A timeline establishing publicly known 

movements and events.

MICHAELA GARECHT

TIMELINE

CASE MENU:

Saturday, November 19, 1988

9:50 AM

approximately

9 year old Michaela and her best friend, Katrina Rodriguez, asked Michaela's mother Sharon if they could go to Rainbow Market to get some candy and sodas. [1] [21] [22]

 

Rainbow Market was only two blocks away. [2] Her mother Sharon Garecht had never let Michaela go to the market before without someone older accompanying her. In the past Michaela had been to the market with two neighbor girls, but they were teenagers, much older than Katrina who was Michaela's age. [2]

"I didn’t want to let her go, and at first I told her no.  But she begged and begged, and so I gave in, and let her go.  I stood at the door and watched as the girls picked up their scooters from the driveway to leave.  Michaela turned to me. “I love you, mom,” she said. “I love you, too, Michaela,” I told her. Those were our last words to each other.  I stood and watched as the girls glided down the driveway and to the end of the block, until they turned out of sight."

-Sharon Garecht, Michaela's mother [3]

10:00 AM
approximately

The girls arrive at Rainbow Market.

Katrina and Michaela leave their scooters by the side door of the market. [4]

Unknown

The FBI believes the scooter was moved closer to the car by the abductor while the girls were inside the store. [19]

10:10 AM
approximately

Katrina and Michaela check out at the register having purchased the candy Laffy Taffy, beef jerky and soda. [4] [23]

10:12 AM
approximately

Girls exit the market. They start walking across the parking lot. [5]

10:13 AM
approximately

The girls remembered that they didn't walk there, they scootered there so they turn around to grab their scooters they left by the market side door. [5] [6]

10:14 AM
approximately

They observed that one of their scooters wasn't by the side door anymore. [7] They split up to find it. [23]

Michaela scans the parking lot and notices the scooter was about three parking spaces down from the door, next to a car. [7] [19] This car was a tan/gold sedan. [17]

Whether the moved scooter belonged to Katrina or Michaela is unclear. The FBI website says Michaela "was attempting to retrieve her friend's scooter." [19] An ABC news article however says "Michaela's scooter wasn't where she left it," [20]

10:15 AM
approximately

Michaela approaches the scooter next to the sedan. She reaches down to grab the scooter. [8] [19]

 

"As she bent over to pick it up, a man jumped out of the car next to the scooter, grabbed her from behind, and threw her screaming into his car as Trina watched in horror."

-Description by Michaela's mother, on her website [8]
 

He exits his car, grabs her from behind, tosses get into the backseat of the car. [27] He closes the back seat door. He enters the drivers side door, sits down in the driver's seat and starts the car. [9]

"I looked up when I heard a scream, and I saw a man putting her into his car. She was still screaming. I just stood and watched, frozen in shock."

-Katrina [24]

Katrina says the offender was alone aside from Michaela. [25]

Unknown

The offender drives the sedan out of the market parking lot. [9]

 

"As the abductor drove out of the parking lot , Michaela wasn't visible, as if she had been pushed to the floorboards,"

-Katrina [24]

10:16 AM

approximately

The car drives erratically down Mission Boulevard. [10]


 

Trina runs back into Rainbow Market and tells a clerk what just happened in the parking lot. [26] The clerk calls the police. [11] [26]

Unknown

Trina than calls her dad inside Rainbow Market. [12]

 

Trina's dad, upon hearing his daughter in so much distress and fearing her safety, decides to drive to Rainbow Market and to stop at Michaela's house along the way incase her parents had not been alerted by police yet. [12]

Unknown

Police arrive at Rainbow Market. [18]

Unknown

Michaela's dad was outside, in the driveway, working on his car. [14] Michaela's mom was inside washing dishes in the kitchen. [13]

 

Trina's father sees Michaela's father in the driveway and he tells him about what Trina just saw. [14]

 

Michaela's father runs up to the house and

"He stuck his head in the kitchen doorway.  'Somebody snatched Michaela up at the market,' he said breathlessly.  'You call 911. I’m going up there.' I stood there with my mouth open, unable to comprehend the horror of what I was hearing.

-Sharon Garecht, Michaela's mother [15]

 

Michaela and Trina's father start heading to Rainbow Market.

Unknown

"I picked up the phone and dialed 911.  They knew my name without my telling them.  They asked some questions, and told me to wait at my house for the officer.

'Have they found her yet?' I asked.

'No, not yet,' the dispatcher answered.  'Just wait for the officer. He will explain everything to you.'

I hung up the phone and began waiting"

-Sharon Garecht, Michaela's mother [16]

Unknown

The father's arrive at Rainbow Market, the police are already on scene. [18]

CITATIONS

1. “It was a sunny Saturday morning, the first day of Thanksgiving vacation, when Michaela and her best friend, Trina, asked if they could go to the neighborhood market to get some candy and sodas.” Family’s account of abduction on family’s website Seeker’s Road

 

2. “The market was only two blocks away, but Michaela had only been there a few times, and then only in the company of the teenage girls who lived next door.”  Family’s account of abduction on family’s website Seeker’s Road

 

3. Family’s account of abduction on family’s website Seeker’s Road

 

4. “Michaela and Trina had left their scooters by the side door of the market while they went in and purchased some candy and sodas and beef jerky. Family’s account of abduction on family’s website.” Family’s account of abduction on family’s website Seeker’s Road

 

5. “When they left the market, they started to walk home, completely forgetting that they had ridden the scooters there.” Family’s account of abduction on family’s website Seeker’s Road

