Thursday, October 11, 2012

I think this might be it....

Note written by Michaela, 1988.


Well, you talk about a study in contrasts, between my last blog and the one I am about to write. The last 24 years have been filled with leads of this sort or that. This may be no different from all the others. It may be a big story that causes those of us who are looking for Michaela to hold our breath, only to find out it's nothing. Maybe. But maybe not. 

Last Monday I was called into the Hayward Police Department, where I met with our detective and a second detective, who had been working on the Shermantine/Herzog lead since it first came out last January. He gave me a short history of these two, known as the Speed Freak Killers. I'm pretty sure the story is familiar to most of my blog readers. One of their victims whose remains were identified through the information Shermantine provided to police this last year is JoAnn Hobson, who went missing from Stockton, California, in 1985 at the age of 16. JoAnn's mother, Joan Shelley, had to fight to get her daughter's remains released to her, but finally the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department delivered to her a box of bones. By this time she was mistrustful and suspicious of the Sheriff because of the way her daughter's case had been handled, so she sent the remains they'd given her to the Human Identification Laboratory at Chico State University. It turned out her suspicions were correct, as not all of the bones she'd been given belonged to her daughter. One of the bones was from a child, between the ages of 5 and 13. 

Herzog had been previously linked to Michaela's case by his partner in crime, Wesley Shermantine, because he looked like Michaela's kidnapper (although Shermantine later stated that he "doesn't know anything about that Hayward girl"). The age range of the victim, combined with the limited period of time in which these bodies had been buried, also limits the possibilities as well. There are not that many missing girls from this area of the country that it could be. 

At any rate, the bone was turned over to the Hayward Police Department. They took it to a laboratory for DNA testing. The results were inconclusive, because the condition of the bone was such that they were not able to obtain a full DNA panel. I do understand that there were some matches to my DNA, but again, that does not provide an identification. So it has now been sent off for additional testing at a lab that specializes in extracting mitochondrial DNA, which is passed from mother to child. The results of this testing will tell us positively whether this bone is Michaela's or not.

It's quite a leap to go from posting information to help Michaela find help in the UAE to saying in the next blog that I believe it's likely that evidence has been found that Michaela is not alive, but yes, that is what I am going to say. Part of the reason I say this is because it is simply a logical conclusion. Part of it is that it just feels like it is. In my heart, I have been expecting something to happen. I didn't know what. I didn't know it would be this, but I was just expecting something.

Waiting for the results of the DNA testing is not easy. My daughter Libby, talking about the possibility that we would find out Michaela is not alive, said she wouldn't know how to live, because she had lived her whole life with Michaela being missing. I don't know how to live right now, in this waiting time.

If this is confirmed, though, I will be glad to know the truth, simply because it is the truth. And I feel an overwhelming desire to bring Michaela home. It breaks my heart to think of her little body lying in that godforsaken place for all these years, and if that is so, I want to gather her up and bring her home. 

Of course, that would be difficult. I'm not sure, but I'm guessing that a body that is at rest in a single location even more 24 years would be fairly much together. But that is not the case here, because the Sheriff of San Joaquin County seemed to think that the best way to excavate the well and dig out the remains was with a backhoe. I've been through searches before for possible sites of Michaela's remains. Somewhere in this blog I wrote that I wanted to be there if Michaela was found, if for the first time the light of day touched her, that I wanted to be there, that if all that was left of her was skeletal remains that I wanted to wrap my arms around those little bones and hold my daughter. But no. In this case, there is a single piece of bone, three inches long, because some dumbass thought it would be a good idea to go in there with a backhoe, callously crushing and destroying the fragile remains of all these fragile little lives that were ended so senselessly and brutally. I am guessing it would be impossible to return all the remains to the families. And they have created a practically impossible task of identifying who they belong to, because instead of identifying one whole bone, they have to identify numerous fragments. 

Did they not understand what it is they were doing? Did they not understand that these are the precious children of mothers and fathers who have spent years of their lives missing them, searching for them, longing only to bring them home? It seems not, and apparently they still don't, as the San Joaquin County Sheriff holds onto the evidence with an iron fist instead of allowing the FBI or other jurisdictions to come in and try to identify these remains.

Think of it. If this precious mother had just taken the box of bones she was handed and had laid them to rest without question, we might never, ever have known if this is Michaela. Never. We might have gone the rest of our lives without knowing. This is just unacceptable.

