The Kidnapper

This composite was done by a police forensic artist, with the assistance
of the eyewitness, the day after Michaela was kidnapped.
There is a color composite which was done for Michaela's case by a private citizen,
but the eyewitness was not consulted for this,
and she doesn't feel it to be completely accurate
On November 18, 1988, Michaela's kidnapper was described as a man in his 20's, with long, dirty-blonde hair.
 His most outstanding characteristic was severe acne, like boils. He was driving an older,  tannish-gold, full-size sedan, boxy in shape, with body damage.  We do not know the make or model.  The description is very vague, but put together with the composite drawing of the kidnapper, perhaps it will mean something. The eyewitness noted his eyes.  "He had fox eyes," she said. "He looked right at me, but he didn't even see me." Remember, it is twenty years later.  He would not have the same appearance today.
I know of a number of people who have been investigated as potential suspects on Michaela's kidnapping over the years.  There has been a great deal of speculation about some of these in the media, in books, and on websites. The information I know has not convinced me of the likely guilt of any of these suspects.
The case is yet to be solved.
If you have any information, please call Inspector Robert Lampkinat the Hayward Police Department(510) 293-7079Robert.Lampkin@hayward-ca.gov

62 comments:

  1. I still think the police should look into Joseph Duncan. He would have been the right age and looks very much like the composite. He also has a long history of crimes against children.

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    1. Joseph Duncan was in prison(1980-1994) at the time of this kidnapping..he was paroled in 1994. It was a logical thought though. Hopefully they will keep searching until answers are found.

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  2. Sharon, did the FBI ever release a psychological profile of the kidnapper? I have seen this done in some cases and just curious if one was ever done for Michaela's case. Thank you.



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    1. I think they do this internally, as part of the investigation, but don't release it publicly. I don't honestly see how they could accurately assess his psychology, though, given the fact that they don't really and truly know his motive. It could have been a personal motive, or it could have been financial. And there have been a number of people who have done this in the past. Do they all have the same psychological profiles? I'm not an expert here by any means, but I just don't see how they could do this with any great accuracy.

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    2. Sharon, can the witness re-do a composite, with the help of a very good one? I read on the news that the police artist who helped in the Polly Klaas case was spot on. Please try that person (can't remember who it was, but Mark Klaas could help). It's so worth a try.

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    3. The forensic artist who did our composite was very good. He could well have been the same one who did the one in Polly's case, since at that time he did most of the composites in this area. But the eyewitness was eight and it's been almost 24 years, and she's seen a hundred photos since then.

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    4. Have you ever looked into Loren Herzog? His partner in crime apparently said that the kidnapping was done by Herzog, and he looks similar to the composite. He has since committed suicide, but isn't his partner still alive. Has he been questioned further about your daughter?

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  3. The composite in Michaela's kidnapping reminds me of the composite of a poi for missing 20 yo Angela Gray Hamby, from Wilkesboro, NC, missing since October 29, 1982. Scroll to bottom of link to see composite. They mentioned fox-like eyes. I saw that same look in this composite.

    You'll probably have to copy and paste the links to get them to work. Sorry.

    Opposite sides of country, I realize, but that may mean little. Kind of a straight shot. Perhaps an occupation that requires travel.

    Perhaps the witness from Michaela's case could take a look at the composite from Angela's case and see how it measures up for them.

    If they see any similarities, perhaps looking for additional crimes along that route between the two locations that might seem to fit could help as well if this were a career criminal.

    A potential similarity to victims could be blondes, although that would be highly speculative.

    Potential map: http://goo.gl/maps/tuHoL

    Potential poi composite http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/h/hamby_angela.html

    Also, in the Morgan Nick disappearance from 6/9/1995, the composite has a very similar look through the eyes.

    The biggest difference between all of the composites would seem to be in the nose area of each composite.

    http://www.morgannickfoundation.com/about/morgans-story/composite-sketch/

    Morgan was blonde, age 6, missing from Alma, Arkansas, which is an area you would travel through when going coast to coast as shown in the map above, however the dates do not suggest the girls or woman went missing in order of geography.

    There may be more cases with a similar description of a perp along this route covering a decade or two that I am unaware of as well.

