Pictured: Michaela Garecht, Sketch of Abductor, possible suspect Loren Herzog
Michaela Joy Garecht, was abducted on November 19, 1988, in Hayward, California. It was broad daylight and there were witnesses, however neither Michaela nor the perpetrator have ever been located.
The morning of November 19 was just like any Saturday for nine-year-old Michaela. She and her friend Katrina hopped on their scooters to go to the store, just the two of them. Once inside, the pair purchased candy, soda and beef jerky. When they left the store, the two children started walking away, forgetting all about their scooters. Realizing their mistake, they doubled back, however, Michaela’s scooter wasn’t where she’d left it, it was lying on the pavement by a parked car. Confused, Michaela walked over to pick up her scooter, ready to return home.
As Michaela bent over to pick up her scooter, a man came out of the nearby parked car. Without a word, he grabbed Michaela by the waist and pulled the screaming girl into his car, peeling off before anyone could react. Katrina, seeing what was happening, ran into the store to get help, but it was too late.
Michaela has now been missing for 28 years. Her mother, Sharon, maintains an active blog appealing for information. No real progress has been made, despite the detailed account given by Katrina of the abduction.
The abductor drove a run-down, large, older model, American-made sedan which was cream or tan in colour. He is described as white, in his twenties and around 6 feet tall. He had blue eyes, acne and pockmarked skin and shoulder-length dark blonde hair.
In 2012, one of the Speed Freak Killers incriminated his partner in crime Loren Herzog. As the name suggests, he and his partner in crime were on plenty of drugs when they committed their murders, which could lead to pockmarked skin. The Speed Freak Killers killed up to 19 people, their youngest victim being aged 16. The remains of many of their victims were not found for a very long time. Katrina thinks the abductor could have been Philip Garrido, the perpetrator of the Jaycee Dugard kidnapping, who lived an hour from Michaela. Michaela’s mother Sharon is not convinced of either theory.
One thing I know is that this case can be solved. An unidentified palm print was found on Michaela’s scooter that may belong to the abductor, and the description of the abductor and his vehicle is very detailed. One thing that I hope will be done a re-examining of tips that have come in over the years. Thousands of tips were called in, and I would guess that some names of individuals were mentioned. I hope the police have recently put these names through their databases; a lot can change in 28 years.
I hope one day there will be justice for Michaela.