Michaela’s case has been solved

I am writing this on Saturday, December 19, 2020. In two days the Hayward Police Department, Alameda County District Attorney, and FBI will announce to the world that after 32 years and 32 days, they have identified and charged Michaela’s kidnapper with homicide. They have not found Michaela, but they have identified her kidnapper. He is in prison for murder, and is currently on trial for two other murders. He is a monster. Seriously what drives a human being to do something like this? What even enables him to? On Monday just before the press conference, they will be filing homicide charges against this man. David Misch is his name. You aren’t going to find a lot of information here about him, or about the investigation. That will come from the Hayward Police Department.

As for me? What you will hear about from me is the only thing I care about. Michaela. And maybe love, maybe grief, maybe faith, although I have to tell you I feel as though I am wandering around lost. I am looking, looking again for the answers I thought I had found, but all I can find right now is emptiness. There has been this really big feeling that has been rolling around inside me, creating a giant hole, and just this morning I figured out what it is. It is a feeling that my daughter has been alone for these 32 years. While I was running around doing interviews, writing blogs, tying ribbons on trees, she was lying cold and alone. You know that I have been able to accept the likelihood that Michaela was like no longer alive. How many times have I said it would be a comfort to know that she had been in a better place for all these years rather than spending a lifetime in pain, fear, grief? But what I realize is that I had never at all been able to envision her being dead. Misch killed his victims by stabbing. One young woman was shot, but on that occasion he was trying to kill two at once. So this is what I am left with. I can touch only the edges of this knowledge, just skimming the surface, because it is too painful. While I have envisioned Michaela as not living in this world, she was always in a good place. I have seen her floating on clouds, running in grass meadows. I have literally envisioned the two of us sitting on stars in eternity, drinking tea and chatting, in a place where all the horrors of this life have faded into insignificance in the greater whole. Now, for some reason, I can no longer see those places. I can only see my child cold and alone. I feel like I abandoned her to pursue rabbit trail, when all this time I should have been lying with her.

I know that sounds crazy. But there is no logic to the feelings I have had since receiving this news. To even put them into words is impossible. I have had to tell people that asking, “how are you?” is not a good idea, because there just is no answer to that question. This has driven me into silence. I have learned that it is actually possible to stay in bed all day, and then again all night. Honestly, part of what this withdrawal is about is seeking some sort of answers, some sense of truth. I lie there and I ask to be shown something, to be able to feel something, to feel Michaela’s presence, to feel God’s presence, but there is nothing. My faith has been shaken.

When in the past people have questioned why God didn’t help Michaela, I have said that we don’t know that he didn’t. As far as we know, God could have sent his angels to hold her, to take her out of her body so she would not feel the pain and terror. I pray now that this is true.

I’m sorry. This seems like a dark place I am taking you to here. I want you to know that I am thinking of you, my friends, who have accompanied me on this long journey, those who have loved a little girl they never even met, as well as those who loved the little girl they knew. For many of you, I can see your names floating before me because of your frequent expressions of love. (Including you, Zahra!) I know that your hearts are breaking with mine. Maybe someday I will have something reassuring to say again, but right now I just don’t. Nothing. I am on my knees.

And to Michaela, I am so so so sorry baby girl. I feel as though I let you down in a million ways. I was listening to Rescue by Lauren Daigle yesterday. This has been my song for you, and I broke down because I had not been able to rescue you, because I had never ever been able to rescue you. I wonder if God can rescue me? I am trying to hold onto what has kept me going for awhile now, and that is that I know you are a bright and shining light. You were a light to all who knew you when you were here in the world, and you have been a light even to strangers beyond number since you have been gone. I will, we will, try to keep that light shining for you.

I love you forever, baby girl. Rest well. I have some things to do here yet, but I will see you in the not terribly distant future.



