Strong Likelihood’ Body Found Is Chelsea

A body discovered Tuesday during a search is likely a missing Poway teenager, law enforcement officials said Tuesday..

Chelsea King, 17, has been the subject of an extensive search effort near Lake Hodges since last week. John Albert Gardner III  was  arrested Monday in connection to the case of the missing Poway High School student, who spent some time growing up in Illinois before returning to Poway.

The body was found near the southen shore of Lake Hodges. Officials said official identification of the body had not yet been made but that there was a strong likelihood that they had found the missing Poway teen. San Diego County Sheriff William Gore said the body was located in a shallow grave near the lake. The sheriff said a positive identification should be made Tuesday night or Wednesday.

Officials have cordoned off a large area with police tape and have made a series of trips to the shore from a boat moored nearby. The sheriff’s department said at 3:15 p.m. that they had rescheduled an earlier news conference for 3:45 p.m., which will livestream. No other details are available yet.

Chelsea was last seen Thursday, Feb. 25. before heading out to run after school. Her car was found at the Rancho Bernardo Glassman Community Park. Her cell phone, iPod and school clothes were found inside the car.

Since then, hundreds of volunteers searched the area near Lake Hodges. On Monday, law enforcement sources said an article of King’s clothing was found on the southern edge of the lake. DNA on the clothing led to Gardner’s arrest, according to investigators.

Dozens of law enforcement officers from multiple agencies worked in teams performing line searches at the lake, going through reeds, snakes and vegetation, along a 14-mile stretch of shoreline.

Gardner has been linked to an attack on a jogger in December. The woman in that case got away and identified Gardner in a photo lineup, according to investigators.

Check back here for updates on this breaking news story.

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