Chelsea King's Body Believed to Have Been Found

Chelsea King's Body Believed to Have Been Found
Chelsea King

updated 03/03/2010 AT 08:15 AM EST

originally published 03/02/2010 AT 07:15 PM EST

A body recovered Tuesday afternoon near San Diego appears to be that of Chelsea King, the 17-year-old honor student who disappeared Thursday as she jogged in a community park just east of Lake Hodges, authorities say.

The remains were removed from a shallow grave on the shoreline as hundreds of volunteers combed the forest and brush in Rancho Bernardo Community Park in search of the Poway High School student, whose classmates hung missing posters around campus and posted prayers to a Help Find Chelsea King Facebook page with 77,000 fans.

"This was our worst fear, that we would find her as we did today," San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore told reporters.

A convicted sex offender was arrested Sunday and scheduled for arraignment Wednesday on charges of murder and rape.

John Albert Gardner III, 30, spent five years in prison after he was convicted 10 years ago of molesting a 13-year-old neighbor girl in his mother's townhouse, which is in the same community as the park. Gardner is also being looked at in the case of Amber Dubois, 15, who disappeared Feb. 13, 2009, while walking to Escondido High School and has still not been found.

See what other readers have to say about this story – or leave a comment of your own

From Our Partners