Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Latest News


I wanted to share a little bit of news with you, at least as much as I can. First, regarding the Garridos, their property has been searched, they have been interviewed by our investigators, and now they have both been polygraphed, and I believe we are able to conclude that they had nothing to do with Michaela's kidnapping. So what that means is that it is even more imperative that we find the someone else who did. Whatever they may have done in their lives, the Garridos are in prison and will remain there for as long as they live. They will not be in a position again to hurt another child.

As far as we know, the person who kidnapped Michaela is likely still out there, free, and as long as he is, other children remain in danger.

I did meet with Inspector Rob Lampkin this week, and we discussed some of the things he feels need more investigating. Believe me, there are some excellent, excellent leads in this case. What we need is the opportunity to thoroughly investigate them. Unfortunately, that opportunity is difficult to come by. The police department has its policies, including a rotation by which our investigator is regularly assigned to new cases, which can take days, weeks, or months of his time away from Michaela's case. And as someone recently said to me, "Something new is always going to come up. A decision needs to be made as to whether or not Michaela's case is going to become and remain a priority.

Obviously, it should. But nobody is able to guarantee that it will. Even if every single person who has any say right now were to agree to this, one of the problems with police departments is that there is a constant changing of the guard, and there is no telling where this case might be shoved into the background. There are so many levels ... the detective, the sergeant, the lieutenant, the captain, the chief, and the process can break down at any link in this chain.

So what can I do? I can ask nicely. I can complain. I can hope and pray and trust. Or I can do something.

I have learned recently that a number of positions in the police department are not paid for by the City, but rather are funded by grants. So I have this idea that has just begun taking shape in my brain to form a nonprofit organization for the purpose of raising money to assist police departments in the investigation of cold cases. Of course, my motive is to solve Michaela's case. I have been nice and polite and relied on the goodness of others for too long. I really need to be more proactive, to be the strongest advocate I possibly can for my daughter.

And after that, I need to give back. I was really touched recently when the remains of a missing nursing student from Michaela's hometown were found, because they were actually found by Carrie McGonigle, the mother of another formerly missing child. Amber Dubois disappeared at age 14, and it was over a year before her remains were found. In the aftermath, Amber's mother became involved in canine search and rescue. She and her dog found Michelle Le, who had been missing for four months. I can't imagine the emotions of that moment. None of us want our children to be found deceased, but if that is what happened, we need to know. We need to bring them home to rest. For a mother to had been denied that for such a long time to help bring that resolution to other families is, I'm sure, at once heart wrenching and deeply satisfying.

The purpose of the nonprofit organization I would like to start, therefore, will be to provide the resources to help solve Michaela's case, and then to help solve whatever long-unsolved missing children's cases that can be solved -- it will be to enable those investigators to be able to make the case a priority and keep it a priority. There are a thousand missing children's organizations dedicated to getting the word out about missing children. This one will be for the purpose of helping find them.

There are a lot of questions that I need to answer. I've had some encouragement from some fine folks, but I know I will need more than encouragement ... I will need a lot of smart people who are willing to help make this a reality. But the first step is to gather my courage to take the first steps.

Seriously, you would think that with Jaycee having been found alive, the paradigm would have changed completely. I don't know the statistics, but I'd say the number of long-missing children who are found alive is probably not that much less than the number who are found dead. How dare anybody assume that their cases are any less important than any other cases, just because they happened years ago instead of last week? Yet this is what happens. And this needs to be changed.

36 comments:

  1. If for whatever reason they do put this case on the back burner and it becomes a non priority...don't forget that we (followers of Michaelas case) have not made it a non priority. Everyday I think about her and pray that she is found or you get the answers you need. It's not much I suppose but that's what I can offer for now. You have tons of people keeping a lookout for her even still.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is exactly what I think everyday!!!

    "How dare anybody assume that their cases are any less important than any other cases, just because they happened years ago instead of last week? Yet this is what happens. And this needs to be changed."

    WORD to that! And I am so happy for your decicion on starting a fundraising. I will spread the word as soon as you confirm how to offer money. So many people are willing to donate money Im sure.


    And if I may ask directly to Jaycee (i am also thinking about writing her a letter of this matter)if perhaps she is reading this blog.

