Michaela Garecht case: California inmate charged with killing 9-year-old girl 32 years after she went missing

59-year-old David Misch, in prison since 1989 for an unrelated murder, was charged in the 1988 kidnapping and murder of Michaela Joy Garecht

                            Michaela Garecht case: California inmate charged with killing 9-year-old girl 32 years after she went missing
(Fremont Police Department)

David Misch, a California man has been charged with the 1988 killing of a young child after his fingerprints matched with that left on her scooter. 59-year-old Misch, in prison since 1989 for an unrelated murder, was arraigned on Tuesday morning, December 22, in the killing and kidnapping of Michaela Joy Garecht, 9, prosecutors announced. 

The child had been kidnapped outside a supermarket in Hayward in California on November 19 in 1988. To this date, Garecht's remains have not been found. A news release regarding the development was published by the Alameda County District Attorney's office on Monday. District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley said in a statement, "The kidnap and murder of a child is horrific. The pain to the family and friends is indescribable, especially when their child is not found. This crime shocked not just the local community, but the entire Bay Area and the nation. I hope that today’s action and announcement will provide some comfort to Michaela’s family in knowing that justice will prevail, even after 32 years since this horrible crime," Malley said.

The kidnapping had occurred when Garecht and her friend had their scooters to a neighborhood grocery store. When the girls went into the store, they left their scooters outside and came out to find that one of the scooters had been misplaced. The DA shared, "When Michaela went to fetch the scooter, the driver of that car grabbed her as soon as she walked past his door. He forced her into the front seat of the car."

On the thirty-year anniversary of Garecht's missing date, "evidence, leads, and potential witnesses" were examined again which allowed more advanced technology to connect Misch to the case. The authorities were able to find that Misch's fingerprints were a match to the one found on the missing girl's scooter. Eyewitnesses had also placed Misch close to the kidnapping scene. The DA's news release also revealed that he is "facing other charges in Alameda County for the murder of two women in Fremont committed in 1986" and is "serving time in State Prison for the 1989 murder of a woman in the Hayward area."

The Hayward Police read out a statement made by Garecht's mother Sharon Murch which stated, "Over the years, I have often wondered whether I really wanted to know the truth of what happened to Michaela. I wondered if I would be able to take it," CNN reports. 

"As I told our detective, I am glad that the kidnapper has been identified. I am glad that there are answers. I am glad that this man will never be able to hurt anyone else," the statement added. Murch also shared that she urged for her daughter to never be forgotten and fondly remembered her as a "bright and shining light." 

Hayward Police Chief Toney Chaplin spoke about how Garecht's disappearance had gripped the Bay Area for more than three decades. Chaplin said, "As police chief, I want to thank the men and women of this department who worked this case and always kept its resolution a priority. We hope this announcement will bring Michaela's family closer to the peace they deserve for so many years."

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