One other thing, in September I wrote a blog about a difficult day I was having. One of the people who commented on that blog was Michelle Loftis, JoAnn's sister. She reassured me that I wasn't alone, that there were others who understood and stood by me, that they'd never thought they'd get her sister back but that they had, and that she knew the answers I sought would be coming soon for me as well. I hadn't known what she was talking about at the time. But now I do. Michelle, if you are reading this, thank you. And thank your mom.

Well, it's been a long week, and a long day, and probably tomorrow will be also, as this just hit the news today. I will write when I can, and if I get any news, I will update you here.

Thank you, as always, for your love and your support, and for never forgetting Michaela.

And to you, Michaela, wherever you are, I love you. I will hold you in my heart always, and I will hold you in my arms again I know, through all the lifetimes in all the worlds. Forever, and then some, I will always love you.

124 comments:

  1. Hi Sharon,
    Thank you for sharing this. I can't even imagine how you are feeling. I agree with everything you have said in this letter. I love you, your family and Michaela and I'm continuing to pray for each of you always. My church prayer chain and some other ones are praying for you, Michaela, and your family. My pastor and I really prayed for you tonight over the phone.
    Love and Prayers
    from Thelma Mandera

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  2. I have written and erased this response at least 10 times now. Just so hard to find words for you at this time. I have always wanted you to at least get answers but I always hoped that there would be a reunion at the end of this ordeal. Tonight the tears streaming down my face are for you. Because if it really is her she doesn't need my tears but as a mother my heart breaks for you. And as Michaela's friend my heart hurts to know that the 8 year old inside me has to adjust to knowing this might be the ending I never wanted to think was possible. No matter what, I love you Sharon. And I love Michaela and think of her often. I will always be here for you.

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  3. It's so odd, I'm not sure to hope for this, as hope would be the wrong word. Hope belongs to her life, this is more peace, I pray for the peace if this is her.
    I don't know you or your family, but over the years I have kept tabs on the case, I know the people at the Doe Network keep an eye out for Michaela as well..
    My prayers are with you...one way or another I'm sure she will come home (((big hugs)))

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    1. Thanks, Wendy. I think, however that hope far transcends this life, and whatever the final outcome, even if Herzog put an end to Michaela's life, he could never put an end to her spirit.

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  4. If the remains are identified as belonging to Michaela, I hope you and JoAnn's mother sue the crap out of that police station.

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  5. I read this from Dana, and my heart goes out to you and your family! I pray that in one way or the other you find the answer so that you will have truth. I give my unknown to you hugs through the air in the hopes you might find some strength in them when you need them.

    Debbie

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  6. Sharon,

    It hard for me to read this, knowing that this may have come to a close in a way that you didnt want, even if you knew this could happen. While reading this, i realized that you may soon know Michaela's fate, but it wont give you all of the answers since there isnt any tissue samples to test, then again, maybe a mother doesnt want to know how her baby died, or what happened to her. It is also sad that the careless acts of a law enforcement agency that is to protect us botched the dig up so much. Seems like digging though the well with water pressure would of been a better way to preserve the remains for families.

    Rick Hammond

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    1. There definitely are better methods than using a backhoe, that's for sure.

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  7. I went to sleep last night thinking of you, and I woke this morning thinking of you. This must be so, so difficult, Sharon. Sending you strength to get through this difficult time.

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  8. Hi Sharon,
    My heart just sank while reading this. I can't believe the police were that disrespectful knowing there are bodies(bones) in that location and chose using a backhoe. Your family and Michaela have always been in my thoughts. Although I think of you often, every year on Nov. 19 th I stop and say a prayer for her. I don't know why I still remembered this day as Im only a couple years older than Michaela. I have always felt some sort of connection with her. All I can say is I'm going to have faith and hope until they have answers. I'm so sorry and am giving you hugs in my mind.
    Kama<3

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    1. Thanks Kama. Somebody suggested to me that perhaps they thought that there were no bodies, that Shermantine was just playing games with them, and the backhoe was the fastest way to dispatch what they thought was nonsense? Well, that would be no excuse because they KNEW these guys had killed people, they'd been convicted in court of it, and the bodies had never been found. So they knew there WERE bodies, and there is no excuse for so disrespectfully treating a possible burial ground.