    "Dear Jaycee. I am so happy that you are back. I am so sorry for all the years you've lost. I recently read your book, and I believe you are such a sympathetic and lovable person. Now my prayers are with Michaela, and I know you have this fund JAYC. "Just ask yourself to care"...

    I think it is a wonderful idea.... Can I humbly give you a suggestion, instead of prioritize those persons that already are found and back with their families, to give all resources possible to those children who STILL are captive. I already know your heart is at the right place, but personally I think that the most energi, most money, most resources should be spending to the most important thing - GETTING THOSE KIDS BACK that are still missing.

    Again - I am so happy for you and your family."


    Sharon - I for one will donate if it is possible from Sweden :) I think this is great!

    Love

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sharon, I know it's been a long time and i'm so very sorry for that lots going on but anything i can do please email me on facebook and i'll be more than happy to do it our little girl will be born on the 5th of novembeer but i want to help:)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Sharon,
    You must have esp and was reading my mind the last time I visited your blog. The last time I left a message for you here, although I didn't mention it, I had been wondering why you hadn't started a foundation, yet?!?!
    I would suggest starting by going to your local library. The library has a special section with books to tell you how to start a foundation and or non profit. Just ask at the reference desk where they are located. Also make sure you do your homework extremely well BEFORE you file your paperwork. Alhough their are 1001 CPA'S, laywers, and other business that specialize in being able to help you file your paper work. The prices for the same service vary from a few hundred to a few thousand. Also what many of these place do NOT tell you is that much of the paperwork you can actually file yourself or for FREE instead of paying the feees they are charging you. I have a ton of resources I would happily share with you. I have worked for many foundations and actually opened one in the last two years. I also know of create places for you for fundraisers and free business supplies. Please let me know if you need any assisants in any way. Or if you just have questions and want to talk to someone who has gone through this experiences rescently. Just remember if you need to email me privately my email is Megan.McGraw00@gmail.com I can also email you my direct contact info if you need it.
    Hugs,
    Megan

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks, Megan, but I'm a paralegal and I have actually started two nonprofits. I did have one for Michaela at the beginning, but I disbanded it, and I recently started one for a theater group. Quite honestly, the part I have a hard time with is fund raising. I am very, very, very, very bad at that. I'd be happy to know about your resources! If you could e-mail me the links that would be great. My e-mail address is sharon.murch@gmail.com.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  6. You know, the thing is that it would take quite a lot of money in order to make a difference to the investigation.... I have no idea how much, but it's not like the kind of expense needed for printing flyers, etc. And how many people would be reluctant to give money if they thought it was going to go to a police department? Many of them would think the police department should be paying for these investigations themselves, however old they may be.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sharon, as you mentioned earlier, the donations would be used to fund positions that are supported by grants. Would these positions only be concerned with investigating Michaela's case for now (and other missing children cases in the future)? If yes, it would boost the investigation that is already being carried out. It would also ensure that the donations are being used appropriately and that the investigation is being carried out properly. (There was some news about how private investigators employed in the Madeleine McCann case misused the funds.)

    Hope this helps bring Michaela home and, in the future, helps find other missing children as well!

    Radhika

    ReplyDelete
  8. Radhika, it wouldn't be my intention to hire private investigators, but to use the police department itself. And yes, that would be the general idea. We couldn't start a foundation solely for the purpose of helping a single child, so we would have to expand our purpose. But it's all just a vague idea right now, and I'd have to meet with a bunch of smart people to figure it all out. I wouldn't be doing it by myself.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Could they not have searched for all four door burgundy sedans,the type of car mentioned in the registries in Hayward and then looked up everyone who owned one and narrowed it down to guys who fit the description of the kidnapper? Or even have cop cars search the areas the car was heading to see if they spotted it? I'm sure they have but it makes me think, I find it very upsetting she has never been found, it's like why not??!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I believe in it. And I dont believe people would be reluctant at all. Folks have not been in the case of Madeleine Mccann, and well, yes it is different since they HAD to hire private investigators since no police force is looking for her (how heartbreaking is that!!!) BUT that is just details in my book, resources is needed, and thats all there is to it...

