March 3, 2010

A grandmother’s anguish

Posted: 10:02 PM ET

14-year-old Amber Dubois went missing last year in Escondido, California while on her way to school.  The last person to hear from Amber was her grandmother, Shelia Welch, who shared her story with Larry King Live blog.

I woke up on Friday, February 13, 2009 when a text message came in on my cell phone, which I keep by my bed.  

It was from my 14 year old granddaughter, Amber Leeanne Dubois.  I read it and smiled.  I wish that I had dialed her phone and talked to her instead of just being pleased to get a text.  It was text #70 between us for that week.  It was the last time ANYONE heard from Amber.

Half an hour later, two people said they saw her just yards away from her high school.  Then, in just a few seconds, she disappeared.

It was a really special day for Amber because she was a proud member of FFA (Future Farmers of America) and she was to get her lamb that morning.  In her pack back was the check for the lamb and valentines for her friends.  She had a cell phone which I provided in there, too.  She was excited and happy, a good student with a perfect attendance, an avid reader and a lover of all animals, but, especially wolves, an interest we both shared.

GONE. How could that be?    

At first, since I had her little sister with me and we were 86 miles away,  I stayed with her while my daughter, Carrie, searched everywhere for Amber and called for help from the local police.  They did not put out an Amber Alert because no one saw her disappear.  They did not put up roadblocks. They did not bring helicopters or drones.  They did not bring dogs to scent for her.  She was 14 and they made the bad assumption that she was a runaway.  She was not.  She was a VICTIM.

She is still missing after more than a year.  What would be the result if the police had done for Amber what was done for Chelsea [King]?  While I grieve for the loss of Chelsea, I cannot escape the thought that the results would have been different had the same efforts been made for Amber.

Although we have searched in a multitude of ways to find our beloved Amber, those first crucial hours were wasted and Amber has been paying an enormous price for that.  How many children are going to suffer in the days to come for "failures to act?" – whether it is to search for the missing or to keep sex offenders like [John] Gardner in jail?

Sheila Welch

Amber's Grandmom

Filed under: Larry King Live

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michael armstrong sr.   March 3rd, 2010 10:10 pm ET

Dont beleve this administration there a bunch of low dog theives.the health care bill along with all the other bills are premeditative fraud scandles.

Maria Copelli   March 3rd, 2010 10:15 pm ET

Ireally hope Amber is found very soon,this should have gotten more press, SHE will be in our prayers.Love Maria C.

michael armstrong sr.   March 3rd, 2010 10:16 pm ET

Hi Jane dont this remind you of a whale Chelcy is like the Whale trainer .

hideaki nagano   March 3rd, 2010 10:16 pm ET

I think Childrens Day,Children Crusade.

michael armstrong sr.   March 3rd, 2010 10:17 pm ET

Tarzan Jack Hannan and Moby Dick are on this same page .

michael armstrong sr.   March 3rd, 2010 10:23 pm ET

Just you guys need to take care of these guys the old school way .

michael armstrong sr.   March 3rd, 2010 10:27 pm ET

Maybe treat these pedifiles like that Whale treated that trainer why are the rules different turn the Whale loose Sea World is beyound the law .

michael armstrong sr.   March 3rd, 2010 10:32 pm ET

Amber is gone and if she was abducted by a mexican illeagle then justice will never be served my daughter was rapeped by an illeagle and he was set free because he wasnt a citizen of the united states .

angela   March 3rd, 2010 10:32 pm ET


michael armstrong sr.   March 3rd, 2010 10:33 pm ET

My little girls name was also Amber .

michael armstrong sr.   March 3rd, 2010 10:41 pm ET

Now thers the feelings of a victom.

Monika   March 3rd, 2010 11:10 pm ET

The universal truth is there is no cure for sex offenders and they dont deserve to be alive; this is not a drug addiction fact that enters the body from external environment, it's inside the brain and there is no "help" possible or worth it.

manatee   March 3rd, 2010 11:56 pm ET

Michael Armstrong Sr., is English a second language for you?

Gwen in Escondido   March 4th, 2010 2:01 am ET

Amber and her family have been in our prayers since last February. I'm so angry that we can't keep our beloved children safe from these monsters.