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  9. Dear Mrs. Murch,

    I cannot fathom how you and your family must be feeling or the anguish and heartache that you have been through all this time. I am conflicted on how my feelings of this discovery, one half of me wishes that this is it and you will have peace and resolution after all this time. The other half wants to carry on with hope she is out there, just trying to find her way back home.
    I wanted to share with you that Michaela has changed my life. I was 3 years old when she was abducted and have lived in Castro Valley all my life. At the time of her abduction my mother worked at the Hayward police department. My mom always talked of Michaela as I grew up, she always told me how her abduction haunted everyone she worked with and assured me that the detectives there would never give up hope and bring her home.
    I know that michaela's story changed the lives of all children my age growing up in the Bay Area. My mother held me and my brother a little tighter that night when she came home from work. There was no longer the same freedom for us at least when we played outside, there was always caution and a heightened sense of awareness of our surroundings.

    I have wished and hoped and prayed for your family since I was that little girl concerned about the girl I saw on the news. Michaela has just always been in my thoughts since then.

    As a mother of a 9 year old daughter and a 3
    month old son now, michaela's story touches my heart even more. I think befor I was just one child worried about another child and now being a mother I cannot even come close to understanding the heartache this has been. I will tell you this, because of Michaela I was held tighter with each hug growing up and I carry that tradition on with my children too. I think all children growing up at the time of her abduction had the same thing.
    I don't know if any of this comforts you, but I just needed to say to you how much she has been on our families thoughts and prayers over the years. Michaela's story changed us all, it was so close to home. We send your family all our love and support especially at this time. I pray you find closure soon and as I have wished since I was a little girl, I hope Michaela is home soon.

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    1. Thank you, Alexandria. I really appreciate it.

      My daughter Libby was three when Michaela was kidnapped, and we moved to Castro Valley before she started high school. Maybe you knew each other?

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  10. Sharon, My thoughts & prayers are with you & your family now & as they have been for years. I have always felt some sort of connection to Michaelas case even though i was only 8 years old when she went missing. I remember back then being so scared by her kidnapping.

    I am apalled at the actions that San Joaquin County has taken not only in excavating these precious bones but by the lack of responsibility they take.

    It saddens & angers me that those little gifts are/were treated with little respect.

    Thank you for sharing your life with us Sharon & for helping us stay connected to Michaela even though we didnt know her then.

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  11. Oh, Sharon...I am praying for you, Michaela & family...

    Love,
    Jessica

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  12. This made me cry in a bittersweet way. I can't even imagine what you're going through, but I can also see wanting to finally know the truth one way or the other. After reading this post, still crying, I went and hugged my four year old in his bed, who grumbled in his sleep. "Too bad, you're getting hugged," I said. I can't imagine any mother being unaffected by your story. I feel for you and your family.

    I am particularly upset at the actions of the sheriff's office. Some law enforcement is wonderful, while some have work to do on empathy. This upcoming November, it will be seven years since my aunt went missing. After a month-long search, they retrieved a single foot, which they deemed to be hers, and they closed the case. It seems they had enough to declare her dead, and conclude an accidental death, and they were done. It's not so simple for the family, who'd like to have her body back. (The terrain in the area is neither dangerous or hard to access.) My dad still goes up there whenever he thinks of a new place to search. Sometimes, LE seems more interested in finding someone's property than they do in bringing remains home, and that's just sad. If a family is deprived of their loved one, the least that can happen is to help them manage a proper funeral and find closure.

    My best wishes to you and yours. I don't really know what to wish for you in this instance, but I do wish you strength and healing, whatever comes. I admire your continued resolve. And bless Ms Shelley for being so diligent.

    I've been following Michaela's story for a while now, and will follow it through to the end, and sending warm thoughts your way.

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    1. Anne, have you ever thought about talking to a lawyer? Or hiring a private search team? I know that Amber Dubois' mother has a search dog, and they found the remains of a missing woman from Hayward last year, Michelle Le. I'm not sure how to get in touch with them, but Marc Klaas worked closely with the family on these searches. You can contact him through his facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PollyDad?fref=ts

      I hope you find peace.

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  13. Sharon,I don't know what to say. Reading this breaks my heart - and feel a mix of emotions. I still hope and will never stop praying that Michaela comes home to you. Thank you for updating us.