I was unable to attend the press conference in the Bay Area, because I moved to a small, peaceful town in southwest Iowa at the beginning of this year. Since then I have been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. I am undergoing treatment, and I am at high risk, so I am not traveling due to covid precautions. This is the statement I gave to the police for use at their press conference.


            First, I would like to address all the people who have accompanied me on this long, long journey. I know that as you hear this news, your hearts are breaking, along with mine. In the last year, I had come to a place of accepting that Michaela was probably no longer alive. But somehow, that acceptance was far more wrapped up in the idea of Michaela sitting on fluffy pink clouds, walking streets of gold, dancing on grassy hills, soaring among the stars. What I did not envision was my daughter as a dead child. 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. A chill set in that had nothing to do with the snow outside my home in southwest Iowa. I feel as though I am still looking for Michaela, but now I don’t know where. I honestly feel lost in the dark.

            Over the years, I 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. When I received news of the kidnapper having been identified, I asked the hard questions of Detective Purnell, of what method this man used to kill his victims, and received answers, and they were not easy. When I had doubted whether I would want to know, it always came back to, if Michaela could experience it, I could hear it. Because it’s not about me. It’s never been about me, about my feelings. It is and always has been about Michaela. What I have been through is nothing. What I feel is not important. It is only about Michaela. The thoughts of her fear, her pain, her grief, are overwhelming. 

            Yet, 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.

            I also want to thank all the men and women of Hayward PD who have worked so hard on Michaela’s case for all these years, and those who have propped me up in some of the hardest parts. I was disappointed when those who worked on the case at the time of the Garrido investigation rotated out or retired. But when Detective Robert Purnell took over the case, each of them assured me that I could not ask for a better investigator. It seems they were right. Never would I have thought that this case would be solved after 32 years! Nor was it solved by a witness providing information. It was solved by painstaking police work. My thanks also to Fremont PD, for remembering Michaela and bringing Hayward into their own case.  In this, I see the better angels of the investigative process, where beyond cases there are human beings. I remember visiting Hayward PD awhile into the investigation, and seeing the rows of filing cabinets filled with information on Michaela’s case. Every drawer was marked, not with a case number, but with a photograph of a little girl. My little girl. 

            So thank you, all of you, for your love, a love that has endured decades, for Michaela. I ask that you please don’t forget her now. She is no longer a case, but she is what she always has been, and that is a bright and shining light, and in her absence from this earth, it is up to us to find a way to carry her light forward. 

Update on Michaela Garecht Investigation from Randee Deason on Vimeo.

Hayward Police Department Press Release: 

Suspect Charged in Murder of Michaela Garecht

HAYWARD, Calif., December 21, 2020— After more than 30-years of exhaustive and determined
investigative work, today the Hayward Police Department can announce 59-year David Misch
has been charged in the murder of Michaela Garecht. On November 19, 1988, nine-year-old
Michaela was kidnapped from the Rainbow Market located on Mission Boulevard in South
Hayward. Several witnesses provided a description of the suspect who was seen pulling
Michaela into his vehicle. It is a tragic story that has gripped the Bay Area for decades now
brought to a close by new facts in the case.

This investigation experienced a breakthrough earlier this year when fingerprints from the
scene were matched to the suspect. Misch has not been a threat to society as he has been in
State Prison since 1989 for a murder. He also is awaiting trial for a double murder committed in
Fremont in 1986.

The Hayward Police Department would like to thank the FBI, Fremont Police Department,
Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office for their
partnership, cooperation and assistance in this investigation.

Additionally, we want to commend the numerous men and women in the Hayward Police
Department who have spent thousands of hours, pouring their heart and soul into bringing
justice to Michaela’s family. This was an ongoing team effort.

Chief Toney Chaplin stated, “The Hayward Police Department has never stopped seeking justice
for Michaela and her family. I have a lot of pride in our organization and am grateful for the
men and women in the building who have shown their perseverance and tenacity to bringing

closure to Michaela’s family. We have always kept Michaela at the forefront of our efforts and
understand important questions remain unanswered, but we are happy to provide some peace
to Michaela’s family and the Hayward community.”

