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Ranch hand murdered near San Diego U.S./Mexico border

Sheriff Deputies and paramedics were called to a ranch located in Jamul over the weekend when the owner of the property discovered his employee was non-responsive.

According to a Sheriff Department press release; “Deputies, paramedics and Cal Fire personnel were immediately called to the scene. The condition of the body, coupled with observations of the area in close proximity to the decedent suggested to the first responders that the decedent was the victim of foul play.”

After determining foul play, Deputies contacted the Sheriff’s Crime Lab, Lemon Grove Station, Homicide Detail and U.S. Border Patrol to begin their investigation into the homicide.

Details regarding the murder are limited and the victim’s name has not been released. Sheriff Deputies working the case are asking for assistance from anyone who may have information regarding a motive or the context of the murder.

The male ranch hand was found at 15677 Lyons Valley Road in Jamul (located just east of San Diego) at approximately 9 a.m. on March 12. The homicide crime scene is located near Campo where Border Partol Agent Robert Rosas was murdered by illegal aliens about 18 months ago.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Homicide Detail at (858) 974-2321/after hours at (858) 565-5200 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-TIPS(8477).

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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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ICE agent murdered in Mexico drug-related ambush

In a brazen afternoon attack, one Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent (ICE), Jamie Zapata was murdered and another agent was wounded in the arm and leg when the federal officers were stopped at a road block on their way to Monterrey, Mexico.

The ICE agents were part of a special ICE Attaché office in Mexico City working with local authorities to curtail the exploding violence throughout the drug-cartel ravaged country.

It is being reported that the ICE agents were on duty traveling in a government-issued SUV with diplomatic plates from Mexico City to Monterrey along Highway 57 in the northern state of San Luis Potosi, a known cartel-controlled corridor, when they were ambushed at a road block.

Early reports say members from the Los Zetas cartel opened fire inside the SUV after agents rolled down their window to show their U.S. badges. Zapata was shot many times in the abdomen and died on the scene.

Details are still emerging from Mexico where U.S. officials have stated they will assist with the investigation of the crime, but have decided to let Mexican authorities take the lead.

“I’m deeply saddened by the news that earlier today, two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents assigned to the ICE Attaché office in Mexico City were shot in the line of duty while driving between Mexico City and Monterrey by unknown assailants,” said Secretary of Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.

“Let me be clear: any act of violence against our ICE personnel – or any DHS personnel – is an attack against all those who serve our nation and put their lives at risk for our safety. The full resources of our Department are at the disposal of our Mexican partners in this investigation. We remain committed in our broader support for Mexico’s efforts to combat violence within its borders,” Napolitano said in a statement.

The murder of an ICE agent renews fears and anxiety about the sustained brutality of Mexico’s narco war and it remains to be seen how serious the Obama Administration is when it comes to America’s third war.

While the Department of Homeland Security continues to pander that America’s southern borders are more secure than ever, the murder of a federal agent along with a slew of American citizens proves the cartels are testing the waters of the Obama Administration.

Last March in Ciudad Juarez, a town that borders El Paso, Texas, an American Consulate employee and her husband were gunned down in their car after they left a children’s birthday party.

This attack met with little response from the Obama Administration and sources say it has set the stage for more American lives to be taken.

It has been less than two months since Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered by suspected drug smugglers some 30 miles north of the Mexican/Arizona border. His murder remains unsolved.

Last time a federal agent was murdered in Mexico was Kiki Camerana, who was kidnapped and tortured to death while working undercover for the DEA in 1985. An outraged Reagan Administration aggressively investigated the murder (they launched Operation Leyenda, the largest DEA homicide investigation ever undertaken), found the suspects and extradited the Mexican nationals to the U.S. where they stood trial for the murder.

Meanwhile the ICE community is left reeling from a tragic death.

“This is a difficult time for ICE and especially for the families and loved ones of our agents. Our hearts and prayers go out to them. This tragedy is a stark reminder of the risks confronted and the sacrifices made by our men and women every day,” said the Director of ICE John Morton.

