SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The King family, who launched "Chelsea's Light" after the rape and murder of their daughter Chelsea in 2009, has decided to end the popular "Finish Chelsea's Run" event after eight years.
In an interview with 10News from the family's home near Chicago, Chelsea's father, Brent, said they are proud of the impact they have been able to have through "Finish Chelsea's Run," but that it was time to move on from the event.
"Our family wants to thank everybody that has ever come out to run in our race. It's spectacular. It's beautiful. It brings us a lot of joy. But at the same time, it reminds us how we lost our little girl," King said.
Chelsea was a 17-year-old student at Poway High in 2010 when she went for a run at Rancho Bernardo Community Park. A registered sex offender, John Gardner, later pleaded guilty to dragging King into a secluded area near Lake Hodges, raping her, and strangling her to death. He buried the body nearby.
Shortly after his arrest, Gardner also admitted to the murder of an Escondido teen, Amber DuBois, who had disappeared a year earlier.
The King family began the "Chelsea's Light" Foundation, through which it carried out "Finish Chelsea's Run" and a companion baseball tournament. King says "Chelsea's Light" will continue to exist and raise money. However, he has launched a new nationwide organization called "Protect the Joy."
King says he will use the experience he gained helping pass "Chelsea's Law" legislation in several states to protect youth from sex offenders to help build a bigger, stronger organization dedicated to issues of defending children.
"I've built an organization that mirrors the Sierra Club, or the Surfrider Foundation, or Greenpeace. But instead of protecting the trees, or the coastline, or the whales, I'm going to protect our children," King said.
For more information on King's new organization, visit the website: ProtecttheJoy.org .