San Diego Sex Offender Scares Girl Who Got Away

The search for teenager Chelsea King continues in San Diego while outrage toward the suspect grows. INSIDE EDITION speaks to another girl who says she came close to being a victim of the suspect.

As the search goes on for missing teenager Chelsea King, there's growing fury over the sexual predator police say is responsible for her disappearance.

John Gardner served five years in prison for a brutal sex attack on a 14-year-old girl. Linda Boltman's daughter Erin, now 23, was with her friend on their way to school when Gardner offered them a ride. Erin didn't go with him. Her friend did. Gardner beat her and tried to rape her friend.

Linda Boltman said, "I can't believe this man is back out again and has the opportunity to do something to somebody else when it could have been stropped ten years ago."

Erin talked to INSIDE EDITION's Jim Moret and asked us not to show her face.

"Thank god it wasn't me, and that I made a smart decision at the time," said Erin.

Erin's mother says she was proud Erin had the courage to testify, saying, "At 13, 14-years-old she testified against this guy and got him in jail. At least for I don't know how many years, he couldn't hurt anybody else."

A psychiatric report on Gardner says he is "a continued danger to underage girls" and recommended "the maximum sentence allowed by law"—thirty years. Instead of thirty years, Gardner cut a deal and served just five.

Erin grew up on a quiet street in San Diego. John Gardner lived a number of houses away. When he got out of prison, he came right back to the same street, just walking distance from Erin's home. Erin and her mother didn't know the predator was coming back.

Erin's mom said, "I had a 14-year-old daughter that this occurred to and he got out of jail and nobody told us? And he's houses away from her? And nobody told us that the guy that she put in jail is back out again?"

Now Gardner is being held on suspicion of murder. Police say DNA evidence links him to the disappearance of Chelsea King, and a foiled attack on another jogger in December. He is also a suspect in last year's disappearance of yet another teenager, Amber Dubois.

Morning anchors couldn't conceal their emotions over the case. Good Morning America's Robin Roberts said, "People are outraged by this case."

Erin's mother says Gardner should never have been freed, saying, "There's something wrong with the system that allows that to happen."