Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Google is threatening my blog (again)

I just wanted to ask everyone who reads this blog to please follow Michaela's page on Facebook, at https://www.facebook.com/MichaelaJoyGarecht/. I originally purchased the domain name for DearMichaela.com directly through blogger, which is owned by google. This was a long time ago, and google has changed the way they do things since then. I get a notice pretty much annually saying that they are going to cancel my domain name if I don't take various actions, and over the years I have found it impossible to take those actions, because the foundation of my account is different from what they use now.

I will admit, I am no tech genius, but still. The really frustrating thing is that there seems to be no way to contact any people from google. This isn't the only problem I have had with them that I have needed help with, and help just is not available. My newer blog is through wordpress, which seems a bit more user friendly, and if I could I would probably export this entire blog over there, but that would take someone much smarter than I. And the last time I tried to terminate my use of a domain name on one a yahoo site and purchase it for use elsewhere, even though I had placed an auction on godaddy before the expiration, someone else purchased it and put it up for sale for an exorbitant amount of money.

The point is that if anything happens to the domain name of this blog, I will post it on Michaela's facebook so you will be able to find it. The original name of this blog was, I believe, www.thewonderingheart.blogspot.com, and it would probably work to reach this site as well.

Thanks to those of you who continue to visit my blog, and to love Michaela. It means a lot to me, and to Michaela, wherever she is.

God bless.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Happy Birthday, Michaela

Tomorrow you will be 38 years old, and we will be celebrating your birthday for the 29th time since you were taken away from me. I'm writing today, though, because I am restless today but may be tired tomorrow, since I am currently recovering from surgery.

Last night I fell asleep for an hour or two, then woke up, reached over and picked up my phone, and ordered two of your favorite movies from Amazon prime video. Sleep shopping, not recommended, but they just came to me. An American Tail and The Boy Who Could Fly. Perhaps tomorrow I will watch them. Or perhaps I will not have the courage. An American Tail became almost a symbol for you after you were kidnapped, with the song, "Somewhere Out There." The Boy Who Could Fly is more foggy in my memory, except for the fact that you loved it, and that we met the boy who could fly, Jay Underwood, when he was shopping at a local grocery store when he came home to spend Easter with his family. I looked him up on the internet by the way. He is now nearing 50 years of age, still nice looking, but a bald, middle-aged man nonetheless!

Michaela, I have some news, which I have mentioned it here, and then I think I took it off again. I have another blog where I have been talking about it, but the fact is that I have breast cancer. Nana had breast cancer, years after you were kidnapped. I think I never really took the whole thing seriously myself. First of all, I figured I would be immune having breastfed so many babies for so long, and second, Nana misled me I guess. She made breast cancer look like a walk through the park. A lumpectomy and a few weeks of radiation therapy and it was gone. Because of all those things, it was something I took into consideration, and I had my mammograms, but perhaps not quite as often as I should have.

So now it turns out I have Stage III breast cancer. Let's put it this way, they found the cancer, and then every time they did a test they found more. They did an MRI and found it was much larger than what they had been able to see in the mammogram and ultrasound, and that moved it to Stage II. I had a mastectomy, and they found it in the sentinal lymph node during surgery, so they removed eleven more lymph nodes, and they found cancer in every single one. Next I see a medical oncologist, who will probably do a PET scan, and I have to admit, I am a little afraid. It's begun to feel like cancer is playing hide and seek with me, that whenever I catch up with it, it runs farther ahead and hides around another corner.

The type of cancer is invasive lobular carcinoma. This means that it originates in the lobules, which is where the breast milk is actually manufactured. It is the thing in me that nourished and nurtured my children that is trying to kill me. What is it I want to say here? It has a familiar feel. My love for my children has tried to kill me before, hasn't it? When I lost you, all that was so good and precious and treasured rose up and became something from which I could die.