    There used to be another suspect composite in Morgan's case as well, but it has since been removed as it was believed the current posted composite was likely a closer resemblance to the eye witnesses description. You may wish to inquire about that if you feel it could be of any further assistance for any reason.

    The suspect in Morgan's case was described as having black or salt and pepper hair, and could mean: It's not the same guy, OR he's aged and his hair color has changed, OR witnesses got it wrong, OR he changed his hair color.

    Other parts about his hairstyle such as wavy, combed back, part, etc... appear similar.

    Vehicle descriptions were different in each case, or there was none which could be easily explained.

    The years separating the crimes mentioned here are about 13 years, with the salt and pepper description being the most recent of the 3 cases. Hair color and vehicles could change in 13 years.

    It is possible none of them are the same, or 2 out of 3 are. I really don't know, but thought it was worth considering.

    Since Angela doesn't really seem to fit in if the perp were a pedophile, maybe the oldest victim (the first of these 3 crimes) was just to get a bankroll to begin his road trip with, if it were the same guy in any of the cases as motive in the first case is not completely known but Angela, her car keys, and a bank deposit she had gone to make were all missing when her car full of fuel was located with her pocketbook and drivers license inside in the same town in which she went missing. Or perhaps this perp doesn't have an age preference or learned that little girls made better victims.

    Perhaps more cases will be uncovered and fill in more of a timeline if there is any relationship between any of them.

    Perhaps he spent some time incarcerated if one person were responsible for more than one of these crimes.

    This may be something you have already looked into and it might not have been any help, but it's always better to check and be sure, so just checking.

    Sorry if I repeated myself. Couldn't see much text at once. Best wishes.

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  4. To Josh, if you want to e-mail me privately I will answer your question. I appreciate your time and concern, but I don't want to go into it on my blog. Thanks.

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  5. I was 8 turning 9 when I heard about Michaela's kidnapping and her case has always been on my mind since then, and I've been following this blog for the last couple of years. To this day, I am still taunted by the face on this sketch. I'm in my 30s now, but at 8 years old, this face really struck me and I had always tried to remember it in case I saw him.

    You have my prayers Ms Murch, and will always have hope you find your daughter.

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  6. Sharon:
    My heart cries reading your posts. I was 8 and lived in Hayward near rainbow market. I remember the EXACT day I heard this unbearably sad and tragic news. My mother and father pulled my older sister and I into the living room and made us watch this. She made us stare at the composite for a few minutes, asking us over and over if we knew or saw the man, if we new Michaela. She told us never to forget that face of the evil man because we walked to school alone and several times went to the store alone. Because of this case, my parents never let us go alone again. That's when it really stuck that there are bad people out there. I'm so sorry for your loss. Michaela has been a part of our lives even though we never knew her personally. In a strange way she may have helped saved several little boys and girls because we all heard her story. I hope some day very soon, she is found, safe and alive. I pray she comes home to you, I pray you find peace, I just plain pray.

    With love and sadness,
    Charlene

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  7. Dear sharon,

    i am still young, yet i understand the feelings of love you have for you child. Dont stop searching, please, you have to find her

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  8. I pray for you and your beautiful daughter to be reunited.

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  9. Have you ever looked at the website for Johnny Gosch? He was a boy who went missing in 1982 I believe. Anyway there was a sketch of a man believed to have a connection to his disappearance and he looks identical to this sketch. Down to the pock marked skin! I pray you find your daughter, as a parent myself, I could not imagine the pain you feel. I will keep you and your family in my prayers

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    1. The reason it looks like our kidnapper is because they are using a composite created for our case. You will find it on the color flyers distributed for Michaela back in 1989. That doesn't, however, mean that there is any actual connection between the cases. It has been looked into and I don't believe there is.

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    2. Did you ever look into a private investigator to assist in the investigation?? Sharon, I do hope for the best in the finding of your daughter, it is unfortunate so much evil exist in a great country that we live in.

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  10. This has bothered me for a long time,if someone steals a child with the intent of Keeping them say for sex..the child isn't going to look like their "age enhanced" photos. I think those photos make the child look too clean.?! They are going to be depressed and dirty looking.
    Is there anyway that NCMEC can make her "age enhanced photo" look more like unkempt? As the news poured out about the Cleveland girls ,I bet when they were chained up, Castro didn't allow them showers very much.Do you see what I mean?