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  14. Bless your little angel, it must hurt you so much and it hurts me reading your blog (it makes me furious) the way the authorities handled the work to get to this well.., they are destroying evidence..I have always followed your case and always have prayed for your little beautiful little girl, much love and respect to you and your family

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  15. Thinking about you and your family always. From the very beginning, Michael's has been in my heart. I hope it is time to bring her home in peace, to her loved ones. God bless you. You have been a soldier mom for your darling girl.

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  16. CANT IMAGINE WHAT YOUR FEELING BUT KNOW THAT GOD IS WITH YOU AND WHOEVER DID THIS WILL HAVE TO ANSWER TO THE MAN UPSTAIRS!RIP MICHAELA IF ITS YOU.MAY THE GOOD LORD COMFORT YOU SHARON AND YOUR FAMILY DURING THIS AGAIN WAITING TIME.

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  17. I've always wanted closure for you and your family, but getting there either meant joy or sorrow....I had prayed for joy. Knowing it could be sorrowful is heart breaking. I will pray for you and your families strength in the next few days or weeks. If it ends up being her, may you be comforted by knowing you will see her again, and that she welcomed your mother into heaven when she passed on.

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  18. I woke up this morning to the news that they have possibly found Jessica Ridgeway's remains and then logged onto your blog only to discover that they have possibly found Michaela's remains...I'm numb. I honestly don't know what to say. We love you, Sharon, and we love Michaela.

    -Julia

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  19. I have no words to ease your pain, so I send you a hug, a huge hug from the other side of the US. As a mom, this just tears me apart. We are all with you here.

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  20. Sharon, I wrote to you that day knowing there was a strong possibliity that we had been given your daughters bones too. I so wanted to tell you of our findings. Our whole family's hearts hurt for everyone's family members who was found in that well. I have been to that spot many times since the discovery on Flood Rd. We have always thought there was more people in that well than they had said. My mother and I knew it was taking to long to put the victims back together. I hope the whole truth comes out soon. Please know we wish you peace and happiness. Stay strong!
    Michelle Loftis

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    1. I hope so, too, Michelle. There is so much to say, and yet I feel I have a zip on my lip until they get the results of these tests. But either way, you are right. Even if it isn't Michaela, it is someone, and I'm sure there are a lot of other bones out there that haven't been examined fully. I know it's a huge task. I just hope they give it over to someone who has the resources and experience to handle it, which would be the FBI, not San Joaquin County.

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  21. jennifer of san franciscoOctober 11, 2012 at 8:15 AM

    Oh, such a beautifully written, heart wrenching post. My heart aches for you, Michaela and your family. I send light and love to each of you.

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  22. Sending you love, support and virtual hugs Sharon. My heart hurt reading this and I'm so sorry and sad for all you are going through. I'm praying for the truth and the ability to deal with whatever the truth is. Gayle

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  24. My deepest empathy and love are with you now more than ever.

    No words.
    <3 Serena

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  25. Stay strong hun, there are so many people praying for you from all over the world.

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  26. Oh Sharon!! I can't find the words to express my feelings...but just want to send you a hug packed with lots of love- hope you can feel the energy your followers here on the blog are sending your way...
    SR Mom

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  27. I DONT KNOW THE CORRECT THING TO SAY TO YOUR FAMILY AND ALL I CAN DO IS PRAY FOR YOU AND I HOPE YOUR ABLE TO FIND SOME KIND OF CLOSURE...I FOUND MY SELF PRAYING THAT LIKE JAYCEE DUGARD SHE WILL BE FOUND ALIVE..THAT GAVE SOME KIND OF HOPE WHEN THAT HAPPENED...BUT I PRAY FOR YOU EVERYDAY I CANT IMAGINE THE PAIN AND AND THE THINGS YOU HAVE FELT SINCE SOME EVIL PERSON TOOK THAT BEAUTIFUL CHILD!!!!!!! WE SEND OUR LOVE...THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS AND MAY GOD GIVE YOU ANSWERS SOON!!!!!!

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    1. There's no correct or incorrect thing to say. Thank you for just caring.

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  28. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. I was a young girl in Hayward when Michaela was kidnapped and I have always oped and prayed for her safe return. I know God is with you and will help you find the answers you need. Just wanted to send my love.