But I didn't. And I don't plan to now, either. I remember when Nana was diagnosed with breast cancer, she thought it meant she would die, and what she told that her first thought was, "At least I will get to find out what happened to Michaela," although I know it was really more like, "At least I will get to see Michaela again," because really she thought it most likely that you were no longer alive. Me, I believe nothing, none of the above, except that there are things in this world yet for me to do. There is love to tend to, and love yet to welcome into the world. I am ready to fight for those things.

*****

Well, it is your birthday now. This blog has been hard to write. I stopped and walked away and it took more than 24 hours to walk back to it. This morning I did watch The Boy Who Could Fly. How you loved that movie. It is a poignant little fantasy. I remember the tears and hope this movie brought you. In was a story of loss, and of the gifts loss can bring you. At the moment Eric's parents are killed in an airplane crash, he spreads his arms and pretends to fly ... only it's not pretend, When Milly loses her father, she moves in next door to Eric and he takes her hand and shows her how to fly. In the end, Eric is lost as well, the loss of an extraordinary person who leaves in his wake the gifts of courage and hopeto people whose hearts had been limping along before he touched them. And yet he is not dead, not as far as we know. He is simply gone, missing . As a mom who hangs onto the real world I wonder where he could be, how he could have survived on his own, but in the promise he left with Milly is the hope yet that he will return.

It is so much you, Michaela. I am so glad I watched it today. An American Tail I will wait to watch with your little nephew, Theo, once we are able to hang out again. I'm not able to pick him up while I am recovering from this surgery, which is really difficult because he lives with me so the temptation is constantly there.

There have been so many birthdays that have come and gone since I lost you. I think every word that could be said has been said, dozens of times. Do the words I love you or I miss you mean any less because they have been repeated so often? More than that, Michaela, I ache and grieve for the suffering you have experienced, and my helplessness to save you. The thing I have wanted from the moment you disappeared to this moment is just to hold you in my arms and whisper in your ear, "It's okay. You are safe." That I have not been able to do that has been like a death to a part of my heart and soul.

If it means anything to you, you have left a legacy of courage. When I face the hard things in life, I think about you. I think, if Michaela can face fear and pain, I can face fear and pain.

I love you, my child, forever and ever. I love you to a depth I cannot begin to reach. I will see you again one day, I know. Until then, I will just say it one more time.

I love you forever,
I'll like you for always (no matter what!)
as long as I'm living
my baby you'll be

mom

p.s. If you want to keep up on the news regarding my breast cancer, you can find it at www.sharonnemethmurch.com. I started keeping another blog because I decided I wanted to keep this one dedicated solely to you. I sometimes post about my opinions or other things that some people may like and others may not, and I just don't want those things clouding anybody's image of you in any way. 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Sometimes I surprise myself

I was talking to a new friend yesterday over coffee, when I heard some words come out of my mouth that still have me kind of reeling. We were talking about bad things that happen to people, how sometimes they blame God, or people who love them blame God. Friends or family may say, how can you believe in a God who would do this to you? My friend is a cancer survivor, and I am a new cancer patient, so we were talking about that, and how good things can actually come out of bad, that nothing is without a purpose or an opportunity.

However, I heard myself referring to Michaela. What happened to her, I said, was a terrible thing, and within the confines of this life I am not sure that there is enough good in the universe that can really make up for that in my heart. As a mother, I cannot ever justify my daughter's suffering. That doesn't change the fact of things, however, and the fact of things is what we are left with.

Yet it is a small thing in eternity, I heard myself say. I believe I will see Michaela again, that we will spend eons dancing on the water. And in that great eternity, what happened to her, however awful, will be a small thing. "Oh, that? We got through it. It's over." But some of the rewards and gifts that may have come into the world because of it will be eternal. And rather than grieve over the difficult times we endured, we will rejoice and celebrate if even one person was helped toward healing through what we went through.

I sometimes get emails and comments from people who say just this, that they have been helped through what I have experienced and what I have to say bout it. That is the greatest gift I can receive, those words, because it means there was some good that came out of Michaela's suffering.