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    1. I don't think the age progressions are at all accurate. I don't think they get the features right. You can always imagine some dirt, but I will always be against the use of age progressions, because they are inaccurate and misleading, and they waste investigator's time with calls from people who saw someone who looks like the age progression, which has nothing to do with the case.

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    2. Incidentally, from what I have heard, at least one of the girls from Cleveland will have to undergo facial reconstruction surgery. So there is another point ... one which is really painful to think about.

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  11. I am really sorry for what you have gone through. I hope Michaela is reunited with her family one day.

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  12. Michaela where ARE you??? You'll be free wherever you are baby! I remember you in grade school, Come back to us.

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  13. Today I read a post on a social media site, bringing attention to Michaela's abduction.
    It raised my curiosity, and horrified me at the same time.
    I am so sorry for the excruciating journey you've had to navigate.
    I've posted info about this case, hoping that somebody, somewhere, knows something.
    My blog has a reach of about 250k a week.
    Is there anything else i can do?
    Is there anything specific that you would like me to post?
    Is there a poster or something you feel would benefit you and your family better?
    You can email me privately at feedback.ijablt@gmail.com

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    1. I'm going to have to make a new flyer, because the one I had is on my old computer. But basically it was just a remembrance of Michaela rather than informational. After 25 years, we aren't really posting photos and descriptions to try to get an answer. We did that for years and received thousands of leads that the investigators are still dealing with. What we try to do is to reach out far and wide hoping that we will reach the right person. That person is Michaela, actually, although reaching someone who actually knows something and would be likely to tell is a good second option. In recent years I have received several leads from confirmed international sources indicating Michaela is alive but not in this country. I think it is likely that they came across her story in recent years when it has been distributed more widely and internationally. So I'd like to try to reach more of them. Generally I ask for links to my blog, or even her facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MichaelaJoyGarecht, or website at www.missingmichaela.com, so that people can get as much information as possible. I also give them information as to how to contact me, which would be to email me at either missingmichaela@gmail.com, or sharon.murch@gmail.com.

      Thanks much. Also, how do you manage to get 250k a week to your blog? What is your blog? Maybe I can be 250k+1.

      Thanks, Sharon

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  14. This horrible crime, along with all the others at that time, too many babies taken, made me a diligent mother. my daughter's never left my sight. I still remember that day, and I still think about your girl, I'm sorry.

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  15. Sharon, I pray all this will come to an end and you could be again with your daughter, and that today she is okay...and not hurt. This is so painful to think of, but I know the God I serve and I pray for you and specially for Michaela! Keep the Faith ( Hebrews 11:1 )and trust God...believe in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) because EVERYTHING is POSSIBLE for God that can turn around all things for good (Romans 8:28) Love you In Christ!

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  16. Sharon, I am so sorry for what happen and for what you are going threw, but I have a question have you tried contacting/using a psychic? They said NOREEN RENIER,  Psychic Detective that have work with police, FBI, Dectectives has solved alot of cases. I say you should contact her she could help you.

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  17. Its crazy to me that someone can just up and disappear into thin air? She has to be somewhere. I pray for you and your family.

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  18. I was taken by a guy In the air force a neighbors boyfriend and he returned me to my house he's friend lived that way a few bad mans did stuff in hayward always afraid they get even his name is Tom Smith his friend is Tom Hood I was 14yrs old

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  19. The sketch reminds me of a man I used to know. His name was Greg Hubbard. He lived in Victorville, CA in the 80's. But I'm not sure if he was in prison when Michaela was kidnapped.

