Hopes and fears that a bone fragment from a well discovered this summer in the Central Valley may have been those of Michaela Garecht were dashed Wednesday.
Hayward police said DNA and forensic testing have proved that they are not the little girl who was kidnapped from the streets of Hayward in 1988.
Police said Michaela's mother Sharon Murch has been informed of the news and has asked for privacy. She wrote her response on her blog at missingmichaela.com.
In it she said the overriding feeling she experienced when police told her the news "was a sense of relief. I felt a weight lift as I sat in that room at the police department."
She also said there was a "degree of disappointment that the answer as to what happened to Michaela have eluded us once again -- and also the feeling of frustration about the possibility of ever, ever having the answers."
The bones were discovered in connection with a mass grave believed to be the work of two men known as the Speed Freak Killers.
Hayward police announced last fall that they received a bone fragment from a well in Linden from a victim believed to possibly be that of a child aged 5 to 14 years old. Because of the age range and the amount of time it was in the well, it was possible that it was the remains of Michaela, who was abducted on Nov. 19, 1988.
The California Department of Justice Crime Lab in Richmond tested the fragment and compared it to the known profile of Michaela and said it was not a match.
In fact, Hayward police said the lab made a match to another victim not connected to Hayward. Police did not identity the remains, but Michaela's mom did. She said they were those of Kimberly Billy, a victim who had already been known to be a person killed by the Speed Freak Killers.
Hayward police said Wednesday that their investigation into Michaela's abduction is still ongoing and that investigators will continue to pursue all viable leads.
Below is the entry from Michaela's Mom:
The test results are in....
This is not going to be a long post, but I wanted to let you know that the results of the tests on the bone are in.
The bone fragment is not Michaela's. It has been identified as belonging to Kimberly Billy. Kimberly is already known to be one of the victims of the Speed Freak Killers.
Her remains were recovered from the well and have already been returned to her family -- just some of the bones were intermingled with Jo Ann Hobson's.
The upside of all this is that there isn't some unsuspecting family learning this evening that their missing child has been found.
Kimberly was not a child, by the way. She was 19 years old when she disappeared in December 1984.
She was still someone's little girl, of course. I'm just referring to the fact that the bone was said to belong to a child between the ages of 5 and 13, and it turns out it didn't. I just got home from the police department, and it's going to take me awhile to sort through my feelings,
I'm sure. I will write more about this at a later date. Right now they are a little mixed. Yes, there is a degree of disappointment that the answer as to what happened to Michaela have eluded us once again -- and also the feeling of frustration about the possibility of ever, ever having the answers. But the Hayward Police Department is working hard on the case, and they do believe that they will be able to get those answers.
The overriding feeling I experienced, though, was a sense of relief. I felt a weight lift as I sat in that room at the police department.
Just a whisper of relief. I will be back to post again once everything has settled in.
Meanwhile, thanks for your support as always.
And Michaela, if you are out there, PLEASE CONTACT ME!!!
I love you forever. mom