Life: not for the faint of heart. But we can do it. You, too, Michaela, if you are out there. I love you.

Merry Christmas everybody.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Michaela, I will always be thankful for you


Michaela, wherever you are, in heaven or on earth, on this Thanksgiving I am thankful for you. You are my first child and you taught me the real meaning of love, which is based in the being of another person, and not how they behave or what they do for you (even though you behaved beautifully and were the epitome of kindness and love). In your birth, and again in your loss, you taught me this. If I could go back and do it all over again, to choose to have those years with you or not, I would always choose you.

Whatever our fates in this life, our greatest fate was to love each other. That will never die, not here on this earth, no matter what powers may try to destroy it, and not in heaven.

My heart is forever yours.

I love you, Michaela.
mom

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Missing Michaela

This morning marks 28 years since Michaela was kidnapped. It is 8:00 a.m., a little over two hours before that awful event. It is a safe time to travel back to. I think about life 28 years ago at this moment, when life was still perfect, when Michaela was still a happy, innocent child. It was a sunny Saturday morning with a week off school to look forward to! Around this time, Michaela was getting together with her best friend Trina, to begin this fateful day.

I will write more later, and update you on the anniversary from my point of view. But for the moment I don't have the words in me. So instead I would like to offer some words from two other people. The first are from Michaela's friend who was with her that morning. The second were written by Michaela's sister, Libby, who was three years old when she was kidnapped. She wrote this several years ago, but I came across them this morning and my heart was touched.

And thank you, to everyone for remembering Michaela.

From Trina, Michaela's friend:
"Tonight involved going on my annual pilgrimage through memories of November 19, 1988. I've discussed it up and down, sideways and backwards with Andy...perhaps searching for meaning, or just rambling and coping...giving into tears, at times. Tomorrow marks 28 years since my friend, Michaela Garecht, was kidnapped. We read and updated the Wikipedia page about her. This year I pulled out my copy of the initial eyewitness police report, complete with my 9-year old handwritten name. I always end this yearly journey breathing slowly and deeply, now that I've emptied myself out...quiet because I'm unsure that anything I say really matters anyway...resigning myself to the fact that what is, is. May Michaela be remembered this Saturday and always. Perhaps this is the year we will have answers, or, perhaps I will be typing something very similar in exactly one year. Nevertheless, if you want to go on this journey with me, pray for peace for Michaela, her family and friends, and for my family, as well. It has been a shaping force in our lives, and Michaela and this event deserve remembrance."
And from my daughter, Libby:

"Driving home today I missed the turn for the freeway and decided to take Mission Blvd home. Sometimes, when I drive past Mexico Super and I'm not in a hurry to get anywhere I pull over to sit in my car in front of the tree that marks where Michaela was kidnapped all those years ago. The place that she last got the luxury of being just another normal child. I look at the faded and withered ribbons we've tied there over the years. I sit and I think about Michaela… The sister I never really got to know, but whom I love with all my heart… as if she's been here all along. Tonight I decided to stop and was drawn out of the car, surprised to find a laminated poster tied to the tree… as well as some artificial flowers, a wooden cross necklace and rosary beads. The flowers still a bright yellow… Unlike the ribbons we tied there last November, which the weather had taken it's toll on. Someone had obviously gone out of their way to do this on their own. Honestly, my first reaction was to think that it was a little weird. Not that someone did something nice for Michaela… That happens regularly enough. People have tied ribbons for her all over the world. People have gone as far as to make customized rubber bracelets for her… But they e-mail my mom, leave her Facebook messages, post on her blog to tell her about their ways of honoring Michaela… We don't just stumble across them. But after the initial surprise wore off, I didn't think it was weird at all. I was just so incredibly touched that I ended up crying the rest of the way home. I listened to Lady Antebellum "I Was Here," which I've posted many times on my Facebook page because it makes me think of Michaela. The chorus especially:
I wanna do something that mattersSay something differentSomething that sets the whole world on its earWanna do something betterWith the time I’ve been givenI wanna tryTo touch a few hearts in this lifeAnd leave nothing less than something that saysI was here
I don't know how to express my gratitude for those people out there, who don't know my family, who did not know Michaela, but who keep her memory alive. Who fight to make sure she is never forgotten. Who help to let the world know that she was here. Who go out of their way to do something nice like this without getting anything in return, going on nearly 24 years after her abduction. She HAS touched the hearts of so many and it's things like this that remind me of that. We WILL remember you Michaela. You have left behind a legacy that will never be forgotten." 

