HAYWARD -- A bone fragment found in a Linden well during a search for missing Speed Freak Killer victims has been determined to not belong to missing Hayward resident Michaela Garecht.
Hayward police said Wednesday that a bone fragment they had received on Oct. 11, and that was sent for testing in Virginia did not belong to Garecht, who disappeared in 1988 at age 9. Rather, the fragment belonged to a victim who had already been identified, police said.
Garecht's mother, Sharon Murch, said she was feeling a mix of emotions after returning from the Hayward Police Department on Wednesday evening -- disappointment in that she still has no answer on where he daughter may be, but also some relief.
"The (bone fragment results) have not settled in yet," she said. "All day I was wondering: Is it her? Is it not her? (Relief) was just the feeling that came over me."
While Murch said she needs time to unwind, calling the last few months "hell," she will not rest for long. Murch admitted she is still frustrated because she does not feel there is a lot she can do to help with finding her daughter, whose birthday is coming up on Jan. 24.
The Hayward Police Department said it will keep the remaining bone fragments acquired with the fragment that was tested and that officers will continue to work on the case.
"At this time, however, we do not believe these remaining bones to be that of Michaela Garecht, based on the anthropologist's report
Murch said she does not plan to contact the FBI, which is currently conducting a second dig at another well along Flood Road in Linden, looking for more possible remains of victims of Speed Freak Killers Wesley Shermantine Jr. and Loren Herzog.
The first dig, conducted by the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office, yielded two identifiable sets of remains -- those of 19-year-old Kimberly Billy and 16-year-old JoAnn Hobson. But the agency was criticized by many for its lack of delicacy with unearthing and processing remains.
As a result, Hobson's mother had her daughter's remains tested by Dr. Eric Bartelink of CSU Chico's Human Identification Laboratory. Bartelink reported that Hobson's remains were commingled with those of another female, who was believed to be between 5 and 14 years old.
In Bartelink's report, he stated the use of large earthmoving equipment led to "significant commingling" of the remains in the well, and that he believed at least two other individuals were mixed in with Hobson's remains.
The FBI will remain at the Linden dig site for two to three weeks, and any remains that are found will be tested.
Contact Katie Nelson at 925-945-4780 or follow her at Twitter.com/katienelson210.