Deceased/Not Found CA - Michaela Garecht, 9, Hayward, 19 Nov 1988 *ARREST*

photographer4

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I'm wondering - if police still have the scooter, has it ever been tested for DNA? If they were ever able to recover any DNA from the scooter, have they considered using familial DNA databases (eg: Ancestry.com) to look for a familial match like they've done in other unsolved cases recently?
 

Murkywaters

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Search for Michaela Garecht continues 30 years after Hayward kidnapping

HAYWARD, Calif. (KTVU) - A somber remembrance was held Sunday night for Michaela Garecht, who vanished three decades ago. Garecht, who was nine years old at the time, was kidnapped from a supermarket parking lot in 1988.

More than 50 people gathered at New Hope Christian Church, not far from where Garecht was abducted. Among those in attendance included family, friends, searchers and a childhood friend who was the sole witness to her kidnapping.

Katrina Hogue who traveled from Texas sang a song for her friend. Hogue last saw Garecht before she was abducted by a stranger. “I watched the car back out,” said Hogue. “I watched him start to drive Mission Boulevard. That's when I ran inside.”

Hayward police say this case has never gone cold and they are still following up on leads. If you know anything about Michaela or her kidnapper, you can contact investigators at 1-800-222-3999 or email [email protected]
 

Lavender Moon

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What a woman Michaela's mother is; strong, brave and wise.

Let us pray for Michaela every day or night---whenever we say our prayers.
If she's alive, perhaps she'll come back
as others have.

Thank you for sharing this, Lilladyj
 

JerseyGirl

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Michaela Garecht was 9 years old when she was abducted outside a Hayward market on Nov. 19, 1988, by a man who drove off in a gold car. Despite many leads — including a sketch of the suspect — the case has never been solved.

Missing children: Nine infamous cases of Bay Area children who vanished

940x940.jpg
 

jaejae

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I know cases like this are difficult because they are disappearances. I want to share a site which I think is run by Michaela's Mum where I think she still holds out hope for her being found alive (the moderators can take this post down if they deem fit). As I say things like this act as a reminder the horrific nature of these crimes us amateurs sometimes look at as a hobby and there by the Grace Of God we are not in the same position:

Dear Michaela
 

eyeseestars

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A friend told me about this case yesterday and being Saturday, I decided to do some digging on Namus/Doe Network. One thing led to another and I ended up at a news article about the 1993 case of Holly Piirainen. Included was a photo of a suspect in the case. Doing this math, this guy would have been 22 when Michaela disappeared. Other articles state that he had (he supposedly committed suicide in prison) a record dating back to 1980 and was a government informant.

Here's one of the only news articles (or any information really) I could find on this guy.
Jailed rapist apparently attempts suicide. I was unable to find out whether he had lived at CA at any point. Edit: Another article I found Profiler weighs in on suspect

Other notable things I found in my quick search included 1) the 1982 unsolved abduction of 8-year-old Tricia J. Kellett in Chicago in 1982. She was similarly abducted in the presence of friends who described the vehicle as being a blue 1979 four-door beat up sedan. They said there were two men involved in her kidnapping. One was later identified as being Marvin Pontarelli. The police stated that they thought Kellet was kidnapped for child prostitution purposes. Pontarelli was subsequently jailed for crimes in Arizona (where he moved after Tricia's disappearance and changed his name) and died in prison in 1994.
What did Police Hide in Missing Girl Report: Case Reopened 30 Years after Abduction | Chicago News

2) The 1982 Iowa abduction of Johnny Gosch. Car was described as a blue four-door Ford Fairmont. One of the men's witness sketches looks almost identical to the drawing of the perp in Michaela's case and was noted again and again as having "severe acne." Here's a quote from another site : "The second man involved in the kidnapping of Johnny Gosch, Sept. 5th, 1982. His name is Tony... He followed Johnny down the street shot Johnny with a stun gun and after he dropped to the ground, grabbed Johnny and threw him in the back seat of the kidnap car. The dark areas on his cheeks are "severe pock marks from acne scarring". This has been consistent in the description given by all witness's.

So, to me at least, looks like the same guy was involved in both Michaela's and Johnnys disappearances and he could possibly have been the unidentified suspect involved with Tricia as well. What do you guys think?
 