Michaela, wherever else you are, you are in my heart. I can feel you in every heartbeat, sometimes as a smile, sometimes a sob, something a lightness and joy, sometimes the deepest heaviness. But I love you today and always, and however it may have seemed, you have never been alone. You may be lost, hidden, but you will never be abandoned.

I love you forever, my sweet child.
mom

Friday, November 11, 2016

In case you wondered if I was serious

One week from tomorrow will be the 28th anniversary of Michaela's kidnapping. It will mark 28 years since I stood in the doorway and heard her say, so cheerfully, "I love you, mom." That beautiful smile on her face, so happy to be able to go to the store with her friend to get some goodies. Completely unaware that she was on her way to meet the most horrible destiny. And me too, unaware. I stood in the doorway, holding Michaela's eight-month old baby brother, watching her ride down the street until she got to the corner and turned out of sight.

I don't know if you can possibly imagine how much I don't want to think about this, how much I don't want to feel the feelings I have. It is a hell beyond measure.

For years now I have held a public remembrance to tie ribbons on the tree next to the parking space where she was kidnapped, And every single year I have hated it. Oh, I appreciate the love of the people who come. But I hate having to talk, when I really have no words to say. People come, and they try to comfort me, but they can't. Sometimes I have to comfort them, and I can't. I am spent. I am exhausted. I am broken.

So this year there will not be a public remembrance. I know it's probably "cheeky," as my British mother would have said, but in spite of that I do want you to please remember Michaela. I would like you to, wherever you are, tie a ribbon somewhere, It can be yellow or pink or purple or whatever color you would like. You can tie it on your porch, your tree, or the rack that holds your coffee mugs in your kitchen. Just think of her and say a prayer. And if you could send me a photograph of the ribbon, I would be very grateful. My email is sharon.murch@gmail.com, and Michaela's facebook page is www.facebook.com/MichaelaJoyGarecht.

I understand this sounds selfish. I seem to get an inordinate amount of judgment from people these days, mostly over the way they think the investigation should be conducted. I'm just going to tell you all now, if you think you know what should be done with the investigation, or if you for some reason doubt that they did things they should have done in the beginning, tell the investigator. His email address is robert.purnell@hayward-ca.gov. Not a single reader of this blog has any conception of the depth of the investigation. I can't deal with it anymore, and I think I am going to stop publishing this stuff on my blog because it exhausts me, and because it is NOT the purpose of this blog. This is not a web sleuths site. This is a blog that I write so that if my daughter is alive out there somewhere, perhaps she will see that she has not been forgotten, that she is loved very dearly.

But I do want everybody to remember Michaela. I want everybody to love Michaela. I want everybody to pray for Michaela. I want everybody to spread this blog far and wide in hopes that if Michaela is somewhere in the world, she will see it. And let me tell you, Michaela is worthy of that love. She was one of the kindest little girls you could ever hope to meet. She was good to others, she was loving, she was sweet. So you can love her with abandon. She is not her exhausted, broken, and sometimes just plain cranky mom. She is good.

I thank you for understanding. I thank you for loving Michaela.

