Witness recalls Garecht kidnapping

September 16, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
After more than 20 years, the only witness to the Hayward kidnapping of Michaela Garecht has come forward to tell her story.

MOST POPULAR: Video, stories and more
SIGN-UP: Get breaking news sent to you from ABC7

Michaela's friend Katrina was there when Michaela was abducted in 1988 by a man whose description matches that of Phillip Garrido, now charged with the Jaycee Dugard kidnapping.

Katrina is now 29-years-old, but the kidnapping has haunted her to this day, so much so that the mother of two does not want to reveal her full name or where she lives.

Wednesday was the first time she had given a television news interview in 21 years.

"My first hope would be that she's alive and that I can meet her again," Katrina said.

Katrina says she and Michaela Garecht were 9-years-old when they walked back to a neighborhood market in Hayward to retrieve their scooters when Michaela was abducted.

"That's when I heard a scream, I looked and I saw a man putting her into his car and the screaming continued," Katrina said.

Katrina watched that man drive off with Michaela. She was the sole witness.

Twenty-one years later, Jaycee Dugard, who was kidnapped in 1992, was found, and her accused abductor, Phillip Garrido, and his car were suddenly on national TV.

"Oh, it put a pit right in my stomach. I called Michaela's mother right away and I told her, 'this could be the car, have we thought of him as a suspect,'" Katrina said.

In 1988, Katrina helped detectives put together a composite sketch of Michaela's abductor. The sketch resembles a photo of Garrido taken in 1976.

"I have not seen a photo that looks more like Michaela's kidnapper than his," Katrina said.

Garrido served 10 years and six months for a violent sex offense and was paroled early, about a year before Michaela was kidnapped. Over the years, Katrina says the kidnapping continued to haunt her.

"I won't deny that there's some feelings of guilt there, that it's her and not me, but most of all I'm just sad," Katrina said.

The discovery of Jaycee Dugard has Michaela's friends and family hoping it will lead to another miracle, this time for them.

LINK: Michaela Garecht website

       Today's latest headlines | ABC7 News on your phone
Follow us on Twitter | Fan us on Facebook | Get our free widget


Load Comments