On November 19th, 1988, 9-year-old Michaela Garecht was abducted outside of a neighborhood grocery store in Hayward, California. 26 years later, her family continues to hold out hope and search for answers.
Each year on November 19th, Michaela’s family gathers outside the grocery store where she was last seen, then called Rainbow Market, now known as Mexico Super. While the name may have changed, one thing has not: their unwavering commitment to finding out what happened to Michaela.
Last year, on the 25th anniversary of her daughter’s disappearance, Sharon Murch spoke with local NBC affiliate KNTV about why that particular anniversary was different for her: “At this time, Michaela is actually the same age I was when she was kidnapped, and thinking of her having grown up like that, of course, I have to wonder where she is. If she has children herself.”
Over the years, there has been much speculation about who kidnapped Michaela. Most recently, in January 2013, police hypothesized that she may have been one of several who were murdered by the “Speed Freak Killers,” a duo who were convicted of four killings, but suspected of being responsible for as many as 15 deaths in the San Joaquin area from 1994 through 1998. They were nicknamed “Speed Freak Killers” because of their methamphetamine addiction.
However, after exhuming a mass grave believed to be the work of the serial killers, law enforcement officials concluded that there was no trace of Michaela among the remains. At the time, Michaela’s mother expressed both a “sense of relief,” as well as a “degree of disappointment that the answer as to what happened to Michaela eluded [her] once again.”
This week on November 19th, the family will once again meet outside that Mission Boulevard market. They will tie ribbons around the same tree that still stands outside of the store, all these years later. They will continue to remember and pray for Michaela.
If you have any information that could help crack this cold case, please contact the Hayward, California Police Department at (510) 293-7272.