32 Year Old Cold Case Finally Solved

Josie Klakström

Nine-year-old Michaela Garecht was abducted in broad daylight outside a grocery store.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=21DhOj_0YGiHmho00Michaela Garecht via boston25news.com

What would you do if your child was taken from outside a busy supermarket and no ransom was called in? You’d do everything you could to find their abductor.

After 32 years of wondering what happened to their daughter, Michaela’s parents can finally breathe a sigh of relief, as her abductor and killer has now been caught. He is 59-year-old serial killer, David Misch.On the 19th of November 1988, nine-year-old Michaela was abducted in Hayward California. The kidnapping took place during the day in the busy car park of Rainbow Market, on Lafayette Avenue and Mission Boulevard.

It was early in the day, around 10 am, and Michaela and her friend, Katrina were riding their scooters around town, when they decided to visit the Rainbow grocery store to buy snacks. The store was two blocks away from Michaela’s home and it was busy due to Thanksgiving.

The girls left their scooters outside the front door and went in to buy their treats.When the girls left the store, they initially forgot about their scooters and had to run back to the entrance to retrieve them. One was missing but a quick search found it behind a car. As Michaela went to retrieve the scooter, she was seized by the driver of the car and pushed into the front seat of the vehicle.

“I looked up when I heard a scream, and I saw a man putting her into his car. She was still screaming. I just stood and watched, frozen in shock.” — Katrina Rodriguez.

Katrina ran inside the store and asked an employee for help, who called the police. The store clerk told police that the man was ‘hippy-like’ in his appearance, in his thirties with a moustache and was driving a burgundy car. She was describing the wrong man.

Law enforcement arrived quickly, and fingerprints were lifted from the scooter. Katrina Rodriguez gave police a description of the man she’d seen abduct her friend. A white man in his twenties with a pockmarked face. He had shoulder-length hair and was around 6 feet tall. She told police he had fox-like blue eyes.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=19cubx_0YGiHmho00The sketch of the suspect via By Hayward Police Department

Sketches of Michaela’s abductor were circulated with missing person flyers around San Francisco. Within the first 24 hours, over 40,000 flyers were distributed by friends, family and volunteers.

In the first year of the search for Michaela, Hayward Police Department received over 5,000 tips concerning the little girl’s abduction, and it became one of the most extensive investigations in Hayward’s history. In addition to the widespread search, a reward of over $70,000 was offered to anyone who could provide a location of Michaela’s whereabouts, but no one came forward with any solid information.

Michaela joined the likes of Johnny Gosch and Etan Patz on milk cartons, and advertising billboards displayed her photo, 10 feet high. Despite their efforts, Michaela was never rescued and her search for the little girl continued in earnest for over 30 years.

Over the decades, several criminals have been questioned regarding Michaela’s disappearance, including Philip and Nancy Garrido, who kidnapped Jaycee Dugard and held her captive for almost 20 years.In 2012, convicted serial killer Wesley Shermantine was questioned by police as he bore a resemblance to the sketches made of Michaela’s abductor. Shermantine and his accomplice Loren Herzog — known as the Speed Freak Killers — have been suspected of killing over 70 people during their reign in San Joaquin County, but ultimately were only convicted of four murders. Bone fragments were found at one of their known dumping grounds and were initially thought to belong to Michaela but DNA tests determined that they weren’t the nine-year-old.

Tim Bindner was also brought in for questioning by Hayward police. Bindner had permeated himself into the hunt Amber Swartz in 1988. Amber was taken from Pinole, in Contra Costa County by Bindner, and in order to guide the investigation, he ensured he was always around, to help police and Amber’s family. Bindner was a suspect in multiple disappearances over the years but vehemently denies any involvement in their cases or Michaela Garecht’s abduction.

On the 21st of December 2020, Hayward Police Department and the FBI held a press conference. They announced that they’d arrested David Misch for the abduction and murder of Michaela Garecht, after 32 years of investigations.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0umkCu_0YGiHmho00David Misch via thesun.co.uk

The 59-year-old has been in Stockton facility since 1989 for the murder of Margaret Ball, 36. Misch who’s from California, was already in prison when he was linked to the murders of Michelle Xavier and Jennifer Duey in 1986, in Fremont.

Michelle and Jennifer’s bodies were found along the side of a road in Hayward, two years before Michaela went missing. The two women had been shot and stabbed just hours before their discovery. They had been attending a birthday party and dinner for a family member and were last spotted at a convenience store. The deaths of the 18 and 20 year old stunned the community and their murders were highly publicised at the time.

Misch who would have been in his late twenties when he took Michaela, was booked into the Santa Rita Jail after the print from Michaela’s scooter was linked to the fingerprints in his file, said authorities.Michaela’s body currently remains undiscovered but Hayward Police Chief Toney Chaplin believes it will bring some closure; “We hope this announcement will bring Michaela’s family closer to the peace they’ve deserved for so many years.”

It’s highly unlikely that Michaela was kept alive long, with court documents stating;

“By December 1989, Misch was in custody for murder and has remained incarcerated since. Even if he kept her alive for a brief time, the risks of discovery involved in keeping the victim captive for any length of time would have been too great.”

Michaela’s mother, Sharon Murch, who’s now fighting cancer, gave the following statement to press;

“Over the years, I have often wondered whether I really wanted to know the truth of what happened to Michaela. I wondered if I would be able to take it. As I told our detective, I am glad that the kidnapper has been identified. I am glad that there are answers. I am glad that this man will never be able to hurt anyone else.”

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Josie Klakström is a true crime writer. Follow her at truecrimeedition.com

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