East Bay News

Family of girl missing since 1988 anxiously awaits lab results

Thursday, October 11, 2012
Poster of missing Hayward girl Michaela Garecht Missing Hayward girl Michaela Garecht Michaela Garechts mother Sharon Murch

Bones being tested in a Virginia lab could finally provide at least two Bay Area families with information about their missing girls. Investigators say testing of bone fragments could take weeks, but the family of Michaela Garecht has been waiting for answers since 1988.

"I just want to find her and bring her home whether she's alive or whether she's not," said Michaela's mother, Sharon Murch.

Murch has been looking for answers about the disappearance of her daughter since the 9-year-old vanished in 1988. New developments may tie her disappearance to a pair of infamous murderers known as the "Speed Freak Killers".

"His victims were primarily adults, and Michaela was a child, so I tended to kind of dismiss it," Murch said. "I pretty much ignored that investigation all along."

This week Murch learned that a bone found at the site where Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog buried their victims is a child's bone, and that the Hayward police are getting it tested to see if it belongs to Michaela.

"If this is Michaela, then it breaks my heart that she's laying in that place for all this time," Murch said.

Michaela was last seen at a store in Hayward along Mission Boulevard. She'd gone there with a friend when police say a man grabbed her and drove away. Missing posters still hang with images of Michaela as she was 24 years ago and a photo enhancement showing how she may look now.

The bones were found in a well in the Sierra foothills where bodies were dumped by the so-called "Speed Freak Killers" and were tested by the family of a victim they had been returned to. That's when they learned that all the bones did not belong to their daughter.

"If this turns out to be Michaela, I will owe it to them," Murch said.

Police point out that there was another girl of similar age who went missing at that time. Ilene Misheloff was 13-years-old when she was abducted by a stranger while walking home from school in Dublin. That happened in January 1989, only two months after Micheala.

"One of the bones in those remains was determined to be belonging to a child," said Hayward police Sgt. Eric Krimm.

Several possible outcomes to a mystery that is slowly unfolding. Each new clue, giving two families an opportunity for answers and possible closure, "I've lived this way my whole life, I don't know how to live any other way," Murch said.

Dublin police say they are waiting to hear more before they reach out to the family of Ilene Misheloff.

Michaela's mother told ABC7 News that "when you have a missing child you search everywhere, anywhere." And after 24 years, she may be closer to getting answers.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
hayward, speed freak killers, michaela garecht, missing person, east bay news
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