    Obviously it would take a lot of money, because I understand it does not go to printing papers etc, but to actually real police work, follow up good leads etc. I love to hear that there actually is a lot of good leads. And I think if more people would actually realize that, there would be much easier to donate money.

    Oh I would love you to go on Oprah talking about just this fund it self. That it is NOT a cold case, but actually a very vivid case, with good leads to follow up. But the PD cant do that due to lack of money.

    I know I would listen, I know I would contribute, I dont have a lot, but a small sum from many persons just like me - would make a difference.


    Good luck!!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you, everybody, for your kindness and compassion, and Sarah, I know you will have a beautiful baby girl. Is this your first child?

    Anonymous, I don't know everything that was done in the early days of the investigation, and for all I know they could have done that. But in those early days they told me that they had so many leads to investigate, they had to look for an excuse to discount each lead just in order to be able to go on to the next one. They received over 15,000 leads in the first year.

    So they didn't have to look for ways to investigate. But the other thing is that there was nothing in particular to indicate that the kidnapper was from Hayward. We live in a large metropolitan area here, and a very mobile world, and they didn't know what make the car was at all -- could have been any number of them. The most effective way to investigate was probably to keep putting out the description of the kidnapper and the car and have people call in leads.

    There have been times when the case has been mishandled, I think, but the investigation at the beginning was not one of them. Detective Ken Gross and FBI Agent Larry Taylor did the very best they could under the circumstances.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Good luck Sharon. You can count on my support. I am willing to help in any way I can!

    Sending lots of love from England

    Alison

    ReplyDelete
  13. Sharon, I'm a grant writer and would be happy to help (whenever you're at that point). Leave me a message here and I'll send you my contact info. Wishing you all the best, Wendy

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Sharon,

    As you know, I think this is a fantastic idea. I know this can't happen overnight but I think it is something you should do as quickly as possible.

    If there is anything at all I can do from here, just let me know.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks for the encouragement. It is a daunting, daunting task to even consider, like standing at the bottom of Everest.

    ReplyDelete
  16. If anyone can do it, I know you can.

    ReplyDelete
  17. what would be better is if someone like doug french (the amateur sleuth who says he can afford to dedicate 20 hours a week on one case) could take a fresh new look at those 15,000 leads that came pouring in during the first year of michaela's kidnapping i feel strongly that we can find her.like they say "there is no such thing as a perfect crime".every criminal makes some mistake(s) at some point.even phillip garrido who thought he had committed a perfect crime for 18 years made a mistake of bringing jaycee's daughters with him to the campus which led to his capture.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Unfortunately, that would not be possible. The police cannot release information to an outside investigator.

    ReplyDelete
  19. They can release it to you though cant they?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Mmm, not sure what that means, anonymous. Let's put it this way, I have no right to access to the leads and information in Michaela's case. The fact that they do share information with me is because they know they can trust me not to do anything to jeopardize the case.

    You mentioned Doug French, and I have talked to him by e-mail and over the phone, and he is a really, really nice guy. I like him and I believe he is sincere. But I don't know him, and neither to the police, so just opening up the files to him is not possible. And honestly, I think the case is really way too complex for an amateur investigator.

    We have a great team working Michaela's case right now. Hayward Police Inspector Rob Lampkin and FBI agent Marty Parker are the best I could ask for. We just really need the powers that be to cut loose the resources necessary to allow the investigation to proceed unimpeded. Quite honestly, that's not the way it is, so I came up with this idea of a foundation to fund it, just out of desperation really ... although given a little bit of time to think it over, that seems like such a huge daunting task I am not sure I am feeling up to it.

    I've met with the new chief in Hayward, and I am supposed to at some point meet with some of the captains and lieutenants. They were very nice and all, but what are they going to say to me? "Sorry, Mrs. Murch, but we just don't consider Michaela's case important enough to devote the time and resources to it"? But sympathetic talk won't solve the case.

    Seriously, it makes me cry.

    ReplyDelete
  21. why don't you get in touch with jaycee sharon and find out if they would be able to help you with some of the money they raised through their non-profit? it's definitely worth a shot.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Someone else actually posted something on her foundation's facebook wall today about it.... We will see if they answer....

    ReplyDelete
  23. It was me that posted on her wall...