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Lavender Moon

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There is quite a resemblance IMO . I'm impressed by your research, eyeseestars.
Some time ago, another poster wrote a little bit about the possible Johnny Gosch-Tony connection. I believe the poster was Dr. Doogie
 

Murkywaters

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That actually looks quite promising. Send an email to to the Hayward Police tipline.

This guy has pockmarked skin, and his eyes appear to very light. Michaela's friend stated the abductor had fox eyes, she stated "He looked right at me, but he didn't even see me."
 
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jaejae

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That actually looks quite promising. Send an email to to the Hayward Police tipline.

This guy has pockmarked skin, and his eyes appear to very light. Michaela's friend stated the abductor had fox eyes, she stated "He looked right at me, but he didn't even see me."

Does sound promising the pock marked skin and similarity to some of the other composite sketches is why I thought it was also worth having a look at the Golden State Killer as well. Unfortunately because it is a disappearance this might be a case where it is difficult to get conclusive answers.
 

Vern

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A friend told me about this case yesterday and being Saturday, I decided to do some digging on Namus/Doe Network. One thing led to another and I ended up at a news article about the 1993 case of Holly Piirainen. Included was a photo of a suspect in the case. Doing this math, this guy would have been 22 when Michaela disappeared. Other articles state that he had (he supposedly committed suicide in prison) a record dating back to 1980 and was a government informant.

<RSBM>

Other notable things I found in my quick search included 1) the 1982 unsolved abduction of 8-year-old Tricia J. Kellett in Chicago in 1982. She was similarly abducted in the presence of friends who described the vehicle as being a blue 1979 four-door beat up sedan. They said there were two men involved in her kidnapping. One was later identified as being Marvin Pontarelli. The police stated that they thought Kellet was kidnapped for child prostitution purposes. Pontarelli was subsequently jailed for crimes in Arizona (where he moved after Tricia's disappearance and changed his name) and died in prison in 1994.
What did Police Hide in Missing Girl Report: Case Reopened 30 Years after Abduction | Chicago News

<RSBM>

So, to me at least, looks like the same guy was involved in both Michaela's and Johnnys disappearances and he could possibly have been the unidentified suspect involved with Tricia as well. What do you guys think?

I've been able to find some other articles on Marvin Pontarelli whom you mention above in relation to Tricia J. Kellett's 1982 disappearance in Chicago.

He was arrested for kidnap, rape in California in November 1971. Article also notes he was wanted in Washington. Also notes that he was to be extradited out of Washington to Chicago …

San Bernardino Sun 10 November 1971 — California Digital Newspaper Collection
page A1 & A2 - Note that there is a photo of him in the bottom right corner of the archived news article that can be magnified.
Kidnaped Girl Freed; Dad Offers Own Life

PLEASANT HILL (AP) - Fifteen-year-old Debbie DeVore, held captive for two days, was released by her alleged kidnaper yesterday after her father offered to trade his own life for hers, police said. Tleasant Hill Police Chief Ed S. Kreins said the girl's father and police negotiated with the kidnaper for about four hours before the man tossed a .44 caliber revolver down a stairwell and walked out with the girl. Debbie's father, Jack DeVore of Martinez, "was instrumental in helping talk the guy down," said Kreins. He said of times but nothing hysterical . . . and she cried when she was released and saw her parents," he said. Kreins said Marvin J. Pontarelli, 29, wanted on a $10,000 burglary warrant in Seattle, was booked for investigation of kidnap, rape, attempted murder, assault with attempt to commit murder and burglary. He said Pontarelli was born In Illinois, with the name Marvin J. Hatiber but had adopted the name Pontarelli which was on some of his arrest records. The chief would not elaborate on Fontarelli's record. Seattle police said a bench warrant In the Hauber name was issued June.

He was charged in connection with a gas station burglary. Police said he had at least one previous arrest in Seattle and was to have been extradited from Chicago, but fled the area. Pontarelli was taken to the city jail in nearby Concord. Kreins said he would be arraigned in Concord Municipal Court today. After her release, Debbie was taken to a hospital for treatment. Kreins said she had been raped several times and "she had a bruise on the ear when she was hit on the head with the gun." She returned home later. Her mother declined to let newsmen speak with her. But said: "Thank God our daughter is alive."

