LONG BEACH, Calif.,—The father of slain Escondido teenager Amber Dubois visited Long Beach today as part of National Missing Children's Abduction Day to drum up support for legislation aimed at helping law enforcement agencies respond more quickly to child abductions.
"This is specifically for convicted, harsh, proven predators," said Maurice Dubois, father of Amber. "My child was killed by a proven predator. He was on the streets."
Dubois has been working with Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D- Santa Barbara, to come up with legislation aimed at better coordinating law enforcement efforts when a child is abducted.
"There is a need to bring California's laws and processes for missing person response and recovery into the 21st century," said Nava.
According to Nava, more than 180,000 kids in California go missing every year. In an effort to curb those statistics, Nava, and co-author, Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucaipa, introduced four proposed bills that will better track sex offenders:
- AB 1022-Missing Child Rapid Response Act would establish a California Missing Child Rapid Response Team within the California Attorney General's Office.
- AB 33-Peace Officers Missing Child Training Act would create uniform and consistent criteria for finding missing children for all law enforcement agencies.
- AB 34 Missing Child Notification Protection Act would law enforcement agencies to report credible adult or child missing reports to the California Violent Crime Information Center and the National Crime Information Center databases within two hours.
-AB 589-Sexual Predator Identification Act would issue distinctive driver's licenses or identification cards to violent sex offenders.
"And take that information, (law enforcement) look at where it is that they're supposed to be living, find out where it is you found them, and if there is somewhere where they're not supposed to be, then that leads to a whole new avenue of investigation," said Nava.
What isn't known is the cost for the proposed laws. Nava, during the press conference, said he'd support closing tax loopholes, and charging a severence tax to oil companies that drill off California's coastline.
" If we were to charge 10-percent per barrel in California, we'd raise $1.5 million dollars each and every year. We can save a lot of kids with that money," he said.
The Dubois family spent just over a year looking for their 14-year-old daughter, who disappeared in Feb. 13, 2009 while walking to Escondido High School. After his arrest for the Feb. 25 rape and murder of 17-year-old Chelsea King, sex offender John Albert Gardner III led authorities to Amber's remains in Pala.
"He showed absolutely no remorse for his crimes, and they still gave him only six years of sentence, rather than the suggested 30 years,'' Maurice Dubois said. "There's numerous issues, numerous parole violations which all should have sent Gardner back into the system. Did he fall through the cracks?Oh yeah. He fell through the cracks a hundred times. Does he know how to work the system? Most predators do."
Chelsea King's family is also pushing for legislation in her memory that would toughen penalties on sexually violent predators. Named "Chelsea's Law," it's scheduled to be heard in front of the state's appropriations committee on Friday.