    I actually wanted to post her an email first so she wouldn't have to motivate all her reasons in the eyes of the whole world.... But I didnt find any email address, just to her support-group and they didn't want to answer any other subjects... I really hope my post will reach Jaycee her self.

    Obviously nobody but Jaycee knows how it actually was to be locked up for so many years... But I would guess that after that experience combined with having all that money, I would want nothing more than to help other people in the exact same hopeless situation she's been through. I would give ALL recources to that particular subject - helping those who still are captive. I dont mean to minimize the problem to heal afterwards. The healing is very important, and I believe her foundation can do so good in that aspect, but first we need to bring our children home. You can't heal a person who still is missing.

    Right in this very moment I'm sure that there are many children (maybe now all grown up) that still longing for rescue....

    Some people seem to forget that missing persons DONT SEAS TO EXIST just because we're not longer see them. They DO EXIST. After Jaycees recovery, everyone was talking about her,... But just a week before she was found, honestly how many people believed she was still alive???!

    And still, with that knowledge that she was alive, people can rule out chances of other missing children being alive... To me that is just plain STUPIDITY!

    And I am sure no one in JAYC foundation is stupid.

    I am hoping for the best.... All the way from little cold Sweden... Hugs

    ReplyDelete
  24. I know, Asa. That's what I said to the new chief at Hayward Police Department ... what if Michaela is still alive like Jaycee? Do you want to be responsible for leaving her in captivity because her case was set at such a low priority level that it was dropped when other cases came up?

    I have talked to others, and I know about the budget cuts and the limited resources left for all investigations. But not ever is it going to be okay with me for Michaela to be abandoned. Right now particularly we have an excellent, very caring investigator. We haven't always and we won't always have that. Now is the time to act.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Absolutely.

    Mr. Lampkin seems to be so dedicated, so I agree that there is no time like the presence.

    Could the money recieved to this fund pinpoint just to Michaelas case? Or is there some bureaucracy about it that means it has to go to other cases as well? (I am sorry, I know you've mentioned this before, but I cant find it)

    Have you thought about set up a website (instead of a blog) concerning just the fund - If you need help tell me, my husband is quite good at computer programming... But of course many people in our age are :) (Obviously he would do it for free)

    Okey, I just got this idea....

    Everybody who reads this blog wants to help you I'm sure, but Okey, lets go together like a team. What can we do besides just send our wishes? If Sharon fix the fund, we can help her spread it? We can talk to everyone we know about it, we could contact newspapers and TV in our nearest community (your states, and we from outside of USA, we can contact the media in our countries) We can send letters to wealthy celebrities. Lets make a list, shall we?


    Okey, so Sharon - if you allow this to go on, I will start the list below. And please you all good people out there - keep filling in your ideas!


    Aktion fundraising:


    1. Share on facebook.
    2. Tell all of our friends and relatives the WHOLE story.
    3. Contact our local media (radio, TV, newspaper)
    4. Write letters to politicians, celebrities etc

    ReplyDelete
  26. Asa, I'm afraid it would be much more complicated than that. First we'd have to set up a nonprofit corporation, which would required establishing a Board of Directors, coming up with Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, and filling out a gargantuan form 1023 for the IRS. The police department is not set up to take donations to put towards investigating a case, but they do have grant-funded positions, and that is what this would have to be.

    It would also be very, very expensive. A grant funded position would have to have a term, and I'd say a year would be the minimum necessary commitment in order to do what needs to be done. For a year's worth of time and resources to work the case would likely be a couple hundred thousand dollars. I know that is expensive, but if it wasn't then we wouldn't have a problem with funding from the City, right?

    If we formed a nonprofit, of course it would have to benefit more children than Michaela, and it would. I would imagine that we would offer child safety education and whatever kind of outreach we figure we could do for other children -- although I'd kind of like to focus on cold cases, because of the fact that there are so many other organizations out there working on the new cases. The other thing is, of course, that I would expect that Michaela's case would be solved if we put this kind of resource into it, and I would not dissolve the corporation at that point. I would go on to help in whatever other cold cases there are which have leads to follow and not enough resources to do it.