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  20. I'm so sorry that you still haven't found Michaela, If you need any thing I am in the spot for your comfort. I ran away once but only for stupid reasons though you may not even care to know that I still want you to know that every moment I was alone walking on the highway trying to hitchhike off of strangers I thought to my self "what if I were to get kidnapped, or what if the person I get a ride from hurts me really bad" I was gone for about 2 and a half days before I actually found my way home I hope you get to get your little girl back soon if you want you can call me I will email you my phone number just to give you comfort.
    My best wishes for Michaela,
    Juanita Ramirez(15)

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  21. hey me again just wanted to say that if you are still looking for michalea you might want to check in other countries like mexico canada or maybe france just to help out more i will be praying for you and your family to find you daughter.
    my best wishes,
    Juanita Ramirez

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  22. Sharon I had called the Hayward PD several times after Michaela's abduction. I used to take my mother in law to that market as well as it's sister store in Hayward at the time. After the abduction I had taken my mother in law to the market in Hayward on Harder rd. As I sat and waited in the car for my mother in law I had noticed the car that was parked next to ours had matched the exact description of the vehicle Michaela was abducted in which was also leaning and had damage to the body of it. I had told my husband as he told me to call and report it immediately. I have called several times and had never received a call back from the Hayward PD. I had always wondered if it was an employee (ex -employee) from that store. I till this day am willing to speak to the police dept with any questions they may have.

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    1. Did you get the license plate number? Did you leave that information with the police? In the early days they received so many calls it was really impossible to call everybody back, unfortunately. You do know, though, that it did not happen at the Rainbow Market on Harder? It happened at the Rainbow Market on Mission, across from Chapel of the Chimes. It was a totally different store, not part of the other chain. It's now called Mexico Super.

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  23. I took a brief nap. I HAD A DREAM that gave me the strong impression the answer to Michaela's location is on the way!
    I dreamt part of it last night and the rest a short time ago.
    The dream began with a symbolic man with a white colored shirt running on the side of long rural road. On his sleeve was a cloth badge that had the three letters “F.B.I.” imprinted.. In his hand was a large envelop that had “Michaela Joy Garecht” written on it in large bold caps.
    Time passed...... and although I could no longer see the man running I heard his paced running steps on the long gravel road.....More time passed....
    Then a new scene appeared. A podium was being set up with microphones and t.v. crew camera's being prepared. Behind the podium was the huge beautiful picture, from your FB photo album, of Michaela.
    A large group of official looking people were gathering behind the podium. On the far left I noticed the running man with the badge dressed in official uniform ...to the right a quick view of you surrounded by special people you love and officials.In the brief viewed second I could not tell what you were thinking ...and then I woke up.
    MUCH uplifts continue.

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  24. sharon I am Brazilian and not speak English very well excuse me if I say something wrong I'm using google translator, most believe michaela has been trafficked over the same time not because his kidnapper has an appearance of being a homeless one person without much money and must have caught michaela to satisfy their own sexual desires, the more times it comes in my head he was wearing some makeup to make false acne, oily hair finally that nasty look ... it has passed through your head ?

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  25. Just about everything has passed through my head. They don't discount any strong suspects for such reasons.

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  26. Sharon
    about Loren Herzog shalt already been confirmed que she did not kidnap Michaela, is Practically identical sketch of kidnapper michaela

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    1. As one of our detectives once said, the only way we completely rule out a suspect is if they were dead or in jail on November 19, 1988. It will probably be impossible to either confirm or deny Herzog's involvement. However, you would be surprised how many people look like the composite....

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  27. which site is the suspect photos that look like the kidnapper?

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    1. If you are asking if the police or anyone else posts photographs of the suspects, the answer is that they don't. MOST of the investigation involves things never mentioned in the media.

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  28. I hope you find your daughter. My prayers are with you. Never lose hope!

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  29. I remember when she was taken. It was right near where I lived in Hayward at the time. I still don't believe she is dead and hope she is still in the states and escapes like those other young ladies have. All the times I've seen things on TV about crimes up and down the I-5 corridor I have never understood why they didn't feature her story. I believe it was mentioned briefly once but never the focus of a program. Maybe now would be a good time for it- she or someone else would see it and recognize her because of the age progression photo.

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    1. Not sure what show you are referring to, but Michaela has had more media coverage than most missing kids, even after being missing for so long, because the case is still active and it keeps coming up. As for the age progression, I seriously doubt it looks anything like her. Most of them don't, and hers does not ring any bells with me. I think they are more of a negative distraction from the truth than anything else, which is why I try to discourage people from using them. Honestly if Michaela is still alive God is going to have to send her an angel to tap her on the shoulder and say, hey, your mom is still looking for you....