The Mexican government issued a statement condemning the attack and said they would work with the U.S. to find the killers responsible for Zapata’s murder.

The Mexican four-year narco war has taken 35,000 lives in Mexico and shows no signs of waning.

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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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Mexican cartel-style dismemberment killing rocks southern California

Last week a housekeeper for a skid-row Continental Hotel in southern California found the dismembered body of 49-year-old Herbert Tracy White. His body was hacked into five pieces and stuffed in a backpack, rolled up in a blanket under a bed and left for a hotel employee to discover.

Detectives on the scene said they recovered a 3 ½-inch bloody knife that is believed to be the murder weapon. According to police, White’s limbs were removed from his body, leaving his torso wrapped in a motel blanket.

A Pennsylvania couple was arrested on suspicion of dismembering a man they allegedly met in Hollywood. The couple was behind bars after they were located in a nearby vacant Hollywood building used by squatters.

Police acting on a tip they received, arrested Edward Garcia Jr., 36, and his wife Melissa Hope Garcia, 25, for the suspected murder and dismemberment of White.

The Garcia’s’ both have a criminal record in York, PA., that includes a 2009 kidnapping where Melissa Garcia lured a man to undisclosed location thinking his was going to have sex only to be robbed.

Police officers believe both suspects are drug addicts and the murder happened after the robbery went bad.

The Garcia’s’ made their first court appearance yesterday, but neither entered pleas.

A judge postponed the couple’s arraignment until Jan. 5, each will be charged with one count of murder in the slaying of White.

The court charges include a special circumstance allegation, including torture and it’s unclear if prosecutors will seek the death penalty against the two suspected murderers. The couple remains behind bars without bail.

White’s relatives said at a news conference that he mentioned meeting a couple at an automated teller machine and listened patiently to their hard-luck story.

The victim’s relatives said White was a kind person, who worked as a handyman, and had been sober for more than 15 years. If someone needed a food, money or a ride home, White was always willing to help, according to his family.

Detectives believe robbery was the motive in the killing, but have released few details in the gruesome slaying.

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© Copyright 2010 Kimberly Dvorak all rights reserved

Arizona warns residents with signs against hiking in region near Mexico border

The drug cartel violence coupled with increased crime along the Arizona/Mexico border has prompted Arizona officials to place signs along a heavily-traveled and known smuggling route leading from Mexico to the state’s capitol of Phoenix.

Signs went up a couple weeks ago along the southern side of I-8 between Casa Grande and Gila Bend Arizona. The region is about 80 miles north of the Mexican border and it warns American citizens of the dangers of hiking in the area.

Mexican drug cartels appear to control large areas of Southern Arizona, according to the Pinal County Sheriff.

According to Borderland Beat, the Pinal County Sherriff says, “We do not have control of this area.”

Pinal County investigators are now saying the area known as the ‘smuggling corridor’ stretches from the Mexico’s border to Phoenix.

Borderland suggests the area was once known as a family hiking and off road vehicles area. However the government has posted signs warning visitors and residents of the drug and human smuggling activity.

Recently law enforcement in the southern Arizona region photographed, using night vision cameras, cartel members with military arms delivering drugs to vehicles along Highway 8.

“We are three counties deep. How is it that you see pictures like these, not American with semi and fully automatic rifles? How is that okay?” the Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu asked.

“We are outgunned, we are out manned and we don’t have the resources here locally to fight this,” the Sheriff said at a news conference.

Just 5 weeks ago Deputy Louie Puroll was ambushed and shot by armed men as he tracked suspected drug smugglers. Sheriff Babeu explained that incident mirrored military tactics and should act as a warning to all Arizonians.

While the federal government fails to secure the border, the Arizona state government is left to post signs warning residents that it is no longer safe to use thousands of acres of BLM land.

