By TER Staff
The Enterprise Report has learned exclusively that a black 2002 Nissan Sentra 4-door, driven by now indicted murder suspect and convicted sex offender John Albert Gardner and registered to a 'girlfriend' of Gardner may be a key link between a number of cases of alleged murder, attempted murder and other attempted abductions of young girls in both Riverside and San Diego County prior to the killing of 17-year old teenager Chelsea King last month.
TER has confirmed that the 2002 car in question is now in the custody of San Diego County Sheriff's crime lab and is being tested for evidence in the Chelsea King case, as well as other cases of missing or attempted abductions of young women that police believe may be linked to accused killer John Gardner.
TER has obtained a recent traffic citation that shows a crucial link between Gardner, a woman named Jariah Baker and addresses in both Riverside and San Diego County in early 2010 only weeks prior the murder of Chelsea King.
The traffic ticket was issued to John Gardner in Lake Elsinore, CA on January 30, 2010 by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department just over three weeks prior to the disappearance of Chelsea King. The citation seen here for the first time clearly documents the fact that Gardner was stopped at a Lake Elsinore DUI sobriety checkpoint that evening. The checkpoint was set up only miles from the Lake Elsinore home where Gardner was registered at the time as a convicted sex offender. The DUI checkpoint had been made public by police before it took place.
Late on the evening of January 30, Gardner who was not cited for DUI, but was cited for driving a 2002 Nissan Sentra registered to a woman named Jariah Baker at an address in Escondido, CA. Gardner was stopped for driving the car without proper (expired) registration and having no proof "financial responsibility" (i.e.-car insurance) The car was registered to Baker who TER has learned is the woman Gardner was living with at an Escondido apartment -- the same address listed for Baker's car. Gardner was previously registered as a sex offender at that same address in Escondido up until January 7th, 2010. On January 7th, 2010 he re-registered at the home of his grandmother in Lake Elsinore. Gardner's Lake Elsinore address is clearly listed on the ticket.
The Enterprise Report has obtained exclusive photographs of Baker. (TER has chosen to not identify the child in one of the photos) and TER has learned Baker does have a presence on the social media site Facebook. TER has attempted to reach Baker for comment on Gardner, her car and other issues, but did not receive a response prior to publication of this story.TER has confirmed that when Gardner was stopped by police at the DUI checkpoint in Lake Elsinore on January 10, 2010 Riverside Co. Sheriff Deputy's at the scene did confirm Gardner's status a newly registered sex offender in their city. According to Riverside County Sheriff spokesman Sgt. Joe Borja no other investigation or checking was done to further investigate any possible links to Gardner and a previous case of a suspected child abduction in Lake Elsinore. The attempted abduction of a young girl had happened only months earlier a few miles from where Gardner was now living and where his grandmother had lived and he had frequented in the past.
The Riverside Co. Sheriff had previously publicly circulated a composite sketch of a suspect in the October 2009 case that bears a striking resemblance to Gardner. Spokesman Borja confirmed to TER than no information was passed along to the Detective handing the October case after Gardner was stopped on January 30th of this year.
Although according to Sheriff's spokesman Borja nobody in law enforcement ever checked, the registered address of the black 2002 Nissan Sentra being driven by Gardner that night which was registered to Jariah Baker of Escondido, CA. The same residence address where Gardner's had already registered in San Diego County as a convicted sex offender previously.
At the time of Gardner's traffic stop on January 30th, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department was still actively investigating the case of the attempted abduction of a young girl in the early morning hours of October 28, 2009 in Lake Elsinore.
A man fitting Gardner's description attempted to force the girl at gunpoint into a car as she walked to school. The girl ran away and was not harmed. After the incident Riverside County Sheriff's circulated a composite sketch of the suspect who bears an uncanny resemblance to John Gardner. The flier put out publicly also notes the car the suspect was driving was identified by the intended victim as being a "90's era gold four-door sedan". As the San Diego Union Tribune first reported yesterday Gardner himself owned a gold Pontiac 4-door sedan which has had previously been cited numerous times since June of 2009 by law enforcement around San Diego County.When asked by The Enterprise Report whether information on Gardner from the January 30th traffic stop in Lake Elsinore had been forwarded to the detective handling the case of the attempted child abduction from October 2009, Riverside County Sheriff spokesman Sgt. Joe Borja confirmed it had not -- until after Gardner's name surfaced as a suspect in the killing of Chelsea King in San Diego in late February of this year. Borja confirmed that his officers would have been provided a viewing of the composite sketch of the October suspect in the Lake Elsinore attempted child abduction case prior to the traffic stop of Gardner in January of 2010, but Borja told TER that the officer involved in citing Gardner that evening had little chance of matching Gardner to the composite sketch. Borja also told TER that despite the open investigation of the attempted child abduction in October of 2009 and that fact that Gardner had a family relative living only miles from where the attempted abduction had taken place -- and where Gardner had recently re-registered as living at in early January of 2010, no further investigation of Gardner was undertaken at the time.
The cities of Lake Elsinore and Escondido are only short distance from each other, but they are located in two different counties along California Interstate-15 which runs north/south and connects the two. Lake Elsinore is in Riverside County and Escondido in Northern San Diego County. Gardner it seems was well aware of that fact and used it to his advantage to avoid being pinpointed by police in either county as a suspect in a string of attempted abduction and assaults on teenage girls in both counties.
The Enterprise Report has confirmed the 2002 Nissan has been seized by the San Diego Sheriff's Department and is undergoing forensic teasing at its crime lab. A San Diego County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman refused to comment about any aspect of the case and referred TER calls on the case to the San Diego District Attorney's office.Police are also investigating possible links to Gardner in the case of Amber DuBois, a San Diego 14-year old who disappeared over a year ago and who's body was discovered this week in San Diego County on the Pala indian reservation,. The discovery after Gardner was arrested in the relation to the Chelsea King case. Police have only said a tip led them to DuBois' body, but have not released any further details about the tip.
Yesterday a judge in San Diego issued a gag order on all parties involved in the case. Gardner appeared in court but his preliminary hearing on charges of killing Chelsea King and attacking another young female jogger who managed to escape last December in the same park was delayed until August. The judge also ordered a 2000 probation report related to Gardner's previous conviction for the molestation of a 13-year old girl in San Diego County unsealed and released to the public.