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  29. Wow I hope you get your answer not that I hope she is not alive but you have gone through so much and yes that guy is a dumbass for using a backhoe they should have done it way more carefully and with care. Hugs.

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  30. My heart aches for you and your family. I and so many others are here for you.

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  31. I'm so sorry you have to write this. I am the same age as Michaela and I grew up in Hawyard not far from her. I remember the exact day she was taken and have thought about her often throughout the years. I'm still hoping you can bring her home alive.

    Like another comment said, if this is her, I, too, hope you bring some accountability to the police department. A box of random bones? Where is the compassion?

    You're in my pryaers.

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  32. I feel like i have been kicked in the gut. My prayers are with you and your family Sharon.

    - Rod

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  33. Sharon,

    You, Michaela and your family have been in my thoughts and prayers for so many years. I have continually been inspired by your unflagging courage in the face of so many frightening possibilities. Please know that so many people - including me - are praying for you. As Jennifer said so beautifully, I'm also sending light and love to each of you.

    Julie

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  34. Michelle Loftis,I just wanted to tell you I'm so very sorry for your family's loss as well. Praying for you.

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    1. Thank you, Anonymous. Michaela is not the only victim, she is not the only child who has died. I have friends who have lost their children in car accidents, friends whose children were murdered, and some of them were adult men rather than cute little children. I have friends who have lost their children at birth, or even before. But the grief and loss are the same, and the value of all these lives is equal. While we are remembering Michaela, let us never lose sight of those others who are grieving.

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  35. As I said on my Facebook... "Beam Me Up" by Pink might actually give you some comfort...

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    1. Yes, I really really liked the song. Thanks.

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  36. So I watched a news thing on Wesley and he says he is going to make everythingknown by book in 2020!!! 2020?? Thats crazy, why so long?

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    1. Well, for me, if Herzog, or Herzog and Shermantine, killed Michaela, the only important thing is to find her and bring her home. Shermantine is on death row, so the rest of the world is safe from him, and Herzog is dead. And I'm not sure I want to know all the details.

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  37. Sharon, I came across this post on Facebook. I lived in Castro Valley the majority of my life, my parents still live there. I remember the day Michaela went missing. Everytime I go by those neighborhoods I always remember. When Jaycee was found it brought hope that more missing chikdren could be out there. I have a younger sister that is Michaela's age. Her story hit me incredibly hard and this was about fears for my sister at a time when it seems that so many children were going missing. I read Michaela's poem and it struck me that this was written by a nine year old little girl. I agree it seems like a premonition, from a soul much older than a nne year old. I hope and pray for you and your family that you find closure. I also wanted to ask you if you have ever consulted a pyschic. God bless you, your family and above all Michaela.

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    1. Yes, I agree. And I have spoken to many psychics over the years. In fact, some of them even became and remain friends of mine.

      Thanks.

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  38. I have been touched by your story for so long. I am so so sorry for the pain you and your family have endured losing Michaela. I pray for her safety on this earth, or her soul in heaven, I pray for your peace which would bring peace to your daughter in life or spirit. I'm so so sorry for the hole in your heart. You have the most tremendous grace and spirit. Continue to be strong, as you've proven you are.

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    1. Thanks, Anonymous. You have no choice but to walk the path you've been given, though.

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  39. Dear Sharon,
    Hello. My name is Emelie Koshland. I am a bay area native born and raised in the Santa Cruz mountains. I am 38 years old now. I am not totally sure how close in age we were when Michaela when missing, but I remember that day. We were close enough for it to have made me think at the time, it could have been me. I have thought about it and at the time it happened, related with Michaela. My mind has never forgotten about Michaela's abduction or your pain. It is the worst thing i think one could have happen in this life, to have anyone, but even more so a child disappear. I could not even come close to understanding your strength and how you seem to keep going on. You and your family are heros in my eyes. You deserve not only to know what happened to Michaela, but where she is and to be able to bring her home. How i do want her to be alive, but if she is not, i so wish you and your family some final closure. You deserve to have your daughter in any state, with you. She is yours. Not some sick psychopath or some government arm! It is so messed up that after dealing with the ultimate nightmare, law enforcement doesn't make it as easy for you to be able to bring your loved ones home. It is just adding insult to injury. Anyway, i just wanted you to know, that another girl (me) who was not abducted, has been wishing for your pain to end and you to have closure since the 1980's. You are an amazing mother and she knew that while you had her. She is looking down at you and your family with pride in your strength and resolve. You could teach the world a thing or two about dignity and strength. Thank you for continuing to search for her. It sits unsettled in those of us that did not know her too. I really hope that you find the answers that are the truth, no matter how awful that truth may be. No closure is worse than the truth. You are amazing and i look up to the way you have conducted yourself over the last twenty something years. Michaela would be proud... so proud.