The new sign reads; “Danger Public Warning, travel not recommended active human and drug smuggling area, visitors may encounter armed criminals and smuggling vehicles traveling at high rates of speed. Stay away from trash, clothing, backpacks and abandoned vehicles. If you see suspicious activity, do not confront (underlined) move away and call 911. The BLM encourages visitors to use public lands north of Interstate 8.”

A mere hop, skip and jump south to Mexico the murders continue unabated.

Mexico experienced its deadliest day since Felipe Calderon took office and 85 citizens lost their lives in a single day due to an uptick in drug cartel brutality.

The bloody Friday in Mexico was summed up by local news reports as organized crime-related mayhem. “In what constitutes the most violent day since the present federal administration began the frontal struggle against organized crime, 85 people lost their lives in acts related directly to ‘adjustments of affairs’ between rival gangs, confrontations and assassinations with high-caliber firearms,” local newspapers reported.

The previous single day loss of life tally was 58 on November 3, 2008.

This should be a wake-up call for all Americans; secure the borders or live in potential lawlessness.

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Gardner pleads guilty to murder of 2 San Diego teenagers

John Gardner pleads guilty to all charges for Amber Dubois and Chelsea King murders on Friday afternoon in a San Diego. In return the sexual predator will not face the death penalty.

The plea agreement states Gardner will get life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Amber Dubois, 14, went missing in February of 2009 and her body was recovered after Chelsea King’s murder took place in March of this year. Gardner was believed to be the killer of the Dubois case after DNA evidence linked the sexual predator to the King murder.

There has been speculation that Gardner was taken out of jail to show investigators the location of Dubois’ body in order to receive life in prison instead of the death penalty. Authorities also report Gardner is the potential perpetrator of other missing girls in Southern California.

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Two dead teenagers leaves San Diego in mourning

Now that the shock of the murder of Chelsea King and Amber Dubois begins to wear off and the justice department begins to build its case against convicted sex offender, John Garner, the family and community will start the process of healing and figuring out who failed the teenagers.

The Escondido and Poway High School students should have been looking in the mailbox to find college acceptance letters that were arriving, instead devastated families must begin the process of picking up the pieces.

There is no question about it Chelsea and Amber were wronged, someone dropped the ball and someone didn’t connect the dots. As the events preceding Amber and Chelsea’s disappearance unfold there is strong evidence pointing to a breakdown in communication in law enforcement.

Law enforcement officers have not missed an opportunity to step out in front of the news cameras all the while offering little to no information about the murders.

News is still developing about another attack in the Rancho Bernardo Park just two months earlier in December. John Gardner also assaulted a 22-year-old female jogger who was visiting from Colorado, according to authorities. However, the jogger was able to fight off her attacker and reported that she elbowed her assailant in the face most likely breaking his nose- this self-defense gave her an opportunity to run for her life.

The San Diego Police Department was called to investigate the scene and after interviewing the victim concluded it was a failed robbery.

“A failed robbery? How many women go jogging in a county park carrying a purse, computer, camera and cash? Anyone with common sense knows something like would take place at a car or home,” says Poway resident Carry who wished to protect her last name.

The jogging victim’s mother found the outcome odd as well. She reported that her daughter was tackled like a football player and a large man fitting Gardner’s description tried to aggressively subdue her daughter.

This where the communication break down begin. San Diego Police Department was convinced the female was a victim of a robbery attempt because at some point during the attack he asked for money. Not many women are buying that excuse.

According to the jogger who was attacked on Dec. 27th, she wanted to sit down with a police sketch artist to create a composite drawing of her attacker, the SDPD was too busy to follow through with her request. However, the female returned home to her Colorado home and was able to get a local Police Dept. to draw a sketch. The likeness to Gardner is astonishing.

Many Poway residents have trouble with the theory Gardner would lie in wait at a secluded part of the Rancho Bernardo Community Park to rob a runner.

San Diego Police saw it differently. “You have to weigh causing panic in the community versus putting information out there,” said Assistant Police Chief Boyd Long, who oversees patrol operations in a San Diego Union Tribune story.