Alameda County District Attorney Press Release



Police identify suspect and DA files charges in cold case that has haunted the Bay Area for over 30 years

Oakland, CA- Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley today filed a criminal complaint against David Misch. The complaint charges Misch with the murder and kidnapping of Michaela Garecht on November 19, 1988, in the city of Hayward. In addition to the charge of Murder, a violation of Penal Code Section 187, the District Attorney also alleges Special Circumstances in that Michaela was murdered in the course of a kidnapping, a violation of Penal Code Section 190.2(a)(17)(ii), and the Special Circumstance of being convicted previously of murder, a violation of Penal Code Section 190.2(a)(2).

Michaela Garecht was only nine years old when she was kidnapped outside a neighborhood market in Hayward. The brazen kidnapping occurred mid-morning on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. For more than 32 years, Michaela has never been seen or heard from, nor has her body or any of her remains been found. However, fingerprints found on the scooter she was riding at the time she was abducted matched Misch’s fingerprints. Further, eyewitness evidence places Misch in the immediate location at the time the kidnapping occurred.

“The kidnap and murder of a child is horrific. 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,” said DA O’Malley. “I hope that today’s action and announcement will provide some comfort to Michaela’s family in knowing that justice will prevail, even after 32 years since this horrible crime.”

Michaela was kidnapped on the morning of November 19, 1988 after she and her friend rode scooters to the Rainbow Grocery on Mission Blvd in Hayward. They left the scooters outside while they entered the store to buy some snacks. Several minutes later when they came out, one of the scooters had been moved behind a car parked in a nearby space. 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 on Mission Blvd.

Hayward Police Department never stopped looking for the man who kidnapped and killed Michaela. Around the 30th anniversary of Michaela’s kidnapping, they once again scrutinized all evidence, leads and potential witnesses. Their current fingerprint examiner was provided names of persons of interest. Misch’s name was one of the names provided to her. She began comparing the fingerprints of the names given to her. She was able to match Misch’s fingerprints to those on the scooter. Their ability now to compare prints has been significantly advanced through software, technology and science.

These charges come after more than three decades of investigation led by the Hayward Police Department with the help of many local law enforcement agencies as well as the FBI. The tireless work of Hayward detectives, who never gave up on the case, enabled the DA’s office to file these charges.

District Attorney Nancy O’Malley thanks the Hayward Police Department and their dedicated personnel for their unwavering efforts to solve this case. Deputy District Attorney Mark Melton from the Cold Hit Unit worked tirelessly with the Hayward investigators over the entirety of this investigation. The District Attorney’s Office will continue to work to see justice done.

Misch is currently facing other charges in Alameda County for the murder of two women in Fremont committed in 1986, and is also currently serving time in State Prison for the 1989 murder of a woman in the Hayward area.

Misch is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday, December 22nd at 8:30 am in Department 712. All proceedings are conducted remotely via Bluejeans.

District Attorney Contact: PIO Anna Kelly //Anna.Kelly@acgov.org// (510) 919-0081


171 thoughts on “Michaela’s case has been solved

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  1. I just wanted to share that you have been in my thoughts for some time now, ever since I first read your blog. I was thinking about it just the night before the news release, hoping for some sort of peace for you. I’m so glad for you that you might finally have some answers now, but I’ll never forget your and Michaela’s story.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sharon,
    I can’t pretend to have words of comfort for you, but I hope with all of my being that you feel wrapped in love and support. I don’t know what to say, but I wanted to say something. You, your family, and your beloved angel Michaela are so close in my thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just tears 😢 😭 rolling down my cheeks, both joy and sad tears can’t believe this monster killed her 💔 😢.lots of virtual hugs to you Sharon. May the lord be on your side during this moment and always.


