OAKLAND, California — A jailed serial killer has been charged with the kidnapping and murder of a 9-year-old girl who disappeared without a trace from a store parking lot 32 years ago, authorities said.
David Misch, 59, was connected to the unsolved disappearance of Michaela Joy Garecht in Hayward, California on November 19, 1988, through a partial palm print and two eyewitnesses who picked his photo out of a lineup.
The brazen kidnapping occurred in broad daylight outside the Rainbow Market after she and a friend had taken their scooters there to buy snacks. Her body has never been found.
“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,” said Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley.
After Garecht and her friend came out of the shop, they found that one of their scooters had been moved behind a car parked in a nearby space. When Garecht went to retrieve it, the driver of the car grabbed her as she walked past his door. He forced her screaming into the front seat of the car and sped away, authorities said.
All detectives had to work with was a partial palmprint found on the scooter.
Prosecutors say that around the 30th anniversary of the kidnapping, they took another look at the evidence and had a fingerprint examiner review a list of names of persons of interest, one being Misch’s.The print was a match.
Authorities say their ability now to compare prints has been significantly advanced through software and technology.
Misch, who is currently incarcerated for a 1989 murder of a woman. He has also been charged with two other notorious cold case killings — the 1986 slayings of Michelle Xavier, 18, and Jennifer Duey, 20, who were brutally raped and murdered on their way back from a birthday party.
When police tried to interview Misch about Garecht’s disappearance, he refused. He also refused to comply with a warrant for his fingerprints and DNA, even after being told it could exonerate him from the crime, police say.
His attorney, Ernie Castillo, described his client as a “loving father, a caring son and a good brother.”
“He is not someone who would hurt or kill a child. David denies the allegations against him and will fight these charges,” Castillo said in a statement to this the East Bay Times.