“Hindsight is always 20/20. If we knew today, if we had any idea that the person who did this crime was responsible for other crimes or was going to commit other crimes, we would have put out every effort possible to put him in custody.”

Needless to say, the jogger who was attacked on December 27th could be considered ground zero. Had the police took the attack more seriously, they would have notified the local neighborhood watch program in place in the Rancho Bernardo Community that lines the park.

“There’s a lot of frustration and anger out there right now,” said Gary Carlson the Rancho Bernardo neighborhood watch coordinator. “The San Diego Police Department did not personally notify us after the Dec. 27th attack occurred. It was a failure in communications that the attack was classified as a simple robbery on the crime log.”

According to Carlson, recent cutbacks in community spending may have been a factor in the SDPD not reaching out to community leaders sooner. Had the Police Department notified community leader an action plan would have been implemented.

“First, we would have notified all of our district leaders who would bring neighbors up to speed. The community would have mobilized and put together fliers to post at local businesses, entrances to the park as well as post fliers door-to-door.”

Finally, the Rancho Bernardo Neighborhood Watch group would have posted information on their website and been in constant contact with law enforcement officers monitoring the case progress.
“Hind sight is 20/20, but I can say we would have been proactive,” Carlson said.

Moving forward Carlson believes the police and community can learn from this tragedy and figure out a communication system that will provide a timely alert mechanism for future incidents that may arise.

A day in court

The defendant’s first day in court went smoothly and lasted less than five minutes. Gardner’s mother or stepfather did not attend the arraignment and it’s been reported they may have fled town to avoid the steady stream of onlookers and angry residents. Gardner’s family home was vandalized during the early hours on Wednesday, the garage door read, and “Chelsea’s blood is on you Move out.”

After the brief court appearance, lead prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney Kristen Spieler held a joint press conference with San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. The charges Gardner face are murder with a special allegation that occurred during the commission or attempted commission of a rape.
“The special allegation attached to the murder charge makes the defendant eligible for the death penalty,” Spieler explained.

Another mantra the District Attorney repeated during the news conference was “We are not here to try the case in the media, but to try our case in court.” Dumanis explained the case would be handled by the book and considerations needed to be made regarding the crime that “has rocked” San Diego.

Due to the national media attention this case has garnered, prosecutors admitted the case would follow proper protocol and many decisions about the death penalty would be decided with the help of Chelsea’s family.

The charge of rape and murder are significant, but also concerning is the second charge that specifically accuses Gardner of assault with the intent to commit rape in the Dec. 27 attack.
Police or the District Attorney’s office wouldn’t detail the change in the police report taken in December and the addition of the intent to rape charges to Gardner.

News reported by the Associated Press tie Gardner’s DNA directly to Chelsea. According to the California Department of Justice spokesperson Christine Gasparac matching DNA of semen was found on Chelsea’s clothing.

Gardner who was released from prison in 2006 and competed his parole in September 2008, despite an unfavorable psychiatric review by Dr. Matthew Carroll who described the defendant as “a continued danger to underage girls in the community.”

Missing teenager Amber Dubois

Amber Dubois’ parents received the grim news that their daughter who has been missing for 13 months has been found. On Friday night the parents were hopeful their daughter was still alive as the Escondido Police Department searched Kit Carson Park for clues to the missing teenager.

That all ended today as Escondido Police Chief Jim Maher said, “The discovery was made in the early morning hours Saturday in a very rugged and remote area of Pala. Escondido police and Sheriff’s homicide detectives were following a lead in the case when they made the discovery.”

The remains found near the Pala reservation and Pala Casino, were positively identified using Amber’s dental records Saturday afternoon.

Maher, Sheriff Bill Gore and FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Keith Slotter, did not answer any questions at the brief press conference held at the Escondido Police Department. Maher explained the remains were part of an ongoing police investigation and there were three separate agencies working the Amber Dubois and Chelsea cases.

