Cold Case: Whatever Happened to This Bay Area Child?

Girl missing for 20 years

For the last two decades a Bay Area mother has mourned for her lost daughter.

It was 20 years ago Wednesday, 9-year-old Michaela Garecht was kidnapped from a Hayward parking lot.

"We have tried for 20 years to reach out to someone who may have some information about this kidnapping," her mother, Sharon Murch, said.

For the last 20 years, on Nov. 19, Sharon Murch, has stood in this Hayward parking lot to search for answers.

"To someone who would have a lead that may help us find out what happened to Mikhaela," she said.

The ribbons from past years still hang in the trees near the parking stall where a stranger abducted her 9-year-old daughter.

"I feel this overwhelming need to keep Mikhala alive, the only way to keep her alive is in people's memories," she said.

Michaela and a friend had ridden scooters to the store to buy candy.
When they came out one of the scooters was laying in the parking lot next to a car.

She went to pick it up.

"A man jumped out of the car, grabbed her from behind, threw her in the car and took off with her," she said.

Over the years, police have sifted through thousands of leads.
One prison inmate lead investigators to where he said Michaela's body was buried.

He later admitted he'd made up the story.

"We've had leads come in the past 20 years we've worked over 13,000 leads the most recent one came in a couple weeks ago," said Officer Chris Orrey.

But without concrete answers, Murch does what she can.

Her friends and her tie ribbons around the parking lot and tape up flyers just in case.

"If Mikhala is still out there somewhere then perhaps she'll see it and i want her to know we still love her and we're still looking for her," she said.

Murch said a small part of her still believes her daughter could be alive somewhere and that's the part that brings her back here year after year.

"The one thing that I do believe is that I will see her again and I will hold her in my arms again," Murch said. "Whether it's in this life or the next. And that's my hope."

Investigators said they've gone back to reaxamine some early leads in the case.

They would not provide any more detail on the lead they received just a couple weeks ago.

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