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    1. Thanks, and you are right. Whatever is the truth, I need to know it. Wishing and not knowing doesn't change a thing.

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  40. My thoughts and prayers are also with you. If this blog is bringing tears to my eyes, I can not even fathom how this news is affecting you. Kudos to Joan for pushing the investigators -another tough mother's heart at work.
    It has been a blessing to read your blogs over the past few years. I can not believe how many people from across the world you and Michaela have touched - there have been so many comments on the past few blogs, even when not about the investigation.
    I still keep up the hope that this is not Michaela, but if for some reason it is, our hearts are with you. So if you receive the unbearable news, and your heart feels like it is going to die, remember our hearts our with you and stay strong!

    Diana

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    1. Yes, many many kudos to Joan Shelley. Now there is a strong woman.

      Thanks.

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  41. Oh my god. Sharon, I am so sorry. I know this isn't confirmed yet, but I truly hope it isn't michalea and she is still out there in the world waiting to be found. And if the bones are michaleas, and who did this is reading, this is for them:
    I can't believe what you did. Who the hell do you think you are, kidnapping innocent children to murder them and cause all this pain? Well you're a stupid bastard and if you think what you did has anything positive about it, it's NOT. And I hope you get the death penalty and rot in hell and feel great remorse for what you did. Michaela was in innocent 9 year old girl. What you did was unbelievable. I hope you realize that.

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    1. The person who is accused of doing this committed suicide earlier this year. He was a serial killer who committed many absolutely senseless murders. Now perhaps he has had to face a trial not by his peers, but by his victims.

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    2. Oh, yeah, I remember that. I hope he did feel remorse, and I'm personally glad he isn't here anymore. His victims are in a better place tho

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  42. I understand that as of now, you don't know whether or not she is dead or alive. But if she is dead, and if her body was in that godforsaken place for over 20-years, at least her spirit wouldn't have been. If she were in heaven, just imagine that all of these years, she wasn't suffering, but was doing the opposite. Imagine what heaven must be like for her. Imagine your relatives you loved who died before she was born, and imagine that she gets to meet them.

    That experience you had when you saw Michaela's face on the TV smiling at you while you gave birth to a new child. Maybe that is her way of being there as her new sibling is being born. Maybe that is her way of letting you know that she is happy to have a new sibling and she welcomes her. Maybe it's a little of both.

    I'm sorry I'm being anonymous. I just don't want to give out my full name. But I will say that my first name is Josh.

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    1. I feel as though Michaela has given me a number of clues and little messages all along. Of course, I also feel a little dense because I am unable to interpret their exact meaning. I won't stop trying to understand, though.

      Thanks Josh.

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  43. This is yet another extremely difficult time for you and your family and I hope that the DNA testing is completed quickly and conclusively. My prayers are with all of you.

    Love,
    Radhika

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  44. May GOD be with you & continue to give you energy to live on.. My prayers go out to you & your family..

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  45. Best wishes to you and your family during this difficult time.

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  46. having spent YEARS praying for Michaela & your family as well as following your blog, i will continue to pray during this difficult & tense time. i cannot imagine the mixture of emotions you are feeling, and hope you get definitive news one way or another very soon, that it isn't dragged out any further.

    i've got to say, though, it is CRAZY that so many bones were given over & just assumed to be one person, and that the 28 or so bones/fragments were from at least 3 different people! if it is Michaela, you never would've known had the family not taken it into their own hands. that just blows my mind, and something MUST be done.

    just a few weeks ago, i asked you in a comment if you thought these monsters were connected to Michaela, and you said probably no because the guy said he didn't know anything about the Hayward girl... i can't imagine how it felt when you were brought in and told all of this.

    praying for you & your family... keep us posted!

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    1. I just felt very sad.

      Thanks, Michelle.

