New searches begin at Garrido home

September 16, 2009 12:42:58 AM PDT
Police are taking new steps to find out if the man accused of kidnapping Jaycee Dugard and keeping her for 18 years, is responsible for other crimes against children.

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Just when it seemed that police might be finished at Phillip and Nancy Garrido's house in an unincorporated section of Contra Costa County near Antioch, they returned en masse with search warrants. They are looking for clues in two other Bay Area missing children cases from the late 80's, Michaela Garecht and Ilene Misheloff.

"People who commit these crimes tend to be predatory and tend to have multiple victims," Dublin Police Lt. Kurt Von Savoye told reporters Tuesday.

13-year-old Ilene Misheloff disappeared after leaving her Dublin school in 1989 and 9-year-old Michaela Garecht was snatched from outside a Hayward grocery in 1988. Investigators say the Garecht case especially resembles the Dugard kidnapping.

"What I know of the tips that have come in, this is one of the strongest leads we've pursued thus far," said Lt. Chris Orrey with the Hayward Police Department.

Orrey cited Tuesday how Michaela Garecht and Jaycee Lee Dugard were similar in age and looks, and both taken by a man in a sedan similar to one removed from Garrido's property. The lieutenant showed reporters how a police sketch of Michaela's abductor looks a lot like a 1976 photo of Phillip Garrido.

On Tuesday afternoon, Michaela's mother, Sharon Murch, visited the Garrido home to take her own look around.

"Immediately, I thought that this would lead to me finding Michaela. Whether that's intuition or wishful thinking, I don't know. But, that's my first thought," she said. "And, my hopes have been higher than they have been for many years."

Police say their new search will focus on Garrido's house and one next door that he used to take care of. They intend to use ground radar and metal detectors.

"It's going to be a very thorough, methodical search of the property," Svoye said.

They intend to be so methodical, they have not ruled out tearing the Garrido house apart to search beneath floors and inside walls if necessary. After 13,000 tips in the Garecht case, that alone sends a strong message about their measure of suspicion.

"We are looking for any physical evidence that links Phillip Garrido or Nancy Garrido to either of our cases. It could be items of clothing that the victims wore at the time they were abducted. It could be DNA. It could be unfortunately, remains," Orrey said.

Police say they have completed searching the house next door. They say the investigation of Garrido's house will take several more days.

It is also worth noting that while Michaela Garecht's mother showed up at the scene Tuesday, Ilene Misheloff's family did not. They were out of town tending to yet another family emergency.

Jaycee Dugard Trust Fund
Checks only to:
Jaycee Dugard Trust Fund
c/o Viewtech Financial Services
P.O. Box 596
Atwood, CA 92811

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