    Liked by 1 person

      1. I guarantee you Sharon there were heavenly angels besides Michaela when what ever happened to her in her last moments. Children are innocent and pure. Know that God and his angels 😇 were there for her when you were not. You are a wonderful mother and you did everything ❤ in your power to help Michaela.


        Liked by 1 person

  4. Michaela disappeared 8 years before I was born, so I never got to know her, but something about her and her smile always stuck with me. I am glad you finally have answers, but it’s heartbreaking that these are the answers they had to give you. Thank you for this beautiful post, and for keeping her alive in your blog all these years. Peace and love to you, your family, and everyone who knew and loved Michaela.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Sharon,
    I have followed your blog since late 2009, when Jaycee was found. Over the years, I’ve grown to love Michaela. Being interested in true crime, this was the one case that haunted me, the one case I wish would be solved if I could choose any. It was your writing that brought Michaela alive for me. There were times when I would be lying in bed, trying to sleep, and thoughts of the case and the words you wrote would flit across my brain. I can assure you, your baby girl is not lying cold and dead somewhere. Her body is, but not her soul. Her soul has been kept alive by you and has touched thousands of people around the world who remember her. When I think of this case, I don’t think of that evil bastard that stole her life. I think of you and most importantly your LOVE for Michaela. This story is so, so much more than a story of a kidnapping and murder. It is a story of love, and nothing that sick POS did changes that. Believe me, Michaela has been in heaven for years and has seen the love you have poured out for her on your blogs. Please think of her as a happy child in heaven, saying “Wow, my mom truly loved me. Look at all she does for me, even years after I’ve been gone!” You will be reunited one glorious day, and while I know it would’ve been wonderful to see her alive again on earth, you know that she has been in paradise for 32 years now, safe with her Maker.
    I will always, always, always, ALWAYS remember Michaela. ❤️
    Praying for you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sending hugs and love. There is nothing I can say to ease your pain or help. Michaela has never been and will never be forgotten. Her light, and your love for her, will always shine.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh your poor heart. Your baby girl. What cruel, cruel people live in this world. She was taken from this cruel world as the innocent baby she was and she has been living in heaven all these years and for eternity- I truly believe that. Her body was hurt 😦 but her soul was freed.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Take us to the dark place with you-we will lead you back. We are here to support you.

    I have never forgotten Michaela. I was around the same age as her when I saw it on UM and I thought of her often.

    As the mom of a now 10 year old little girl, her story resides within me daily. As a warning, an alarm bell, a monster under the bed.

    There are no words to comfort you, or give you peace-just know that we are here. We see you. We thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dear Sharon,

    I am so sorry for all that you have been through. I grew up close to where your daughter was kidnapped and was just a few years older than her. I’ll never forget that day. Hearing about this latest news brings me back to those times, and it is startling. I hope that they found the right person that did this, to prevent them from hurting anyone else, and to bring you some sort of closure. I cannot imagine how hard this must be for you, especially paired with you going through your treatments. Know that many of us are sending you love, positive vibes, and strength.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I know you can’t help blaming yourself, but still I want you to know that what happened to your daughter wasn’t your fault. You are an amazing mother for her and you never stopped doing things for her.

        Nothing will ever make you responsible for what happened. You didn’t hurt your daughter.

        You are in my thoughts and I hope that someday you have the answers that you deserve.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Dear Sharon, I read your blog and I thank you for sharing your story. You are an incredible mother and you love and miss Kayla so much. Kayla knows that too. Sharon you are not lost God is there with you. I am praying for your healing and I am praying that you will find peace. I have had some serious things happen in my life and reading the bible daily helped me feel God’s presence. I also watch SBN on television or on SBN app. They also take prayer requests and It helps when we are going through difficult times in our lives. Kayla is smiling in heaven walking the streets of gold and one day you will be reunited with her. Kayla wants her mother to be happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Your voice has comforted many people over time. You have helped me appreciate. Just 2 m oms from Hayward, CA. You have been so graceful, measured, patient. I admire you.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sharon,

    I’m 22 years old and I’ve followed your blog since I was 12 or 13. I have always admired your dedication to Michaela, to keeping her name out in the world and reaching out to her against all odds. It can never be doubted that you loved Michaela, and that she loved you.