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  47. Sharon, my heart is with you in yet another chapter of your horror story. I can only hope if this is your sweet Michaela that you are somehow able to bring her home in some fashion. I praise the family who shared their grief enough to allow for you to have a chance at closure. They truly understand your pain. You have a million burning candles of support out here hoping for some relief from the pain and anguish that has been a big part of your life since 1988. Also hope the publication of the facts also assist in getting justice for the crimes perpetrated on these young victims and against the continued crime being perpetrated by Sheriff in San Joaquin County..obviously he has no children of his own. FIGHT ON Sharon, you have an army at your side. Peggy Cash - a neighbor of Bernie & Madge.

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  48. I have such a soft spot in my heart for Michaela, and this is so devastating. It takes a lot to get me emotional, but reading this was so hard. I cant imagine what your going through, but I truly hope you get the answers you need quickly.

    I am so angry at the sheriff and the way he has handled this. I truly hope the Attorney general of California looks into this, and makes it easier for the rest of the victims to be found.

    My prayers will be centered around you and your family.

    I am truly sorry you have to go through this.

    ~ Rod

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  49. just so you know, as i've said before, i was the victim of a combination non-custodial parent/stranger abduction in 2000 at the age of 13, spending a month in another country. i KNOW the feeling that you will never see home again, that you'll never see your Mom again and that she will grieve losing you forever. although i never knew Michaela, i've spoken to others who have also survived, and all of us would agree: in those moments, a child who has been adored by their mother & loved unconditionally KNOWS it. and that was the only comfort i had in the moments i still have nightmares about. i knew only 3 things for sure: it would take an act of God for me to survive & get home; if i died, Jesus would take me Home to Heaven and i would never be hurt again; and that if i lived but never left the country i was taken to, that my Mommy would NEVER give up because she loves me that much and as long as she was alive, there would be hope, because she could never give up on me. knowing that no matter what i would be with someone who loved me eventually helped me survive mentally. the one night i was so sure was the end, i was 13 and messed my pants i was so scared. but in my heart, i knew. and i knew that no matter how damaged i was, my Mama would love me just the same. Michaela knew those things. there's a thought process you go through during that experience that can't be explained, that is only understood by those who have lived it. she knew you love her so much. and even if it turns out those were her last moments, it's the best comfort you can have.

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    1. Wow. You are a serious survivor! You have divine spirit which for me is saying a whole lot because i am not a religious person. People like you think maybe there is something beyond this place for the soul to survive and be so gracious afterwards. That NEVER should have happened to you or Michaela or any other person for that matter. I really bet that your words really help the families of victims. You survived to be the voice of many. To take such a horrible happening and give back to those that you KNOW how feel is incredible. Today on this page there are a lot of heros here. You for SURE are one. I am humbled. Know how much respect total strangers (like me) have for you and feel for both the victims and the loved ones of those victims. I feel very small today and very fortunate. THANK YOU!

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    2. Thank you, Anonymous. One of the things that has always haunted me is the vision of Michaela waiting for help that didn't come. But I know she knew we were trying.

      Glad your story had a happy ending.

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  50. Thank you everybody so much. There have been so many really touching comments, and I can't tell you how much they help. I wish I could answer them all individually, but it's been an exhausting few days. Just know that I have read each and every one, and they have touched my heart.

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  51. Sending hugs to you all. I can't imagine losing either of my children. My heart goes out to you.

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  52. I'm sure someone will call me naive, but I've been following your blog for a while, and I've been hoping so much for that happy ending. Every time I would check this page, I would hope to hear another Jaycee story where the girl lost all those years is found and brought home. I know it hasn't been 100% proven that the bone belongs to Michaela, but knowing that there's even the possibility is crushing to me. I know it's more crushing to you, but after all the praying and hoping I did, this news just plain sucks.

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    1. Ceara, your words really touched me ... so much so that I wrote a whole blog about them. I know people have called me naive for striving for a happy ending as well. But please don't be crushed, either way. If Michaela is not alive, that does not mean she can never come home. It does not mean there cannot be a happy ending. It will just have to be a different kind of happy ending, in a different time and place. Keep holding onto love and hope.

      Thanks so much for standing with me. It means a lot.

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  53. Hi Sharon, you, Michaela, and your family are in your readers' hearts and minds. Really, through Michaela, so many people have been touched. This is so amazing. Her light and spirit shine on, and will continue to shine on, no matter the end outcome. I think I speak for many when I say that in having followed your blog for so long now, I feel like you & Michaela are a part of me in some way. I've always, 100% hoped for the outcome of Michaela being found alive. You, Michaela, & your entire family are in my thoughts.