And Michaela, if you are out there, I will be remembering you, on November 19th and every single day of my life, I love you, baby girl.

mom

Monday, October 24, 2016

Whodunit, or who didn't done it

I get quite a few comments and emails from people who want to help solve Michaela's case. While I appreciate the sentiment, it is a pretty futile effort. Michaela's case is VAST. There were 5,000 leads called in during the first year alone, and they have continued to come in regularly for almost 28 years now. Nobody knows what is in those leads, or what operating assumptions there are about the case, except for the members of the police department who have worked on them, and perhaps the kidnapper himself. Over the years a few leads have come out in the press and have become well known, and people return to them over and over and over again. So I'm going to talk about just a few of these.

The other thing people seem to want to do is talk about things the police should have done 28 years ago. Pretty much without exception, the police did do those things. Yes, they checked cars and junk yards, yes they checked registered offenders, yes they talked to all the families in the neighborhood, including adults, teens and kids. There were a massive number of people working on Michaela's case in those early days, from both the police department and the FBI. They had it covered, folks. The put forth a heroic effort. However, if there was anything like this that was overlooked, it would be too late now. It would be impossible to go back and look at cars in junk yards 28 years ago, for example. Luckily, the investigators were on top of their game and did these things back in 1988-1989.

There were also a lot of leads to investigate, and the investigators have said from the start that this was actually one of their biggest problems. The way they put it was, "We don't rule anybody out completely unless they were dead or in jail on November 19th, but we have to look for a reason to put each lead aside so we can go on to the next one." For this reason, not much was probably able to be run down to its very furthest conclusion, and for that reason, it is suspected that the answer to what happened to Michaela is, in fact, buried in the five file cabinets of leads from that first year. Our previous detective did his darndest to try to get those leads gone through, organized, and computerized. He set up a "Michaela room" at the police department, a tiny office with the file cabinets, boxes, evidence, and a desk, where he or whoever else was available and approved would sit and try to sort through and computerize the case,

As you know from my previous blog, that was never completed. Whatsmore, after the bone in the Speed Freak Killers case turned out not to be Michaela, apparently the whole damn police department got a case of depression and the powers that be decided to take the room away from our detective and shoved everything back in closets.

I got depressed over that incident, too, so depressed that for the first time in all the years since Michaela was kidnapped, I started taking antidepressants. I'm still taking them. And the police department can get depressed if it needs to. But it is not okay to sweep a case under the rug just because something you had thought would work out didn't. You only close up the case after a lead does work out.

There are a lot of leads that people ask about often, so I thought I'd give you a summary and update of those that are most asked about.

THE SPEED FREAK KILLERS

I don't personally think that it is likely that Michaela was a victim of the Speed Freak Killers. What made the connection was that Shermantine, one of the SFKs, the one who is on death row, commented that Herzog, the other SFK, who was released from jail and committed suicide, looked like Michaela's kidnapper. He had no knowledge about it. He specifically stated in his letters that he didn't know anything about "that Hayward girl." So although Herzog did have a resemblance to the kidnapper, there was no real evidence of knowledge of his involvement, and there have been a surprising number of people who have looked like the kidnapper over the years.

Our detective did investigate this lead. He found that for one thing, Wesley Shermantine had discovered a small gold mine of attention and a way to at least try to get some goodies in exchange for blabbering his mouth. He gave locations for authorities to search for remains, and several of the SFK victims were found. Because the bones were mixed up and there was one bone found in one set of remains that didn't belong there, and it was small, it was thought it might be Michaela's. It took three long months for the DNA tests to be completed, and it was not her. In the meantime I met with some of the families of his victims. All of their loved ones had been older teens or young adults and all had gone with the SFKs voluntarily. All cases were completely unlike Michaela.

It is not impossible that Herzog was responsible for kidnapping Michaela. But Shermantine does not possess any information about this, and that has been verified. Herzog is dead, so he is not going to be able to tell anybody anything, and no evidence has been found. So basically this is on the far back burner. If Herzog is responsible, someone else will have to have that information and give it to us, or it will have to be stumbled on somewhere.