“The entire community, everybody who helped out with the search effort, and above all our huge volunteer corps, they are the most dedicated people and without them we couldn’t have done anything,” said the visibly upset father Maurice Dubois.

When asked if the reward for information leading to Amber’s disappearance would be in play, Sheriff Gore declined to answer leading to more questions as to how the skeletal remains were located.

The local convenience store in Pala, yielded chatter that Amber was most likely found because John Gardner, who is charged with Chelsea King’s rape and murder wanted to get out of the death penalty.

However, the San Diego Union Tribune is reporting that the tip came in the form of a concerned resident. “The entire Chelsea King event emotionally pulled at somebody who had this information,” said Bill Garcia a PI hired by the Dubois family. “They’ve seen the community in a lot of pain. Someone who had been afraid to say something finally came forward.”

A half-hour drive north of Escondido would be Amber’s final resting place. Her skeletal remains were recovered off Pala-Temecula Road in the rocky hillside of a bustling highway located between two casinos.

The Sheriff’s deputies were parked along the highway in nondescript SUVs, but were easy to spot because the officers were standing outside their vehicles. Ask if the crime scene was up or down, they pointed up a mile-long road into a wooded section of the hillside. Once their cover was blown, the Sheriff’s Department called Caltrans to place crime scene tape along the roadside and clear two members of the media.

The Escondido Police Department announced more details would be forthcoming at another press conference tomorrow.

Gardner lived in Escondido for part of 2009 when the teenager went missing. Dubois said he and his family knew that Gardner was a local registered sex offender and watched his apartment for a short period of time after their daughter went missing. Currently there are more than 60,000 sex offenders residing in California.

The national spotlight on Chelsea King renewed efforts by the Escondido Police Department and a recent tip sent authorities to Kit Carson Park in Escondido searching for clues to find Amber, but ultimately found her body 30 minutes north of where she was snatched.

The investigation into Gardner past widened in since Chelsea’s disappearance and authorities have linked him to a December assault and continue to explore whether he had a role in last year’s abduction of Escondido teenager Dubois.

Joined by the FBI, police officials scoured a Kit Carson Park pond and surrounding region to be sure nothing was left to chance. “We didn’t find anything that I would consider to be of evidentiary value at this point,” said police Lt. Craig Carter.

While the Dubois’ are grateful for the renewed effort in their daughter’s case, they are filled with sadness for the King family and both parents continue to wear the orange ribbon for Chelsea.

While the community is alert, authorities and family members of both girls are enlisting the public to step forward with any clues no matter how insignificant they may seem. “Right now our hearts go out to anyone with possible leads to Amber’s location and we are not going to lose hope in finding Amber alive,” they said at a Friday night interview.

Absolutely outrageous DNA backlog

The San Diego Union Tribune has also reported the San Diego Police Department crime lab had rushed to test a DNA swab taken from the elbow of the victim of the December attack this week. “We thought we could get something good on that, but unfortunately not,” Collins said.

Due to a 500 DNA sample backlog the suspect’s DNA sample taken in December was not tested earlier because it was considered an attempted robbery. Authorities say robberies don’t rate very high and rapes and murders take a higher priority for testing. It is worth pointing out that state budget cuts could have added to the delay as many state employees are forced to take furlough days each month.

According to the State Penal Code “the purpose of the DNA and Forensic Identification Database and Data Bank Program is to assist federal, state, and local criminal justice and law enforcement agencies within and outside California in the expeditious and accurate detection and prosecution of individuals responsible for sex offenses and other crimes, the exclusion of suspects who are being investigated for these crimes, and the identification of missing and unidentified persons, particularly abducted children.

Looking back to the December attack in Rancho Bernardo County Park, clues were dismissed and residents were unable to spring into action. Perhaps Chelsea’s death could have been prevented if her parents were aware that it wasn’t safe to jog in the park alone.

Community leaders will now begin the process of looking through the process to ensure proper steps are followed in the future.

Congressman Bilbray spokesperson Fritz Chaleff explained the Congressman, who has two daughters, “was deeply saddened by the news of Chelsea’s murder.”

