Man charged with murder in 1988 disappearance of 9-year-old Michaela Garecht
A convicted murderer has been arrested and charged with the cold case of 1988 9-year-old Michaela Garecht, who disappeared from a supermarket in Hayward, California more than three decades ago.
David Misch, 59, is charged with murder and two special circumstances, including murder during a kidnapping and conviction for a previous murder, Alameda District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said at a press conference Monday.
Michaela Garecht was kidnapped from the Rainbow Market car park in Hayward on November 19, 1988 while trying to pick up a friend's scooter. According to the FBI, the kidnapper had moved closer to his vehicle. The case was featured in Dateline's “Cold Case Spotlight” in November 2014.
"Today is about family, community and healing," said Hayward Police Chief Toney Chaplin when he announced the arrest at Monday's press conference.
He called the case "a tragic story that has gripped the Bay Area for decades".
Michaela has not been seen or heard from for more than 32 years, and her body has never been found.
The Hayward Police Department, Alameda District Attorney's Office and the FBI worked tirelessly on the case, saying it was Misch's partial handprint on the scooter at the scene that linked him to Michaela's disappearance. The breakthrough came earlier this year, they said.
“The kidnapping and murder of a child is terrible. The pain for family and friends is indescribable, especially when their child is not found. This crime shocked not only the local community, but the entire Bay Area and the nation, ”said D.A. O’Malley. "I hope that today's action and announcement will comfort Michaela's family a little when they know that justice will prevail 32 years since this terrible crime."
According to authorities, the brazen kidnapping occurred on the morning of November 19, 1988, after Michaela and a friend rode scooters to Rainbow Grocery on Mission Boulevard in Hayward. They left the scooters outside while they went inside to buy snacks. When they got out, one of the scooters had been brought near a car. The FBI believes that when Michaela picked up the scooter, the driver caught her.
"The crime shocked not only the local community in Hayward and Alameda Counties, but the entire Bay Area and the nation," said D. A. O'Malley. "It was so bold, so inconsiderate, but clearly planned."
Misch is currently on trial in Alameda County for the 1986 murder of two women in Fremont and is currently in state prison for the murder of another woman in the Hayward area in 1989.
Misch is due to be indicted on Tuesday, December 22nd.
"We hope this announcement brings Michaela's family closer to the peace they have deserved for so many years," said Chaplin. Chaplin ended Monday's press conference with a statement from Michaela's mother:
“Last year I had to come to a place where I accepted that Michaela was no longer alive. But somehow this acceptance was much more tied to the idea that Michaela was sitting on a fluffy, pink cloud, walking through golden streets, dancing on grassy hills and floating between the stars, ”the statement said. “What I didn't imagine was my daughter as a dead child. It was only when I heard this news that this vision of reality appeared and I honestly haven't figured out what to do with it. "
Michaela's mother went on to say that she "feels lost in the dark" but "glad there are answers".
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