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  30. Ms Murch

    Was the kidnapper a white man ? The witness description says he is blonde haired , foxy eyes and pock marks . Have they checked the DMV records of all men in california of people driving a boxy sedan which from the witness description looks like a chevrolet caprice or ford mercury cougar or an impala . Such boxy sedans are rare actually , we can even narrow down the driving records to people looking like this man with emphasis on bad skin ,for 1988 and you automatically have a list of leads . Every person who has ever owned a tannish gold boxy sedan within a 100 mile radius cannot be discounted as the suspect could be a relative or stolen the car

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    1. What you are suggesting is an impossibly broad task. But aside from that, we don't need to search for leads. One of the problems with the case from the beginning was that there were so many leads it was difficult to run each one down to the very end. We have too much information, which has probably allowed the kidnapper to hide in the files for a good long time.

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  31. How about the guy that kidnapped that girl for like 18 yrs and she was finally found. Was he ever a suspect?

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    1. He was totally, thoroughly, completely investigated. His properties were torn apart and torn down, searched by dogs and police, he and his wife were both interviewed and investigated at length and polygraphed, and Jaycee was interviewed as well.

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  32. dear ms Murch

    I have been a follower of this blog and have recently also seen the case where Daniel heinrich has been names a person of interest in jacob wetterling,s case. My question is why has the police not come forward with Person of interests so far in Michaela,s case ? I firmly pray for closure in this case and do believe that there is some chance michaela like jaycee may be alive

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  33. Dear Sharon

    I read this article recently once again :

    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/A-Mother-Waits-It-s-been-10-years-since-2977789.php

    I feel humbled by what you said about this wicked man , you referred that this evil man who deserves no empathy or no FORGIVENESS ,believe me god will not forgive such an evil man for life who has given you so much pain and did not even own up to his crime ...... you called this man a boy who was not cared for ....I am lost for words , could you elaborate what you meant here ?may god bless michaela as an angel in his lap and may this evil evil man rot for hell in eternity ...I pray this in the name of my god and hope and pray you find this perpetrator

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  34. Michaela is right under your noses. CSCDPTKSSKQ779

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  35. Anonymous,
    Are you the one has posted cruel messages? And what's with the cryptic "she's right under your noses" post? If this is your idea of a joke, to torment someone who is living out every parents worst fear? If so, stop. Find a hobby, take your meds, whatever. Just stop! One the other hand, if you know something, COME FORWARD! Are you afraid? If you need support , I'll find you support. I'll meet you at the police station, walk in with you, and walk out with you. I'll find you a minister, a therapist, a victims rights advocate, an AA sponsor, anyone that can be of help to you in coming forward.

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    1. Sharon...I don't know how you deal with it. All the armchair sleuths...the cryptic nonsense...the time wasters. I wish you a sense of peace - and I wish your daughter home.

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  36. I am retired now, but I was an on duty law enforcement Officer working the day she was taken. I rushed down Mission Blvd to try to assist in the BOLO. For years I took note of any similar vehicles or persons that might possibly match the descriptions of the suspect, and did what I could on my own to check them out. I know of several Alameda County Sheriff Deputies that did the same, and several HPD Officers too. I don't know about all the others. But this is one case that I will remember forever. I can still hear the police radio traffic in my mind. This is of very little or no consolation to Michaela's family, but she is not forgotten by this now retired law enforcement Officer. You are in my prayers. I still hope she is found.

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  37. East area rapist original night stalker aka golden state killer fits physical description and went away about this time?

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  38. Sharon, I watched your daughter's case on Amazon Prime, they added it in the Unsolved Mysteries package. I am truly sorry you are going through this. I said a prayer for you. I know that doesn't even come close to helping, I'm sure you've heard it all. I've lost several people in my life the past 4 years. It breaks my heart to think I would have lost them as you lost your daughter. The not knowing is the biggest thing I don't know I could deal with it. You are a very strong woman. God bless you so much. I can't have children due to medical reasons, so my heart was captured by this story. I pray some day you learn what happened to your daughter.

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