No one can predict the future, but armed with information, residents can better protect themselves, communicate and ban together.

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Missing teenager Chelsea King’s body found – family says goodbye

When all seems lost in the world and the rottenness rears its ugly head the community of Poway steps up to the challenge and shows its grace and poise.

The city of Poway is no stranger to adversity. When California was on fire Poway claimed the lion share of the destruction. Neighbors helped neighbors, there wasn’t much of a need with shelters as residents brought supplies, opened up their homes and made the best of the difficult times.

Today, the city recovered a bright young teenager with a lifetime of experiences ahead of her. The community she called home came out by the thousands to show their solidarity with her family.

St. Michaels Catholic Church was another place Chelsea called home and at the candle light vigil -family, friends and strangers gathered to remember the light that Chelsea King represented and mourn that extinguished light whose life was cut short.

Chelsea had a loving family complete with all the teenage silliness girls possess. Her friends talked about her “quirkiness” they would no longer be a part of. They talked about the friend that would brighten their day even if it weren’t a good day.

Chelsea’s peer sister explained that all the kids at school wore orange today – “she is the epitome of orange.” Another friend said they wore blue yesterday “they were sad.”

“Now we all wear orange searching for our Nemo in a ocean of blue,” Chelsea’s cadre of friends said.

The family who endured the wretchedness of the past six days, still found the grace to thank the thousands of well wishers, volunteers and friends who will ultimately carry the burden of consoling a family that had a daughter, a sister and a friend stolen from them.

“She will be my angel forever. Thank you everyone who helped search and who will now help us heal. Keep her alive for us, we love all of you, we love all of you,” her father Brent King said at the candle light vigil.

The St. Michaels Catholic Church priest had a few words to say about Chelsea as well. “You all will face three challenges. Your faith has been challenged tonight, your hope has been challenged tonight and your love has been challenged tonight. It’s okay to feel the hurt and the pain. It’s the gift of God that is with us and will help us through.”

Once the final words were spoken, the community walked slowly along Pomerado Road, their path was guided by candlelight and the procession stretched for a few miles.

As the lights dimmed, a large full moon rose in the sky and it felt like Chelsea was radiating all the love she had left to give, smiling downward one last time before she took her place next to the angels.

For now Poway is left to mourn a senseless tragedy, a crime committed by a coward who stalked his victim and showed no respect or remorse for the preciousness that Chelsea embodied. Rest peacefully, Chelsea, you will not be forgotten.

For the traditional news story;–law-enforcement-concerns

Missing teenager highlights sexual predators – law enforcement concerns

It was a balmy afternoon when teenager Chelsea King went for a run in Rancho Bernardo Community Park in San Diego – Thursday of last week. After four days of extensive searching the region where King’s family located her car and her parents are still no closer to bringing their High School honor student home.

The story is sad. Friends and family giving heartfelt pleas for the safe return of Chelsea, reporters clamoring for more details about evidence collected and frustrated search and rescue workers still coming up empty handed and officials are still no closer to finding the 17-year-old- girl..

The reality of this story starts with another sexual predator, John Albert Gardner III, 30, a registered sex offender who was supposed to be living in Lake Elsinore, however, he was arrested Sunday at Hernandez Hide-a-Way restaurant and is being held on suspicion of rape and murder.

Late-breaking news ties Gardner to another attack in the same park that took place on December 27, 2009. The victim was a female jogger who successfully fought off Gardner and ran for help at nearby homes.

Sheriff spokesperson Jan Caldwell, was reluctant to give any details on the connection of the two separate crimes at an afternoon press conference. “Our job now is to find Chelsea and bring her home.”

After authorities garnered a positive identification of Gardner for the December sexual assault case, the hopes of finding the teenager alive dwindled with each passing hour.

Concerned residents lined the park closely watching the helicopters, divers and search and rescue team pick through the weeds and brush looking for any clues that could lead to Chelsea’s whereabouts.

