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Missing girl's mom finds hope in Jaycee Dugard case

  • Story Highlights
  • Michaela Garecht, 9, kidnapped three years before Jaycee Dugard
  • A week before her abduction, Michaela wrote poem about kidnapping, mother says
  • Girls' kidnappings seem similar, Sharon Murch says
  • Police also looking for links into 1989 kidnapping of Ilene Misheloff
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(CNN) -- A week before 9-year-old Michaela Garecht was kidnapped in Hayward, California, in 1988, she wrote a poem about people who had been abducted, her mother said Tuesday.

Cases of missing girls Ilene Misheloff, left, and Michaela Garecht now linked to Garrido investigation.

Cases of missing girls Ilene Misheloff, left, and Michaela Garecht now linked to Garrido investigation.

"She sat down at the coffee table and wrote a poem about people behind the doors of steel, an amazing poem for a 9-year-old, ... and a week later she was kidnapped," Michaela's mother, Sharon Murch, said.

"It seems to me ... like it must be some sort of a prophesy or premonition, and I keep hearing the words that she said -- 'It's about people who were kidnapped and are being held captive, not people who were kidnapped and were killed.'"

Her comments came as authorities looked into whether Michaela's abduction and other unsolved kidnappings in the region are in any way related to Phillip Garrido, who was arrested last week for the kidnapping and rape of an 11-year-old girl just three years after Michaela was taken.

That girl, Jaycee Lee Dugard -- now 29 -- was found alive last week, living in a tent and shelter compound in Garrido's back yard in Antioch, California -- 30 miles from where Michaela was kidnapped.

The discovery raised Murch's hopes that her daughter might also be safe.

"My husband told me (about Dugard's discovery) at 5 in the morning. He woke me up and told me he had heard it on the news," Murch said. Video Watch how case raises mother's hopes »

"And I leaped up yelling, 'Oh, my God. I was, of course, joyful for Jaycee herself, but my first thought was 'please God, let Michaela be with her.'"

Murch said she feels there is a "strong possibility" that the two cases are linked.

A bone fragment found near Garrido's home was being analyzed to determine whether it is was human and whether it connects Garrido to any other crimes, authorities said. The bone fragment was found on a neighbor's property in an area that Garrido had access to, they said. Video Watch how bone fragment may offer clues »

Murch said police have approached her in the past five days to ask what Michaela was wearing on the day of her abduction. "They apparently found a lot of stuff there," she said, referring to the Garrido property search.

Police in several other San Francisco Bay Area agencies are also investigating possible ties between Garrido and other missing persons' cases.

In Dublin, about 25 miles east of Oakland, police were looking into whether Garrido was connected to the 1989 disappearance of Ilene Misheloff. She was 13 when abducted, investigators said.

Antioch -- where Garrido is accused of holding Dugard -- is about 40 miles east of Oakland and about 165 miles southwest of Dugard's hometown, South Lake Tahoe.

Contra Costa County sheriff's Lt. Steve Simpkins said police in Antioch and neighboring Pittsburg were searching Garrido's property "for evidence relating to open cases."

Murch says the kidnappings of her daughter and that of Dugard have several similarities.

"The method of kidnapping was the same. They were both dragged into cars. The description of the cars was very similar. The girls looked very much like each other. There have been points in the past where the investigations have crossed with the same suspects, and Jaycee was found very close to home here."

Hayward Police Lt. Chris Orrey said both girls were abducted in daylight, and a sketch of a suspect resembled Garrido, she said. Orrey said there were differences as well, though she would not elaborate. But she confirmed that Hayward police had been in contact with Michaela's family and witnesses since Dugard was found alive.

Murch said a neighbor who witnessed her daughter's kidnapping called her on the phone when she saw Garrido on television and commented on a car removed from the Garrido property. "That car looked like the car that Michaela was kidnapped in," Murch quoted her as saying.

According to Murch, her daughter and a friend rode their scooters to the neighborhood market on a Saturday morning.

"They left the scooters outside the door. When they came out, one of the scooters was not where they left it. Michaela spotted it in a parking lot next to a car and went to get it, and when she bent over to pick up the scooter, a man jumped out of the car, grabbed her from behind, threw her into the car and took off with her."

That car was described as a tan color, possibly with some primer on it.

"Even before this (Dugard's reappearance) came up, I really had a feeling that perhaps my daughter might still be alive and might come home. And this has just heightened my hope for that," Murch said. She said she keeps busy by writing on her daughter's Web site.


"In some ways, it's a lot easier to continue to live without hope than to get your hopes raised again. Living with hopes not fulfilled is one of the hardest things, I think.

"If Michaela is out there and can hear me, I want her to know that I would like her to come home, that nothing that's transpired over the last 20 years can change the love we have for her. There's nothing that we can't overcome."

All About KidnappingLaw EnforcementPhillip Garrido

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