Proposed law enforcement changes promoted by Dubois clear assembly

By City News Service

A package of bills promoted by the father of murdered Escondido teenager Amber Dubois that is intended to improve law enforcement handling of missing person cases was approved Friday by the state Assembly.

The bills, authored by Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, and Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucaipa, must be signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger before becoming law.

Assembly Bill 33 would establish guidelines, including a checklist, for handling missing persons investigations.

AB 34 would require missing person reports to be passed on to the Violent Crime Information Center and the National Crime Information Center databases within two hours.

And AB 1022 would create a missing person coordinator position within the California Department of Justice to help local law enforcement agencies find abducted children.

The legislation was championed by Moe Dubois, the father of 14-year-old Amber, who was abducted, raped and fatally stabbed by John Albert Gardner III last year.

Gardner, 31, was sentenced in May to three consecutive life terms without parole for murdering and sexually assaulting Amber and 17-year-old Chelsea King of Poway.

“We believe that the time is now to implement thoughtful legislation that will make a real difference in the way we recover missing children,” Moe Dubois said in a statement. “We want to use our loss to bring about real change so that no family has to go through what we did.”

The state Assembly postponed taking a final vote today on a proposed law named for King.

Assembly Bill 1844 - Chelsea’s Law - calls for mandatory life sentences for violent sex crimes against children. It also tightens sex offense parole guidelines and requires lifelong tracking of certain sex offenders.

That vote is tentatively set for Monday.

Gardner was on parole for other sex crimes when he murdered Amber and Chelsea.