Authorities in Northern California say they are close to solving a 32-year-old case of abduction of a nine-year-old girl and have charged a man this week of murder and kidnapping.
In 1988, Michaela Garecht was picked up from a parking lot and never seen again. Her case has remained a mystery for over three decades with several investigations launched, FBI joining in, but there had been no outcome.
Now authorities of Alameda county produced David Emery Misch, 59, in the superior court of California on Tuesday, with charges of murder during a kidnapping in Garecht case. Misch is already serving sentence for a murder case of a woman in 1989, according to the case filings quoted by The New York Times.
“The kidnap and murder of a child is horrific. the district attorney, Nancy O’Malley, said in a statement announcing the charges on Monday. “The pain to the family and friends is indescribable, especially when their child is not found. This crime shocked not just the local community, but the entire Bay Area and the nation.”
“I hope that today’s action and an announcement will provide some comfort to Michaela’s family in knowing that justice will prevail, even after 32 years since this horrible crime,” said Ms DA O’Malley.
After the charges were announced, Michaela’s mother, Sharon Murch, released a statement saying that she had, in the last year, “come to a place of accepting that Michaela was probably no longer alive.”
“What I did not envision was my daughter as a dead child,” Ms Murch said. “It was only when I heard this news, that this vision of reality appeared, and I honestly have not figured out what to do with it.”
She said that she had asked detectives about Mr Misch’s history of violence. “If Michaela could experience it, I could hear it,” she said, adding, “The thoughts of her fear, her pain, her grief, are overwhelming.”
According to the official statement by district authorities, Michaela was kidnapped from Hayward when she came to the Rainbow grocery store riding her scooter with a friend who hasn’t been named. When Michaela came back from the store she found her scooter was moved behind a car parked nearby.
When Michaela went to fetch the scooter, the driver of that car grabbed her as soon as she walked past his door. He forced her into the front seat of the car. He backed out and sped south of Mission Boulevard, the statement said.
The Times quoted the police complaint filed that day where the girl who accompanied Michaela described her kidnapper as a man having blue eyes and dirty blonde hair.
The district authorities say the police never stopped looking for her over the decades. Fingerprints were taken from the scooter.
The allegations against Misch are yet to be proven in the court and his lawyer denied the charges. Apart from the 1989 murder Misch was convicted in, he is also accused of two other killings in Fermont in 1986, all three of the victims were women.