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    1. That's exactly true Racquel. Thank you.

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  54. Are you still going to write to Michaela if those remains are hers? Also I think those involved with the heartless dig up should have to front the bill for any funeral cost? If they don't I'm sure all of us would love to help out.

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    1. I will never stop writing, Anonymous.

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  55. Unreal how they would spend thousands of dollars to preserve the bones of dinosaurs but have little or no regard to help preserve the bones of human beings who were loved and missed by their families. isn't that considered the desecration Of Burial Sites.

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    1. Yes, maybe we should have had an archeological team out digging the bones instead of a sheriff.

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  56. Sharon I wish there was some magic words I could say to help you with this. I wish you strength and sen prayers. I'm with Libby, I've spent my whole life with Michaela missing. I had just turned 7. I remember it so vividly. I was afraid. I grew up in pleasanton and I remember Ilene and Amber because that was my name. These 3 girls were taken from their moms and I just hoped that wherever they were, whoever had them was being nice to them. I think it must have been 8 or 9 years ago when I started searching again and trying to find out what really happened. I don't really know why, I just hoped maybe I could help somehow. I feel like I know you since this journey has begun for me. I share your pain and grief, and now, as a mother, I just can't even imagine how you stay so strong and such an inspiration. No matter the outcome, I will be here sending my prayers and all the strength in the world.

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  57. I'm so sorry that it has come to this. My thoughts and prayers are with you and those families in your situation.

    I am wondering, will they re-test the collection of bone fragments in light of this mistake? It would seem to be they would need to if the possibility that other victims are present and overlooked. Is this a course of action they have talked about taking? So unsettling.

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    1. I don't know if they have tested all the bone fragments. I am no expert on it, but my impression is that they have to try to match it against missing people. I also understand that they have generally not been getting identification through standard DNA testing but have had to do mitochondrial DNA testing. Perhaps they could extract the mitochondrial DNA from each of the bones, and run a computer check against the mitochondrial DNA of all the missing being considered? This DNA is passed from mother to child, and they obtain it by swabbing the mother's cheek, so as long as there is a living biological mother they should be able to check it.

      I have a feel this is hugely expensive, and just one more reason why I do not know why San Joaquin County would want to hang onto this responsibility. I am well aware of budgetary constrictions on local law enforcement.

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    2. Goodness, I hope someone higher up can cover the tracks they missed. I, in no way, want others to have been victims, but if they were, their families deserve closure.

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  58. I wonder the same thing,Kim. There could be many other victims mixed in with the orher victims found. The way they searched for these victims is appalling. And I hope the Sheriff's feet are held to the fire for it.

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  59. SHEILA JACKSON SMITHOctober 13, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    I OFTEN THINK OF MICHAELA✞ AND YOU SHARON.I PRAY FOR PEACE TO COME TO YOU BOTH. SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY SHERIFFS SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES! GOD BLESS YOU MICHAELA✞ AND YOUR FAMILY. ~~HAYWARD FRIEND,SHEILA <3

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  60. Hi Sharon,
    I was living in Pleasanton, CA when Michaela was kidnapped. I was 4 and I remember watching the news with my parents... We kept her "missing flier" on our cork board for years and years. We have long since left CA, but I'm pretty sure it's still on that board in my parent's house. I have been praying for Michaela to return home for as long as I can remember. Praying for you to find answers and if it is her, then to find peace.

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  61. Michaela's Mom,
    I once encountered the San Joaquin Sheriff Department, and the F.B.I., with critical information about a death. Their responses were less than worthy of their positions as public servants. Their callousness throughout this has been reprehensible, and I can only hope there is some reason, possibly due to maintaining the integrity of the case, for the manor in which they have handled themselves.
    The fate of Shermantine and Herzogs victims, along with their victims familes, has haunted me for years. I have prayed for your family and Michaela, not knowing who you were. Prayed for your search to come to an end, and for you to know what happened to her, if indeed the bone is
    hers. As you said, there are not many children missing from that time. I pray now for the strenght you will need, because I know from
    experience, even knowing what is coming can be more difficult than we anticipate. God Bless you Michaela's Mom

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