As well:
Pain lingers for families of missing kids

But a few, like Tricia Kellett, become mysteries. Their families cannot mourn. They cannot heal. They wonder, they hide pictures, they convince themselves of unlikely possibilities. They shove their pain away, then take it out on holidays, on birthdays, on disappearance days.

...

"But it's also, `Oh my God, we are so frustrated, because why hasn't our missing child or son gotten the attention, even appeared on the front page of our local newspaper?'"

`Genuine mysteries'

Before Tionda and Diamond Bradley disappeared, police considered only five children in Chicago as truly missing in the last 21 years. Others have been reported missing, but they are thought to be with noncustodial parents, or they have been found, dead or alive.

At the time they vanished, these five were barely news blips--three got brief mentions in newspaper stories, perhaps two showed up in TV stories that came years after the fact.

On Jan. 8, 1980, Kelly Staples left her South Shore home for school, in a red plaid coat, jeans and rubber boots. She was 6.

On Feb. 27, 1980, Sheila Quinn wandered off from her 9th-floor apartment in the Ickes Homes. She was 4, dressed in a white T-shirt, white underpants, white socks and no shoes.

Tricia Kellett vanished two years later. Some witnesses said she got into a blue car.

On June 25, 1983, Vinyette Teague disappeared from the hallway outside her apartment in the Robert Taylor Homes. She was only 18 months old.

And on June 28, 1989, Valina McGhee, 13, never came back to the South Side home she shared with her mother. Her name and a few sketchy details linger in the Chicago Police Department's files. But her disappearance never made it to the news. She never made it into the state database of missing children, never landed in the log of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children--an oversight that police can't explain.

Back then, the police and the public had just started changing their attitudes toward such cases, in large part due to efforts by John Walsh, whose son was kidnapped from a Florida shopping mall and murdered in 1981. His work launched the national clearinghouse for information on missing children.

Chicago police spokesman Pat Camden said last week that police don't have any leads on what happened to the five missing local children.

"They're genuine mysteries," he said. "They were reported missing. All the investigation was done. ... Nothing led to anything."

May 7, 1982

Tricia Kellett didn't watch TV. She couldn't sit still for 15 minutes to eat a meal. She liked to wear dresses, and she liked to wear clogs, traipsing about so loudly that her family could hear her coming from a block away. She jumped rope. She played cheerleader.
...

This article has many details and also discloses the name of the 2nd individual:
Troubling Clues in Case of Unsolved 1982 Chicago Kidnapping

...
On May 7, 1982, Jill’s half-sister Tricia Kellett was 8 years old, when she went outside after school in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood and never came home. No trace. No clues.
...
Tricia was seen playing with puppies on a neighbor’s porch. Publicly, police released details that she was last seen getting into a car with a man, or maybe two men, near the corner of Leland and Malden.



Now, NBC 5 Investigates has obtained the police reports from the troubling case, and they reveal facts which the family says they never knew: there was a suspect; he talked openly about Tricia, and at one point, even offered that “maybe” he was her killer.

That man was Marvin Pontarelli. The CPD reports indicate investigators first focused on him, after getting a description of the car Tricia got into the day she vanished.

“The auto is registered to Pontarelli, Marvin,” investigators wrote the day after Tricia’s disappearance. “Reporting officer checked this name and learned that this man has an extensive background including kidnapping, sexual assault, and rape.”

...

“Marvin Pontarelli came into Area 6 Youth for questioning and agreed to take a polygraph test,” an officer wrote. “The test was administered with a finding of non-cooperative/guilty.”

On May 10, three days after Tricia vanished, witnesses were brought into the old Area 6 police headquarters to view a line-up.

Wit#7 positively identified Pontarelli as the person he observed with the missing child,” an officer wrote. “Wit#3 positively identified Pontarelli as the person she observed in the company of the missing child. They then left in a car blue color.”

The officer added, “Wit#1 positively identified Pontarelli as the person he observed with the missing child.”

The reports indicate one of those witnesses said he saw Pontarelli entering the Malden Arms with Tricia and another man.

“He said that as Marvin Pontarelli (who he picked out of the lineup) walked past, Marvin threw a cigarette on his dog,” an officer wrote. “He told him not to do that because the dog started to bark at him.”

Tricia’s sister says today, she never knew there was a suspect. “I’m shocked!” she said.