    And believe me, raising funds for missing children is extremely hard. There is a lot that comes in during the first few weeks to either the families or organizations working on the case, but it dries up pretty quickly, and it's really, really hard to get it back. We ourselves would have to find grants and write proposals in order to get funding from other people with more money!

    So it is a huge task, and right now I'm still in the thinking it over stage. But I thank you so much for your support. I really appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Sharon, I think a foundation is a wonderful idea. I know it's a huge task but maybe is possible, I'm sure there's many people who would be willing to help you. I not sure if there's anything I could do but I'm sure willing to and I'm sure there's many more people who feel the same way.

    Every case needs to be treated with the same priority, the true is that without evidence no one can be sure what happened to missing children or adults, no matter what might be believed they may be alive and they need our help, they need to be rescued, no one can say other wise without prove. No matter how many days, months or years missing we cannot lose hope and need to look for every single of them, we cannot just assume they are no alive and go ahead with our lives like if nothing happened, it is cruel and cannot be acceptable, all of us as a society need to demand more, need to demand that until our children and citizens are found and bring back to their families no matter the outcome that all efforts will be made.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi Sharon,
    I just wanted you to know I have not forgotten about you. Work has had me on the road of the last two weeks. I should be home at the end of the week, when I am back I can email you that list of info. I also want to make 2 suggestions you might not have already thought of. 1. Is you can actually start a trust at a chain bank such as Bank of America. This way anyone who wants to make a donation can do so by going or mailing a check to the back. The price to do this varies from state to state. Woodford bank you can actually start it with as little as $25! 2. Almost all foundation/charites (including mine) can add what is typically called an 'umbrelling". It allows to add causes to an already established 501c3 nonprofit. The price varies state to state. Here where I am at its only $250 to add a cause to my already established non profit. Have a great day! Megan =)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Megan, thanks. But as I mentioned in one of my previous comments, the police department would need a grant funded position, not a donation, so we would have to be a 501(c)(3). I just did the paperwork for another new nonprofit, so that's not a huge problem ... but the huge size of the task of running and funding the whole thing has me kind of balking a bit. I've thought about it long enough right now that I would completely wash my hands of it, except that I know I have to be Michaela's advocate in one way or another.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Sorry about the typo's in my last comment. Seems to always happen when I use my cell phone. Yes I do remember your comment about it would be a grant funded position. Its been a number of years since I have set anything like this up in Ca. About a year ago my foundation helped a family faceing similar things you mentioned in this blog with local police dept here on the east coast. They opened a trust at a local bank. Foundations and Charities where able to do fundraisers for them. My foundation alone did a fundraiser for them that raised $55,000. All proceds raised during the 16 months went to the police dept in their area to pay for the funding of having 'staff' work the older cases such as their sons case which was over 10 years old. Also if you elect to do the 'umbrella' adding a cause to an existing foundation/non profit it then falls under a 501(c)3 of that existing charity/non profit. If you would like I would be more than happy to put a call into the legal dept for my non profit and see if their is something we can put into place to help you and or the hayward police dept with this cause. I'd be more than happy to help you in any way I can. Just let me know if this is something you would like me to check into.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Megan, can you e-mail me? sharon.murch@gmail.com.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Oh Megan, this is great news!! *Im holding thumbs*

    Yes, i am a positiv person, maybe close to being naive sometimes, BUT it has taken me to places others thought was impossible, so Im quite proud of it.

    We are with you Sharon and we will, just like you, never give up!!

    I believe in this and I believe in Michaela!

    ReplyDelete
  33. http://www.swtimes.com/week-in-review/news/article_c01573b0-91b0-11e0-b8d7-001cc4c002e0.html

    I wondered if you had seen this, about retired police officers working full time on the Morgan Nick case for minimum wage? Perhaps something to look into.

    I stumbled across your blog recently, and it is so well written and heartfelt. I wish you all the luck in the world with your search x

    ReplyDelete
  34. Such a great need! “The purpose of the nonprofit organization I would like to start, therefore, will be to provide the resources to help solve Michaela's case, and then to help solve whatever long-unsolved missing children's cases that can be solved -- it will be to enable those investigators to be able to make the case a priority and keep it a priority. There are a thousand missing children's organizations dedicated to getting the word out about missing children. This one will be for the purpose of helping find them.”

    ReplyDelete