Accused serial killer, charged with Hayward 9-year-old’s kidnapping and murder, makes first court appearance

DUBLIN — David Misch, the man accused of kidnapping and murdering 9-year-old Michaela Garecht out of Hayward two years after he allegedly murdered two women in Fremont, made his first court appearance here Tuesday morning, the day after he was formally charged in Michaela’s killing.
Misch, 59, did not enter a plea Tuesday in his brief court appearance. Through his attorney, he waived his right to hear the charges read to him, confirmed appointment of a lawyer already representing him in two other pending murder charges, and put off a court appearance to enter a plea to January 22.
At a news conference Monday, attended by Hayward police, the FBI, and the Alameda County District Attorney, authorities announced that Misch was linked by fingerprint evidence to the notorious 1988 kidnapping of Michaela, which authorities describe as a murder despite the fact that her body has never been found. In fact, Michaela has not been seen or heard from since she was kidnapped into a car on her way out of a convenience store from a friend.
David Misch in an undated photo provided by Fremont Police Department in 2018. (Fremont Police)
When police went to arrest Misch on the murder charge, they did not have to search far. He was already in Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on a no-bail hold for two other notorious cold case killings: the 1986 slayings of Michelle Xavier, 18, and Jennifer Duey, 20, who were on their way back from a birthday party when they were attacked. Misch was charged in their deaths in 2018 and the case is currently pending.
In all three killings, authorities believe rape was the motive.
A police probable cause statement, filed in court this week, says that two eyewitnesses to Michaela’s killing picked out Misch’s photo from a lineup, and that a fingerprint taken off the girl’s scooter was linked to Misch. When authorities tried to interview Misch earlier this month, he not only refused a police interview but refused to comply with a warrant for his fingerprints and DNA, even after being told it could exonerate him from the crime, police say.
Michaela was kidnapped almost exactly 32 years and one month ago, when she and a friend rode their scooters to the Rainbow Market at 32575 Mission Boulevard in Hayward to get snacks. They left their scooters outside the store, but on their way out they discovered someone moved the scooters to the parking lot.
When Michaela went to retrieve hers, that’s when she was attacked. She, “grabbed around the waist by the suspect and pulled into the car while she violently screamed,” the police probable cause statement says. Her kidnapping received national attention, but exactly what happened to her after that is unknown.
At the time, Misch was 27. Police say his basic description matched those given by eyewitnesses of the man in the Rainbow Market parking lot, of a white male, 20-28 years, old, about six feet tall with a slender build, blue eyes, and long dirty blond hair.
Xavier and Duey, meanwhile, were last seen at a 7-Eleven store by their boyfriends, Xavier driving a 1984 Pontiac Sunbird convertible, according to Oakland Tribune archives from the time of their deaths. Xavier had playfully hopped on the back of her boyfriend kissed him on the cheek and told him, “I’ll just see you tomorrow,” he told this newspaper in February 1986.
But more than two hours later, the two women’s bodies were found on the secluded Mill Creek Road, naked and covered in blood. Details emerged later from police at the time that one woman had been shot, the other strangled. Xavier’s car was found at the Mission Valley Shopping Center in Fremont, several miles away from the 7-Eleven.
The two women had met at Notre Dame High School in San Jose, a private all-girls Catholic high school that still exists today. Both women worked as department stores clerks, Duey at the then-named Emporium-Capwell in Fremont and Xavier at Nordstrom in San Mateo.
Misch was linked to the double-homicide through DNA evidence, police said. At the time of the 2018 charges, Misch was serving an 18-year sentence in connection with an East Bay homicide that happened in December 1989, three years after the Fremont slayings. In that case, 36-year-old Margaret N. Ball was found stabbed to death in her Hayward home. He was convicted of second-degree murder in 1990 in the Alameda County Superior Court.
Misch also has another prior felony conviction, assault with a deadly weapon; he was convicted in that case in 1982.

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