    You have always been candid about every emotion you put into this blog, and none of it was in vain because true love is never in vain. You did all you could, and in the end, your devotion to Michaela is all that matters. I know there are no words that can take away any of the pain but I wish you peace.

    Michaela lives in heaven and her light will never be erased from the lives of all who loved her. One day you will be together again, outside the doors of steel at last ❤️



    Liked by 1 person

  13. Dear Sharon, I’m so grateful for you that Michaela’s abductor has been identified, even more thankful that he is in prison. I used to work at CSUH and drove by the grocery store every day – it was a horrific time period with so many children disappearing, so I know how it affected individuals and the community. Through the years have I have never forgotten these little ones. I know it’s not enough that the abductor was found to ease your tortured heart, and I am hoping that you are surrounded by love and the care of friends and family, and that you can sense the spirit of thousands who hurt along with you and wish you continued strength.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Sharon❤️ I haven’t posted a comment in years. This was truly unexpected. But ever since reading Dear Michaela, I kept believing. Believing that someday there would be at least a partial closure.

    When I read about your cancer battle and that you haven’t got much time left, I feared Michaela’s case would not be solved before you are no longer here. And then it was. I feel a little shaky, I am in tears. Happy and sad at the same time. The kidnapper had an alleged face for 30 years. Now he has a name. That’s what I hoped for so long.

    All I am hoping for now is that you can arrange your little girl the funeral she deserves. And I will be thinking of her, of you and your loved ones who this has touched.

    This world looks a tiny bit clearer now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We did a remembrance service two years ago, which is on Michaela’s Facebook page. Misch didn’t bury remains, so the chances of finding anything after 32 years is minimal. But she is not in her remains. Knowing that she is not suffering right now is enough.


      1. Thanks, anyway I know her light shines brighter than bright. She may not be here but you have kept her memory alive. There is no forgetting Michaela. Her story, her light is something the world got to know through you and it is precious❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  15. just a little confused as to how they know that Michaela is deceased since they have no body. it was always thought that she was kidnapped for someone else. maybe they have is palm print but only proves him as the kidnapper.


    1. He is a serial killer. That’s who he is. That’s what he does. I don’t know where you got the idea that it was thought that Michaela was kidnapped for someone else, because that is not true.


      1. I got that from your posts, saying she was kidnapped by someone who was paid to kidnap her to be sold into human trafficking. whatever happened to that theory. I said many years ago they should test his palm print.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Nancy, I did not ever say that is what happened to Michaela. It was just one of many possible theories. And whose palm print should they have tested? Misch just surfaced as a suspect after DNA evidence linked him to another unsolved case in the area.


    2. Nancy go web sleuth somewhere else. Trafficking was just a theory that Sharon looked into. Take off your tinfoil hat and show some compassion. You are not Sherlock Holmes no matter how much you and the other nasty mean armchair detectives want to think you are. If you can’t just give your condolences to this mother who just got confirmation that her child is gone don’t say anything. Go find a different case to put your junk theories on. Do you want a medal for suggesting testing the palm print? Do you not realize that the technology wasn’t there to test a partial palm print before? You are appalling.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Dear Sharon,

    Wishing you, Trina and your family all the love and support you need as you now have some answers. Always have remembered the first time I heard the name Michaela when I was 7 watching Unsolved Mysteries and reminded every time after when hearing this sacred name of the sweet little girl who was cruelly taken for simply getting her scooter. Like so many others, wished for nothing more than to come to your blog one day to find her case solved, but also scared to, as to what this might mean. It is unbelievable anything like this could happen to some one so innocent, it’s unfair that our world is left with the evil that swept her away, yet her spirit and goodness and your words bring love and inspiration to the hearts of so many. Thinking of you and sweet Michaela.