PHILIP GARRIDO

This has to be the most thoroughly investigated lead ever associated with Michaela's case. After Jaycee Dugard was found at Garrido's house in Antioch, California, the Hayward Police Department moved in on the property with a huge operation that included tearing down all the outbuildings on the property and searching them for any signs of Michaela. Nothing was found. Jaycee was questioned and knew nothing about Michaela. The judge in the Jaycee case issued an order forbidding any other law enforcement personnel from interviewing either Philip or Nancy Garrido until the case was over, which took something like two years. Then, after the sentencing, our detective was forced to wait until they were transferred to their permanent prison homes, and after they were transferred we had to wait another three months mandatory settling-in period.

Now ask me my opinion of this nonsense. No, dont ask me. You can figure it out.

Eventually, however, our investigators were able to conduct extensive interviews with both  Philip and Nancy Garrido, including reading to them my blog entries. They were pretty well satisfied after the extensive interviews and the preceding investigation that the Garridos were not responsible for Michaela's kidnapping, but just to top it off both Philip and Nancy agreed to a polygraph test, and they both passed.

So I am pretty well satisfied that the Garridos are not responsible for Michaela's kidnapping.

TIM BINDNER

Tim Bindner was the subject of a 1997 book by John Philpin, Stalemate. He was suspected of being responsible for a number of kidnappings in the San Francisco Bay Area.

He first became suspect because of his obsession with Angela Bugay, who had gone missing and was found murdered. Angela had disappeared on November 19, 1983. This was the same date, five years earlier, as when Michaela was kidnapped. It was also the last time November 19th had fallen on a Saturday, which it was in 1988 when Michaela was kidnapped.

Tim also had an obsessive interest in a number of missing children, including Amber Swartz and Nikki Campbell from Fairfield. This is what made him a suspect. There were a few other things that led some to think he took these girls, but an investigation never turned up anything. The Fairfield Police Department conducted a search of Bindner's home and found nothing.

What's more telling is that Angela Bugay's murder was solved. In 2002, Larry Graham was found guilty of Angela's murder. So  it was proven that Tim did not have anything to do with Angela's murder, and his obsession was just a weird obsession and not an indicator of guilt. After the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake here in California, I saw Tim Bindner interviewed on the news. He was working as a volunteer to help dig bodes out of the collapsed freeway in Oakland. So there he was again, where something bad had happened. But we know he didn't cause the earthquake.

I don't think Tim is responsible for Michaela's kidnapping. He actually came to my house the day Michaela was kidnapped (along with half the rest of the world) to say he wanted to help in the search. He did not look like the kidnapper on the day of the kidnapping. To make his book more entertaining, Philpin had the composite of our kidnapper altered to show him with shorter hair, and put that next to a picture of Tim. But that is not what the kidnapper looked like.

Tim was also never considered a suspect by our own police department. So, it's not impossible that he is involved, but not likely, There are certainly better suspects to investigate.

"TONY"

There is another missing child case that uses one of our composites. It is a color composite that was done by a police officer's wife after Michaela was kidnapped. She did not consult with the eyewitness when she did it, however, and when we got around to asking the eyewitness much later, she said it was inaccurate, that the pale blonde hair and bright blue eyes did not reflect the man she had seen, and the slightly altered face shape was not accurate either.

Years later a man, a diagnosed schizophrenic, claimed he had participated in the kidnapping of this other missing child (I am not going to mention the name because there is too much questionable involved and I don't want to worry your head about it if you don't know the case already) and used our color composite to identify the getaway driver in that kidnapping, a man he called "Tony."

I first saw this when it was broadcast on America's Most Wanted just a few years after Michaela was kidnapped. And yes, we did investigate it. We notified our police department and the FBI. There was a private investigator working on that case who happened to be in the Bay Area, and I met with him with a group of volunteers to pick his brain, but there wasn't much information there, and he knew of nothing to do with any little girls. Only little boys.

In the years after I learned a lot more about that case, and heard a lot of different stories about our composite and other things that I just knew to be untrue. You know in court once you say something that is proven to be untrue they find you to be not credible and don't believe anything else you have to say. Well, I kind of feel that way about this.