From the south end of the park neighbors watched FBI agents photograph a rocky embankment near the Community Park’s waterfall for more than four hours. The secluded cove below the waterfall was scoured by police watercraft. The Sheriff’s Department still believes the victim may have been dumped in Lake Hodges.

Most disturbing to residents is the fact Gardner, a registered sex offender was living with his mother who lives less than a mile from the crime scene. Gardner was also a frequent customer at the corner Circle K, the store clerk said. “He seemed normal.”

There was no reassurance from area residents that a registered sex offender was arrested for the alleged rape and murder. “We can never be safe in the park again, the police can’t protect us,” Martha Gerber said.

In 2000 Gardner was convicted of sexually molesting a 13-year-old neighbor. He went to prison for five years and successfully completed his parole in 2008. There have been numerous reports that once Gardner returned to the community he may have resumed his unlawful sexual advances on many different women.

Connecting the dots with Chelsea’s disappearance may answer some lingering questions regarding another 14-year-old Escondido girl who disappeared from home.

It’s been just over a year since the other teenager; Amber Dubois vanished on her way to school. According to Escondido Police Lt. Bob Benton, they have seen similarities between the victims, Chelsea and Amber.

Authorities have their work cut out for them if Chelsea or Amber are never found. For now the hundreds of investigators and family members remain hopeful that the girls will return home safe some day.

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Bloody week in Tijuana alludes to more violence- claims American’s life

More than 50 murders marked one of Tijuana’s most bloody weeks of drug cartel violence that included beheadings as well as the death of an American mother of two who was having dinner with her husband on the Mexico-side of the border at a new restaurant Wichos Tacos.

The shootout between drug cartels reportedly included only low-level players, yet the high-stakes game of the drug business doesn’t discriminate against those caught in the crossfire and this time it was an American citizen killed. Yajaira Orozco of San Diego was murdered and her husband, Raul was shot in the leg and is expected to make a full recovery.

“It was the wrong place and the wrong time,” the grief-stricken husband/father said.

The war zone region of Mexico also resulted in the discovery of three boys bodies inside a Tijuana neighborhood; authorities surmise the boys were victims of kidnappers. The unidentified boys expose the especially dark-side of cartel life proving no one is safe in the country until the government reclaims control of Mexico.

Another aspect of the week-long murder spree is the cost to law enforcement. At least one policeman succumbed to his injuries and another Ministerial Police officer was kidnapped and his whereabouts remain unknown.

Mid week proved especially brutal in Tijuana as reports of 11 murders took place during a 24-hour period including a couple who were found beheaded and a “narcomensaje” (a message from drug cartels left on dead bodies) in popular beach tourist area known as Rosarito Beach.

In an effort to quell the fears of American citizens who have avoided Baja in recent years causing the economic downturn to spiral in an already depressed country, Mayor Jerry Sanders of San Diego announced the joint operation of Metropolitan Tourist Police.

The joint effort between the Mexican Police and the San Diego Police Department hopes to train 22 Mexican law enforcement officers to better respond to tourists needs and lure Americans to the sites south of the border.

During the daylong training session, Mexican agents were given instruction for an array of topics including gangs, ethics, patrol tactics and how to interact with tourists.

“Visitors need to know that there is someone who is there for them on the other side of the border,” said Giovanni Malinchrynni a Rosarito Beach Police officer. This daylong training hopes to erase the bad images most have regarding the Baja region, according to training authorities.

However, security expert, Rick Sweeney of SECFOR International says the daylong training won’t do much. He explains many of the same Mexican officials cross the border to learn new techniques and most return to Mexico, sit in their office chairs and forget about the training provided by the U.S. law enforcement.

“To stay vigilant south of the border it is up to officers to remain on guard 100 percent of the time, however, I can drive by security officers anytime and tell they have relaxed in to their old ways,” Sweeney said. “Nothing changes down there and I would never recommend anyone traveling to Mexico and for our U.S. government to do so is wrong.”

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