But they are rare compared to a Gacy or Drew Peterson for that matter.

I know times have changed and one needs to be more vigilent but you can't live life in a bubble. If we did, there would be no one walking around NYC right now.

I hope your girls will grow to be somewhat trusting. Going to be hard for them to have relationships (no matter what kind - work, personal, etc.) if you have them convinced to trust no one. Your husband/wife must have trusted you enough to marry you and have kids with you. Wouldn't you want your daughters to have the same look on life?

Recent Waubonsie Losses

Jeff Still (DUI)
Krishna Bharadwaj (Disregard Train Signal)
Allison Matzdorf (DUI)
Jennifer Roberts (DUI)
Jenni Linn Anderson (DUI)
Matt Brant (Reckless Driving)
Erin Justice (Homicide)
Jacqueline Avila (Car Accident)
Chelsea King (Homicide)

Give him a trial and if found guilty:
1) castrate him
2) hand him his former property
3) let him go. (We'll it from there)

Anon 5678,

Unfortunately, too many people think like you do and don't live to tell us about it. Stop trying to come up with what offenders should look like. My girls know to not trust anyone - and not to go jogging in a park or other area by themselves. This is reality - too many people live in a make believe world. Join a gym. Just be careful walking back to your car - at all times. That's life.

Boys will be boys and criminals will be criminals. The voting public should insist that severe penalties be ordered by the court system and that the sentences handed out are full filled by the guilty party 100%... no reduction in sentences for any reason. The guilty should serve all the time and conditions placed upon them. This revolving door policy in our prisons must come to an end. Certainly, the politicians are not going to protect the public. They are either lawyers or very close to lawyers. Judges too were either lawyers or closely associated with them. The revolving door in prisons makes for more and more repeat offenders while providing repeat clients for those lawyers. Severe penalties, I believe would deter repeat offenses. Say, a crime comitted with a gun or another weapon of death could be a minimum sentence of five full years. The same crime committed with a gun and it actually being fired, a minimum of ten full years. The same crime, with bodily injury to the victim 20 years. Actually taking of a life, LIFE or EXECUTION. No exceptions. A fitting sentence should be voted upon by the public for every concievable crime. The judge should then enforce those sentences to their fullest. Answer this, do you want violent criminals walking free. Known repeat offenders given the same freedom any of us have? Have judges given too many second, third, fourth and so on chances to the bad guys?

Awful story.

When you look on the sex offender registry, 95% of those people look like your "typical" sex offender, if that can be a category. This guy looked someone you might play softball against or work with and not really think your "typical" sex offender.

I think sex offenders should be placed in maximun security prison with a minimum sentence of one year. In a cell with the largest, meanest man in the joint. And sex offenders of children should have a longer sentence, a meaner, bigger, and more amourous cellmate, and then a tracking microchip implanted prior to his release.. if that day ever comes.

These disgusting creatures deserve no mercy. What they do is inexcusable, horrific, and monstrous.

Once again, you have another guy who should have been put away for good, running free and early off a former light sentence, in spite of warnings from specialists that this guy could not be rehabbed. I hope it was not an aggressive prosecutor looking for a few quick headlines and another case closed, who went for the lessor charge on the previous case. Here we have the results - another dead child. These predators are animals who should be caged for what they are.

Hang them the first time?

Sadly, convicted sex offenders are only the ones who got caught before. There are plenty others out there that are off the radar and have not been caught yet the first time.

How about implanting a GPS chip, way deep. These kinds of stories make me want to throw the suspect's civil rights out the window!

This is obviously so tragic for all who knew this beautiful girl and must be beyond devastating for the family.

I would like to say that whenever I see a woman jogging alone, I wish she had her dog, a friend or some other deterrent. This is not to blame the victim by any means, it just makes me nervous because there are way too many predators on this earth.

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