No evidence, lots of questionable information. Not impossible, but highly highy unlikely.

RICHARD HELWIG

This is a famous case, although its connection with Michaela is probably less well known, and it is also a very old lead. Helwig was stopped crossing the border into the U.S. from Mexico. He was found to have child pornography in his possession, and he also had articles and flyers about both Michaela and Amber Swartz in his possession. This was March 1989, three and a half months after Michaela was kidnapped, nine months after Amber disappeared,

Further investigation revealed that Helwig had a girlfriend in Mexico, who had two children who were hearing impaired. There is something about the girlfriend owning earrings and a tee-shirt that matched what Michaela was wearing the day she was kidnapped, but those items were never discovered. Her two children were interviewed separately, and in these separate interviews I am told that each child independenty identified both Michael and Amber Swartz as having been there.

There was a lot of investigation into this case and no evidence was ever found. Helwig was found guilty of transporting child pornography and died in prison. On his deathbed he was interviewed once again by investigators, and asked about his involvement in Michaela's case. He would not confess, but he did not deny it either.

This has been one of the most intriguing leads to me. If it is true, it would indicate that Michaela was kidnapped by traffickers rather than a psycho bent on killing. As those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile know, I have received leads from diverse places telling me that Michaela is in the UAE, alive. If she was in the hands of traffickers, it is entirely possible she could have ended up anywhere after traveling to Mexico.

Thinking about this possibility makes me sick. It is almost worse than the prospect of her having passed away soon after she was kidnapped, because it would almost certainly have guaranteed a lifetime of abuse. But this is one of the reasons that I keep reaching out to Michaela in this blog, because if she is alive, she is probably not living a happy life with another family somewhere. If she is alive, she is likely suffering and needs my help.

LOOKING FOR MICHAELA

A lot of people also tell me that they look for Michaela in the faces they pass on the street. Other people send me facebook pages, or worse, escort service ads, suggesting that those people might be Michaela. Without exception they are beautiful, young, blonde women.

I have to tell you, I don't think I would necessarily recognize Michaela if I passed her on the street. I'd like to think I would, but I am far from confident. I don't see how somehow who didn't know the intricacies of her face could. And the other thing is that Michaela likely does not have that platinum blonde hair she had as a child. Every one of her siblings ended up with darker hair, ranging from dark blonde to true brown, even though they also started out with platinum blonde. Nor is she a young girl anymore. She would be 37 years old now. I don't honestly think she would be on facebook either, although I could be wrong.

Someone recently commented and suggested that I submit my DNA to the ancestryDNA databank, in case Michaela might be out there somewhere looking for me. Well that's a longshot, but you know what? It's worth trying. I have my ancestryDNA kit here in front of me as I write. The investigators have Michaela's prints, DNA, and dental records, as well as mitochondrial DNA. But on the offchance that Michaela herself is looking for her DNA, I will reach out. One of the people who provided the lead about the UAE said she is "changed too much to remember" who she is. What if that is the case, and she is in a position somewhere on the earth to be asking that question, Who am I? If she is looking for me, I will make myself available to be found.

On the whole, I know that there are leads that the police department has that they can follow up on. I have heard some information about them, but they are too many and too complicated to remember without taking notes, which I didn't, and since they have not been investigated fully, it is information that I could not release anyway. They are names that don't automatically pop into my mind and names that nobody else knows,

If I forgot anything let me know. But I guess what I am trying to say is that as much as I do appreciate the fact that everyone wants to help solve the case, we have too little information to be able to do that. We need a confession, or an informant, or for Michaela herself to surface.

What you can do is pray. I know many of you are doing that anyway. And you can also share this blog. Share it far and wide, and particularly to an international audience if you can, to help to try to reach out to Michaela if she is still alive, or to someone whose conscience might be stirred if they read this.

Thank you everybody for caring so much about Michaela. And Michaela, if you are out there, take the fact that you are so loved to heart and let it give you courage.

I love you forever, baby girl.
mom