Posts tagged ‘Michaela Garecht’

Possible Bones Of Michaela Garecht Discovered, Family waiting on lab results.

Pictured; School photo of Michaela Joy Garecht taken shortly before her disappearance.

Published: 10/11/12 – HAYWARD, CA – The family of Michaela Garecht is awaiting results of lab tests to tell them if a bone fragment found in a Linden well in San Joaquin County belongs to the Hayward girl who went missing 24 years ago.

Hayward police said Thursday morning that a 3-inch bone fragment unearthed with other remains in February was originally sent to an Arizona lab and has been forwarded to a Virginia lab for further analysis.

“We don’t have any definitive answer as to whether this is a bone from Michaela,” Hayward Police Sgt. Eric Krimm said. It will be several weeks before results are available, he added.

Michaela’s mother, Sharon Murch, said Wednesday that she believed the remains are likely those of her daughter,

who was 9 when she was kidnapped outside a Hayward corner store on Nov. 19, 1988.

Krimm said the age of the victim and the time period it was believed to be from were the only two clues linking the bone to Michaela’s disappearance.

Hayward police received the fragment about two weeks ago. It was unearthed in February in a Linden well, which is believed to hold the victims of the so-called “Speed Freak Killers.” The fragment belonged to a child between the ages of 5 and 13, police said, and Hayward officers hand-delivered it to a lab in Arizona “for testing in the possibility it may be that of Michaela.”

It is now at a Virginia lab for more tests, Krimm said Thursday.

The bone fragment was originally delivered to Joan Shelley, the mother of 16-year-old murder victim JoAnn Hobson, after it was excavated from the Linden well earlier this year. The remains were originally identified as those of her daughter, and returned to her family for burial. But rather than bury the remains of her daughter, who vanished in 1985, Shelley sent the them to Dr. Eric Bartelink, director of the California State University, Chico Human Identification Laboratory.

In Bartelink’s report, he states the use of large earth moving equipment led to “significant commingling” of the remains in the well, and that at least two other individuals were mixed in with the Hobson’s remains.

In total, 28 human bone samples were selected for DNA testing, the report states.

Asked why she might send the bones for analysis even though she had been told they were her daughter’s, Krimm said: “I think Ms. Shelley was looking for confirmation and closure.”

The report opens up the possibility that other victims of the “Speed Freak Killers” may have been unidentified. Krimm said Thursday that Hayward police had custody of other bones that were believed to be from other victims.

“The other bones — we have not even (attempted) to figure out who they belong to,” Krimm said. The department was working with the FBI to figure out how to proceed with those remains, he said.

Herzog and Shermantine were convicted of four murders and suspected in the deaths of as many as 15 people in and around San Joaquin County from 1994 to 1998. They were arrested in 1999. The pair were nicknamed “The Speed Freak Killers” because of their methamphetamine addiction. Herzog’s first-degree murder convictions were overturned by an appeals court and he was granted parole, but he committed suicide in January.

Source: Mercurynews (Staff writers Eric Kurhi, Katie Nelson and The Stockton Record contributed to this article. Reach Daniel M. Jimenez at 510-262-2728. Follow him at

Amber Swartz’s Story


School Photo of Amber Swartz

Amber Swartz was just a couple months away from her eighth birthday when she was kidnapped around 4:15pm  on June 3, 1988 while playing in her front yard, she has not been seen or heard from since.

Kim Swartz, Amber’s mother, wouldn’t normally let Amber play alone but let it slide, knowing there next-door-neighbors were going to be home soon. Kim would check outside every 15-20 minutes and when she went to check on her, a little past 4pm, she noticed Amber wasn’t in eyesight and began looking for her.  She opened the door and called out for her and got no reply, that’s when she went out and noticed the jump-rope Amber was skipping on was also missing. After realizing her daughter wasn’t around, Kim became frantic and called Pinole Police Department, who came shortly after.

Amber’s story quickly received national attention due to the rarity of stranger abductions, especially in her town located in Pinole, California

Pinole Police along with the community came together to help search for the little girl. Police made stops to every house in the neighborhood, asking if anyone happen to see the missing girl. Amber’s face along with details of her disappearance were plastered on every pool in Pinole. People couldn’t get the image of the missing child out of their head and parents were fearful, paying extra close attention to their children and refused to let them play outside or walk to school by themselves.

On June 4th, one day after Amber disappeared, PPD located a pair of pink socks near the Swartz home. The Socks were found on A baseball diamond by the creek that flows behind Amber’s home. According to Investigators, this particular place had already been searched and it is believed that they were left after the initial search. Kim believes the socks may have belonged to her daughter, but wasn’t positive at the time. The same day, a witness claimed she seen someone matching the young girl’s description at Alvarado Park around 5o’clock PM being roughly handled by an adult white male being thrown into a car near the park’s entrance. The witness described the unknown man, saying he looked around 40 years of age, between 5’7” and 5’8”, and weighing approximately 160-170 pounds. He was driving an older model four-door general motors car, tan in color. Police were never able to identify the man and aren’t sure if the young girl was infact Amber.

For many years, Timothy Bindner was one of the main suspect’s in Amber Swartz abduction and possible murder.  Bidner was also a suspect in several other missing/murdered cases, including the disappearance of Michaela Garecht, Ilene Misheloff, Tara Cossey and Amanda Campbell.  But, over two decades later, police  were able to link DNA to the real culprit in Amber’s abduction. Curtis Dean Anderson.

Curtis Dean Anderson

Left; Amber Swartz, photo taking shortly before her disappearance Right; Curtis Dean Anderson, Amber’s kidnapper and killer

Police link Curtis Dean Anderson to the murder of Amber Swartz-Garcia

If you would like more detailed information regarding the kidnapping of Amber Swartz-Garcia, click: Charley Project: Amber Swartz

The Amber Foundation for Missing Children – Providing assistance to the families of children who have been abducted by a stranger.