Dive teams search Lake Hodges in search for missing Poway teen
The intensive search for a Poway teenager, missing after an after-school run near Lake Hodges, has turned from land to water, with dive teams in that lake and its tributaries, the San Diego County sheriff said Saturday.
No trace has been found of Chelsea King, 17, after she parked her BMW sedan outside the Rancho Bernardo Community Center Thursday afternoon for one of her regular several-mile runs along an extensive trail system around the lake.
Anyone with information on Chelsea King’s whereabouts was urged to call the sheriff’s department at (858) 565-5200 or San Diego County Crime Stoppers at (619) 531-2000.
Chelsea was several hours overdue in returning home when her parents called the Sheriff’s Department, which serves Poway, to report her missing. Deputies looked for her through the night, then called in reinforcements.
Law officers from Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange counties joined the search, some with tracking dogs, along with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, the FBI, and San Diego police. The community center park where King’s car was found, and the land immediately around Lake Hodges, lie within San Diego city limits.
Sheriff’s dive teams have been searching the lake Saturday, joining hundreds of other law officers and volunteers combing steams and rivers feeding into the basin, said Sheriff Bill Gore at an afternoon media briefing."It’s been a truly great effort by everybody, all with the same goal of trying to return Chelsea to her family,” Gore said. “It’s obviously the unknown that’s so stressful and so traumatic, in something like this."Chelsea’s parents, Brent and Kelly King, met with volunteers at the Chelsea King Search Center office at 11858 Bernardo Plaza, where so many people turned out despite chilling rain showers that some were waived off."It’s a reflection of who she is and what kind of person she is,” Brent King said as he and his wife stood in front of a band of volunteers. “She’s that kind of kid that everybody loves and it shows."Kelly King added that her heart, “is overflowing with all the support and all this love, and there’s no words for it."Brent King said Chelsea posted small notes with favorite inspirational sayings in her bathroom, including one from classical Roman poet Virgil, “They can because they think they can.""We think we can bring her back; we’ll find her,” Brent King said.Gore said investigators are working with San Diego police to determine whether there is any connection between Chelsea’s disappearance and an assault on a woman at the Rancho Bernardo park on Dec. 27. He did not offer more details on that case.Law enforcement helicopters have searched the park and lake area with infrared devices, but found no heat source that led them to Chelsea, Gore said. Investigators have seized Chelsea’s cell phone, found in her car, and her home computer.Chelsea, due to graduate from Poway High School this spring, is white, 5 feet 5 inches tall and 115 pounds, with blond hair and blue eyes. She is a member of the San Diego Youth Symphony and a straight-A student, and has served as a peer counselor at the school.