Hannah   March 4th, 2010 6:30 am ET

This past spring an 8 yr. old girl 45 km.(30 miles US) from where I lived went missing right after school. An amber alert was never done since the police had it in their minds that the mother was guilty. Everyday there was a press conference that the mom emphatically stated she was not guilty. Afew days later it was realized there was a camera on the building across the street from the school. When checked it was realized a young woman of approx. 18 yr. oe age accompanied Tori off school property. Within 6 weeks Tori's body was recovered -an 18 yr. old woman & a 32 yr. old man were arrested. Too many errors were made. When an 8 yr. old child goes missing -an amber alert should have been announced almost immediately. I know why family members are scrutinized in cases like this but to not continue the investigation thorougly because the police think it's a parent.. is atrue injustice to the family especially the child. Anytime I drove past the home of the 18 yr' old woman gave me chills down my spine. In my opinion there is no rehab. for a pedophile. or your average sex offender. Have you ever heard of a sex offender who has only done it once? Lock the prison cell door & throw away the key!!!!!

Tmec mom   March 4th, 2010 3:49 pm ET

Ms. Gardner: My heart breaks for you and your family. I have followed Amber's disappearance and have looked for her as we live close. When Chelsea disappeared, my immediate thought was – why didn't we look for Amber like this? I understand that the police can not call in the FBI for every teenager who goes missing – but we should be doing better – as a community.

We have struggled in our house this week- we have a 17 year old who looks alot like Chelsea. Our phones were going off teasing us that her face was all over town. It wasn't funny for long. Your blog was just what my kids' grandmother said to me this week. She would see Chelsea's picture and cry at the thought it could be our daughter. Please know that there are people praying for you and your family.

Our anger this week is at the beast who did this, the December jogging victim who didn't provide a sketch to the police, and the inabilty to help your family by our community. We must do better.

Cris   March 4th, 2010 4:59 pm ET

The soulution is pretty simple. Don't lock the cell door and throw away the key. Death penalty. Sometimes we just need to cull the herd.

dak   March 4th, 2010 6:32 pm ET

My heart breaks for you. Please find peace in knowing that alot of good people have you in their thoughts.

God Bless

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   March 4th, 2010 7:29 pm ET

You do wonder where the justice is in it all. My heart goes out to people who have experienced these horrible things. Yes, there is always evil lurching out there in this world.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. May God bless you all and comfort you in your difficult time.

Michelle Wilson   March 5th, 2010 2:13 am ET

to Amber's family I feel your pain...I would love to see my sex offender behind bars. Since his conviction he has been convicted of three new charges yet hes allowed to walk the street with no consequence. I have wriiten to the california attorney general if there is anything I can do please let me know. My prayers are with you and yours I hope you find justice soon.

Sandra from Boksburg SOuth Africa   March 5th, 2010 3:44 am ET

To all those moms, dads, brothers, sisters, granny's and grand pa's who have members of their family just dissappear, my heart goes out to you all. To Amber and Chelseas family who have been in the news lately and must be hurting so much we can only continue to hope and pray that they will come home safely.
Its so hard to find the right words to say to you.

b.v.r.sastry   March 6th, 2010 3:08 pm ET

dear sirs/madams,
very very sorry to hear the worst.same cases althrough out the world.the parents –poor parents-they suffer silently bearing thepains unspeakable–girls any where are the victims.very very sorry.our hearts are with the sufferers.we pray to God to give them all strength.
b.v.r.sastry–from hyderabad,a.p,india

jessica   March 8th, 2010 12:53 pm ET

I just really think they need to press the issue in more punishment for pedophiles, last I heard they are trying to make it to where it should automatically be Death Row!!!! I support that, because eventually they will get out, have that itch to do it again.

June   March 8th, 2010 5:55 pm ET

My heart goes out to the family of Amber Dubois. How many cases does the police need to botch before action is taken. These children are at risk.

JS Ky   March 8th, 2010 10:09 pm ET

I'm a mother and grandmother. I would be devastated if one of my children or grandchildren were missing or worst. I believe we need to put these predators away for life or euthanized them. They can not be fixed.

connie mcdougal   March 20th, 2010 7:25 pm ET

Dear grandmother, I'm so sorry Amber died. It should not have happened. I love my granddaughter too, she is my life. She turned 13 years old last week, I try and text her every night, and she will text me and end with I love you too. But, I'm losing her and I don't mean as much to her anymore. Like you, I try to protect her by being there everyday after school to make sure she gets home. She doesn't like it but I don't care it makes me feel better to know she is safe. I will pray for you and the pain you carry in your heart. God bless you and Amber is safe now and with her heavenly father.

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