Two summers ago, in the middle of the night, paroled sex offender John Gardner III visited a remote mountains area not far from where he would later hide the body of Amber Dubois. It was one of 13 trips to rural areas that should have drawn the attention of his parole agents, concludes a new investigation reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune.
He broke curfew seemingly at will, at least 158 times. He loitered around schools and playgrounds. He committed a felony that could have landed him behind bars for life when he went to the grounds of a state prison, along a contraband smuggling path. Gardner was never confronted about his “suspicious” and “aberrant behavior” – or any of the times he ignored rules requiring him to stay home at night, the Inspector General's Office reported yesterday. “Successful prosecution of Gardner's crime and administrative action in response to his parole violations would have sent Gardner back to prison, making it impossible for him to murder the two young girls and commit the attempted sexual assault,” says the report by the independent state agency, which advises the governor and the Legislature. “The fact that their daughter's death was completely preventable is beyond belief, and it's very clear that we need reform,” said a spokeswoman for the family of slain Chelsea King.