Real Name: Michaela Joy Garecht
Location: Hayward, California
Date: November 19, 1988
Date of Birth: January 24, 1979
Weight: 75 lbs.
Marital Status: Single
Characteristics: Garecht has prominent ears, and both are pierced. Her eyes slant slightly downward.
Details: Nine-year-old Michaela Garecht went to the market with her best friend in Hayward, California near Oakland on November 19, 1988; it was just four blocks from her home, and Michaela went there almost every day. They rode to the market on their scooters. When they arrived, they placed their scooters next to the entrance. They went inside and bought candy.
When they came back outside, Michaela's scooter was gone. Her friend noticed that it was laying out in the parking lot. When Michaela went over to pick it up, an unidentified young man got out of his car, opened the back door, grabbed her, and threw her into the back of the car. He then drove off and vanished. Michaela's friend immediately went back into the market and had them call the police.
Authorities are certain that Michaela's abductor purposefully moved her scooter next to his car, so that it would be easier for him to abduct her. Sadly, neither she nor her abductor have been found. Authorities suspect that her abudction may be related to several other unsolved disappearances nearby, including; Nikki Campbell, Ilene Misheloff, and Amber Swartz.
Suspects: The police have an artist composite of Michaela's abductor, but have been unable to determine his identity. Michaela's friend described him as a white male, between his early and mid-twenties, approximately 6'0", with a slender build, pock-marked complexed, and dirty blond, shoulder length hair. He was driving a large American model car, a few years old, in poor condition; it appeared to be brown or tan in color.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the January 18, 1989 episode. It was again featured in a segment about Amber Swartz, which aired on June 13, 2002. Michaela's disappearance was also profiled on America’s Most Wanted.
Results: Unresolved. Timothy Bindner, a suspect in the disappearance of Amber Swartz, was also considered a possible suspect in Michaela's abduction. More recently, the case has been reopened through the rescue of Jaycee Dugard, another area girl who had been kidnapped by pedophile Phillip Garrido of Antioch, California. She had been discovered living in tents on his property. On America’s Most Wanted, a car resembling the one which took Michaela was found and photos of Garrido at the time of her abduction match the descriptions of the man who took her.
In February 2012, Wesley Shermentaine, a convicted killer on death row, wrote a letter to the Stockton Record after Loren Herzog, his former partner in crime, committed suicide in January 2012, which he stated he believed to be responsible for Michaela's abduction. Interestingly, Herzog bears a striking resemblance to the composite of Michaela's abductor.
Recently, a bone fragment found in a well where Shermantine directed as a source where bodies were was identified as that of a child 5-14 years old. It was later determined to belong to Kimberly Billy, a suspected victim of the Speed Freak Killers, whose remains were identified in March 2012. Michaela remains missing and her case remains unsolved.
- Dear Michaela
- Michaela Garecht on Wikipedia
- Michaela's case on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
- Michaela's Case on the Charley Project
- Michaela Garecht Missing Facebook Page
- Michaela's case on FBI's website
- Girls' Disappearances Shake East Bay
- Witness Recalls Garecht Kidnapping
- Garrido home searched for evidence of other missing girls
- Family of Michaela Garecht Holds Ceremony