    xo Laura

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’ve been reading your blogs since quarantine started, but I just saw this one. I am so sorry for your loss and I know your little girl is always with you. ❤️ I will keep you and your family in my prayers. Thank you for your writing, your strength has definitely inspired me to be a stronger person and cleared up certain things in my life. God bless you and sweet Michaela, I know she is in a better place.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I cried as I heard your plea….and while I never post on these I feel compelled as a survivor of a crime as a child to tell you….You did no injustice to Michaela. You did NOT let her down in any way. While she may have already been gone from this world she smiled as you fought for her because you never gave up AND you fought for all the missing kids. Your words were not in vain…you fought the good fight. I know you brought to light the darkness…You will never know how many lives your touched. The world is a better place because of you….because of Michaela. Do not second guess your journey. You are a light in the darkness.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Michaela was kidnapped 2 years before I was born, but I have been keeping up with her case and your blog for years. I greatly admire your strength and even though your blog is often a sad read for me, what has always kept me coming back to it is your pure and obvious unconditional love for Michaela, as well as your dedication to Michaela and to keeping her name out in the world. When I read that your cancer is terminal, I felt this overwhelming sadness and fear that you would never get to know what happened to your beautiful little girl. Then, last night, I had a dream about you and Michaela and decided to look at your blog, only to see that the case has been solved after all these years and an investigation that is older than me – I didn’t think it would ever be solved after all these years, but here we are. I’m “glad” (it feels…odd to use this word about this situation) you finally have answers, but I am so so so so so sorry you didn’t get better answers. I will be thinking of you, Michaela and all your loved ones for a while, as you have really touched my life (and so many others) with your beautiful writing about your little girl, you really brought light to the dark. Michaela’s light and your love for her will always shine. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  20. HI Sharon. While not “closure”, hopefully you have found a sliver of peace.

    About 10 years ago while staying at my father’s house over Christmas, I was up late and and read an article about all the monsters that lurked in California in the 70s and 80s. Specifically the “East Area Rapist” case and the case of your beloved Michaela. Over the years I would read your blog as well as lookup the cases on Google to see if hopefully these fiendish ghouls were identified. 1 down in 2018, the other in 2020. I am so happy that you have a portion of the answer so far. I anticipate this coward pleading out of Capital punishment by giving up the location I so desperately hope you get. Hoping for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I have followed Michaela’s story for some time and hoped for the best. My heart just sank when I heard what happened. What more can I say… Lots of strenght, love and light from Finland ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Sharon, I just realized today that dear Michael’s kidnapper has been identified. I can only imagine how you have been feeling as my own grief on reading your post is overwhelming. It’s so hard to realize that pure evil walks in this world. I hope you can see her in a place of light, beauty and peace. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Although I am not an American, I was always keen to mysteries and cold cases from the US. I’ve been watching the developments of your daughter’s case once in a while since 2013 and even asked you a few questions and you always left a reply. I feel happy that authorities could bring evidence to tie to that already convicted monster. I read about your illness and I am truly sorry. I can say you were a tireless, devoted and stubborn mother that did everything a mother could possible had done to find out something that could have bring closure or the knowledge of the whereabouts of your daughter. I think the last thing that could bring the perfect closure would be the finding of her. Dead or alive. You were and are an inspiration, a super devoted mother trying the impossible, and we all should be entirely grateful to you and see you as an example of hope, resilience and tenacity. Thank you Sharon, may God unite you and Michaela forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I just heard what happened to you 32 years ago. I think the greif you’ve been going through all these years is much more than that Michaela experienced in that short moment. The words you said about her really touched my heart, bringing tears to my eyes. I’m really glad about your perspective that you are sure Michaela is somewhere other than her remains. And I have no doubt about that. And that is the only consolation. I hope you will overcome your illness soon.

    Liked by 2 people

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