Runaway or Foul Play? Where Is Amber?

Family insists she was grabbed, frustrated police classified her as a runaway.

ByABC News
February 23, 2009, 1:41 PM

Feb. 24, 2009— -- Amber DuBois was getting ready for school the last time her family saw her 11 days ago.

The dark-haired, 14-year-old was sitting at the kitchen table Feb. 13, excited about a baby lamb she was going to purchase for her California high school's Future Farmers of America project. She spoke with a friend on the phone and prepared to head to school.

She never made it.

More than a week later, dozens of community members have continued their search of the Escondido, Calif., area, and the teen's family has hired a private investigator to help with the search, frustrated, they say, that police treated Amber as a runaway -- which officials deny.

"Unfortunately, in my mind, I'm about 98 percent positive she was in the wrong place at the wrong time and got abducted by a stranger," her father, Maurice "Moe" DuBois, told

The theories of what exactly happened to Amber are numerous. Police have reported sightings of the teen after her disappearance, while the private investigator says her friends may know more than they're letting on.

Lt. Robert Benton of the Escondido Police Department said it never classified Amber as a runaway but are still considering that as an option, along with foul play. So far, he said, police have gotten several hundred leads.

The FBI has been called in to help with out-of-jurisdiction interviews and technology, including cell phone and text message records.

"At this point," Benton said, "we still don't know."

"Our biggest concern is that she's 14. She's very young. It's not that she's street smart."

DuBois described his only daughter as a "nerd" who got good grades and loved to read, calling her his "angel."

"She's read more books in the last two months than I have in my entire life," he said.

And, above all, Amber was happy. She had talked about getting the lamb since she was in junior high and was very excited that the day had finally arrived, DuBois said, adding that Amber had planned to take several Valentine's Day gifts to school that day for her friends.

"Friday was such an important day for her," Amber's mother, Carrie McGonigle, said. " I'm afraid she just got in to a bad situation."

"I'm convinced she was abducted. I know she's not a runaway."