The reports reveal that police looked at numerous individuals in the neighborhood who seem to have had troubling pasts with children. They also show that Pontarelli did face charges the day of that lineup --- not for Tricia’s kidnapping, but other offenses relating to other neighborhood children: contributing to the delinquency of a minor, indecent liberties with a child, child *advertiser censored*, and various weapons charges.

Six months later, without explanation, a separate report says those charges were dismissed. But police weren’t done with Pontarelli. Nearly two years after Tricia’s disappearance, a new lead involving a new name came in, from a new place---Tucson, Arizona.

“As recorded in prior reports, Pontarelli was overheard to want a young blonde white girl to be photographed with Larry Fassler while having sex with him for the purpose of blackmail,” police from Arizona said.

That information is included in a heavily redacted report. But a police source confirmed that Fassler is the name mentioned underneath many of those redactions.

Fassler, who is now deceased, reportedly was a former inmate Pontarelli met during a previous stay in a California prison. And he reportedly was someone who Pontarelli owed a lot of money.

Investigators further stated in the Chicago police report that a search of Fassler’s address book showed an entry for Tricia, with her Chicago address.

“Right under her name, the name of Marvin Pontarelli was listed,” the officers wrote. “The entry in the book was dated October of 1982.”

In July of 1984, the Chicago reports indicate Fassler called Arizona authorities asking to be interviewed. At that time, he indicated that he had written the information into his address book after being interviewed about Tricia by other officers.

“(He) felt that if Pontarelli were a suspect in the case he would be a likely offender due to his history of violent crime and his propensity for young children to satisfy his sexual habits,” the officers wrote in that report.

A year would pass, and Chicago Police were contacted again by their counterparts in Arizona. This time, Phoenix police said they had Pontarelli in custody on an unrelated case.

“Immediately after his arrest, Pontarelli was questioned as to the disappearance,” they wrote. “He began to cry and state, in summary, that he believed she is dead and barried (sic) on some property in Illinois that his family owns.”

“When questioned further he said, in summary, that he believes one Larry Fassler was responsible for the death,” they continued in that document. “Pontarelli then refused to continue with the interview.”

..

“The defendant made detailed notes describing the physical characteristics of young girls and their school bus arrival times,” a Maricopa County police captain reported. “In reference to the missing Kellett girl (he said), ‘Maybe I have a split personality—the one I’m not aware of is the one that killed her.’”

Most troubling of all, was a reference in the Arizona report’s final pages. A Chicago detective was quoted as saying he wanted to know where Pontarelli had buried Tricia, who he said had been kidnapped for prostitution purposes.

“The defendant was the last person seen with the child,” that Chicago detective reported. “Her three friends, ages 11 and 12, picked the defendant out of a lineup and gave statements leading to his indictment.”

“They reported he took them to his apartment, gave them beer and narcotics, copulated with them, forced them to engage in other sexual acts, and photographed them.”

The Chicago officer stated that a search of Pontarelli’s apartment produced 66 pieces of child *advertiser censored* on which the girls and other children appeared, as well as firearms and a wide variety of sexual paraphernalia, knives, brass knuckles, tear gas, cattle prods, and handcuffs.

“The girls failed to appear in court,” he said in the report. “Their families… subsequently acquired expensive, late-model automobiles. There were multiple instances of apparent payoffs and tampering with the system. The case was dismissed.”



Jill says she hopes the Arizona report causes CPD to fully re-open her sister’s case. Maybe they can find that building. And if they do, maybe, just maybe, they’ll find Tricia.
...

Fassler, now deceased, went on to write a book regarding how to deal with Federal Criminal Charges, himself having been to prison for such a conviction. Given that his past really pertains to drug charges, I am inclined to believe his statement to the police regarding the entry of the victims name in his address book … and that he was probably going to use that knowledge of Pontarelli as a "plea down" bit of information if/when suitable to himself.

Author of book on beating federal prosecution charged in drug ring

Given all of that, I really do think that you are onto something with the Pontarelli bit. California, Chicago. Similar ages of young girls disappeared. Mobile and moving through the geographical areas in question.
 

eyeseestars

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I found another article, anyone have a subscription to newspapers.com? Looks like Hatiber/Pontarelli may have made the front page of the Addison Register on January 7, 1965. Also the Bensenville register the same day.
 
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