 

6. “Halfway across the parking lot they remembered, and turned back to get them.” Family’s account of abduction on family’s website Seeker’s Road

 

7. “One of the scooters was not by the door where they’d left it. Michaela spotted it first, about three parking spaces down from the door, next to a car.” Family’s account of abduction on family’s website Seeker’s Road

 

8. “She went to get it. As she bent over to pick it up, a man jumped out of the car next to the scooter, grabbed her from behind, and threw her screaming into his car as Trina watched in horror.” Family’s account of abduction on family’s website Seeker’s Road

 

9. “He climbed in and started the car, drove out of the parking lot.” Family’s account of abduction on family’s website Seeker’s Road

 

10. “Took off driving erratically down the busy highway which is Mission Boulevard in Hayward.” Family’s account of abduction on family’s website Seeker’s Road

11. “Trina ran into the store for help. The police were called.” Family’s account of abduction on family’s website Seeker’s Road

 

12. “Trina then called her dad, who drove by my house on his way to the store and told Michaela’s dad what had happened.” Family’s account of abduction on family’s website Seeker’s Road

 

13. “I went back inside and started washing the breakfast dishes.” Family’s account of abduction on family’s website Seeker’s Road

 

14. “Michaela hadn’t been gone for long, not long enough for me to worry about her, when I heard shouting out in the street, where Michaela’s dad was working on the car in the driveway.” Family’s account of abduction on family’s website Seeker’s Road

 

15. “A minute later he stuck his head in the kitchen doorway. ‘Somebody snatched Michaela up at the market,’ he said breathlessly. ‘You call 911. I’m going up there.’ I stood there with my mouth open, unable to comprehend the horror of what I was hearing.  Somebody ‘snatched’ Michaela up at the market? What did that even mean?” Family’s account of abduction on family’s website Seeker’s Road

16.  Family’s account of abduction on family’s website Seeker’s Road

 

17. “He was driving an older, tannish-gold, full-size sedan, boxy in shape, with body damage.  We do not know the make or model.” Family’s account of abduction on family’s website Seeker’s Road

18. “The police response was immediate, arriving before Trina’s dad and Michaela’s dad.” Family’s account of abduction on family’s website Seeker’s Road

 

19. “She was attempting to retrieve her friend's scooter that the abductor had moved closer to his vehicle while the girls were inside the market when she was grabbed by the assailant and pulled into a car.” FBI's page on Michaela Garecht 


20. “Michaela's scooter wasn't where she left it by the side door.” ABC News article Search for Michaela Garecht Continues 

21. “Her friend, Katrina Hogue, was only one witness to the kidnapping.” ABC News article Search for Michaela Garecht Continues 

 

22. “The memories flood back for Katrina Rodriguez.” SF Gate article Life Never the same for Kidnapped Girl’s Friend

 

23. “They bought soda, beef jerky and Laffy Taffy, and when they noticed that one scooter was missing, they split up to find it.” SF Gate article Life Never the same for Kidnapped Girl’s Friend

 

24. SF Gate article Life Never the same for Kidnapped Girl’s Friend 

 

25. “Rodriguez said she didn't see anyone else with Michaela's kidnapper on Nov. 19, 1988.” SF Gate article Life Never the same for Kidnapped Girl’s Friend 

 

26. “ ‘I ran inside and told the clerk, and she called the police,’ ” she said. SF Gate article Life Never the same for Kidnapped Girl’s Friend 

27. “The South Hayward girl was last seen being thrown into the back seat of a car in the parking lot of a market near her family’s home.” Mercury News article Abduction of 9 year old Michaela Garecht

28. “The clerk — who thought she had seen the man drive by earlier — offered a wrong description to a police dispatcher, according to Dennis J. Oliver, a former reporter who covered the case for The Daily Review.” Mercury News article Abduction of 9 year old Michaela Garecht

 

29. “Oliver, now 45, reviewed 911 tapes during his coverage and recalls the dispatcher relaying a description provided by the store clerk who said ‘I seen him earlier.’ ‘Never did she say ‘I witnessed the kidnapping’,’ Oliver said during a phone interview Tuesday.” Mercury News article Abduction of 9 year old Michaela Garecht

 

30. “The false description that went out to police and the public was a white male in his 30s with a mustache and driving a burgundy car.” Mercury News article Abduction of 9 year old Michaela Garecht

31. “But it wasn’t until after police interviewed Michaela’s friend that they were able to release a composite sketch of the suspect and a new description of the vehicle two days later.’Here’s a drawing of this completely different person, and for two days the Hayward Police Department allowed media to publish false descriptions of the suspect,’ Oliver said. ‘The first opportunity and best opportunity to rescue this girl was immediately after it happened, and for two days they were looking for the wrong person. The dispatcher took information from the wrong person — and from there on out communication was just not handled correctly in the crucial first 24 to 48 hours.’” Mercury News article Abduction of 9 year old Michaela Garecht

 

32. “Both the parents of Amber Swartz-Garcia and Kevin Collins – other kidnapping victims from the Bay area – came to the Garecht home to offer support. Fighting back tears, Sharon appeared on television in the days following the abduction and begged the kidnapper to drop Michaela off on a street corner where she could find her way home.” Morbidology article The Abduction of Michaela 

 

33. “The car was last seen speeding south on Mission Boulevard towards nearby Union City, California with Michaela inside.” The Charley Project's Michaela Garecht page