Today’s Search for Michaela’s Remains

This morning a canine search was conducted, looking for Michaela’s remains. This was in response to a lead that was called in several months ago. At that time, the canine search team handlers said that the conditions were not good for searching, and that we needed to wait until after there had been a few good rains. So I’ve been waiting a pretty long while now for this search … since before the hoopla about Herzog, since before the lead came in about the United Arab Emirates. And you know, I kept thinking that just possibly all the emotional energy being poured into these other leads might have not even have been necessary. Michaela might have been lying there, not so terribly far away, for all this time. It was a question that needed to be answered.

Early this morning, it started raining here, in torrents, and the wind was crazy. It was like a mini hurricane. I texted our detective, asking if the search was still scheduled for today, and he said they were already out there. I remembered how, in the days after Michaela was kidnapped, we’d had horrible rain storms, and how I  had thought that it was the angels, weeping violently over what had happened to Michaela. I thought this morning, if she was to be found, how appropriate it would be for the heavens to be weeping once again. I wondered also how those dogs could work in this weather. It’s not the scent. I know I’ve read in a few novels about missing kids how the scent was washed away by rain, but from what I learned years ago, rain actually makes it easier for the dogs to catch a scent. But it was so stormy, my own dogs were cowering at the back door, not wanting to go out to go potty, and these searc h dogs, and their handlers, and our investigators, were out there braving quite a storm for apparently a good long journey through the mud and muck. My respect and my thanks go to all of them.

The search dogs didn’t alert on anything, but as our investigator, Rob Lampkin, said, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. The world is so large! Even a single piece of property is huge when you are looking for one little girl who could have been buried there. Rob said the caller provided some specific information, but that we really needed more specific information. Because the person who gave this information called anonymously from a location that couldn’t be traced, he was thinking perhaps he would need to put out a press release, asking for the person who had called before to call again with more specific information. So of course, I volunteered to put that request out on my blog. I have held this information back for a few months, because I didn’t want anybody getting spooked and running out to dig up evidence. We’ve seen the possibility of that having happened in the past. For that reason, even now, I’m not going to say what area it is in.

Whoever called this lead in cut off the conversation at one point, saying, “Look, I’ve done what I can. I’ve tried to help.” Or something along those lines. And I do appreciate that the caller was trying to help, and I am very thankful just for your desire to do that. I’m asking though that you please call in again, and help us figure out exactly where to look.

If you want to know if I think this is a good lead, if there is much likelihood of it being true, I do think it is. It’s honestly probably a lot more likely to be true than it is for Michaela to be in the UAE. But probably isn’t the same as positively. If Michaela lies buried somewhere, then she’s moved on from that location long ago. Finding her could bring answers, a resolution. It could stop the torture over worrying where she is and whether she is suffering right now. But it wouldn’t do anything for Michaela herself. On the other hand, if she is alive, if she is in the UAE or being held prisoner in someone’s back yard, then she needs us right now. We need to find her as quickly as possible so that she doesn’t need to suffer a minute longer.

What do I want? I want for my daughter to be at peace, to be happy. I think that any real possibility of that vanished on November 19, 1988. It’s the lesser of two evils, and there have been those times I have thought she might be better off if she had left the suffering behind. But where there is life, there is hope, and I am going to stand here and hold that candle of hope as high as I can and as long as I can, until someone proves to me that it’s time to set it down.

And quite honestly, if that should happen, if that day should ever come, I will find a new reason to light a new flame, and one way or another, my hope for Michaela will continue to shine in the deepest darkness that this life can throw my way. That is my gift to Michaela, and it is Michaela’s gift to the world.

I love you, baby girl, forever.

68 thoughts on “Today’s Search for Michaela’s Remains

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  1. To whom it may concern,Please call back with more specific information for the detectives. You have a chance to stand up and be a hero for Michaela, regardless of whether they ultimately find anything or not. – Julia

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  2. Sharon, wow both of you have been on my mind all day long, Just couldn't get you both out of my head, Just want you to know my thoughts and prayers are always with both you and Michaela, I know today had to be a extremely hard day for you… Try to get some rest please. Jen

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  3. Hi Sharon,I'm with you all the way and I will always have hope of Michaela being found. I will keep posting and sharing about “MICHAELA” Hugs from Thelma Mandera

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  4. Sharon, my thoughts and prayers are with you. No parent should ever have to ask these questions. I too believe in what you had written earlier about a universe “full of intelligence and purpose” and that the cogs will “turn for the good”. I have no doubt this evil will be punished suitably and I have faith that Michaela will be reunited with you again. Love,Radhika

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  5. You are like any of us who are also mothers would be Sharon, you will keep searching until there is a reason to stop. My thoughts are with you. xx

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  6. This is so sad.. I pray for you and your family, i hope that you will find an answer soon about what happened to Michaela. – Becca

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  7. ok all u ppl out there who wants to bring michaela home, we need to take over everything to inform more people about michaela, text your friends and have them forward it and pass it on, post comments on famous YouTube videos, post stuff on Facebook, anything that can overwhelm whoever is responsible for Michaelas abduction!!! who's with me!

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  8. To Sharon, Michaela is on my mind constantly these days, as well as you and your family. I only recently learned about your blog, but I visit regularly for updates. Whoever knows something, anything, please call in and help, give more information, help Michaela be found! Like someone said earlier, it's your chance to be a hero – please help!Best wishes from the UK, A.

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  9. God bless you, Sharon. You are a strong woman living an unending nightmare. I can only imagine the emotions you must experience daily. I am so sorry the selfish motivations of Godless human beings infiltrated the sanctity of your loving family. Hell was created for such monsters as the one who took your precious daughter from you and no matter how long they escape justice in the mortal world, they will reap their eternal punishment in the afterlife. You need and deserve answers and I pray you get them as soon as possible. Whatever has happened to Michaela, you deserve an answer. My heart aches for you.

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  10. I cannot travel your journey nor feel the magnitude of your pain…Hugs' love & all prayers for you Sharon' ❤ '

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  11. Have never forgotten you and Michaela…..much love from Wisconsin………..my wish….when this is finally over is to meet you and hug you until we both can't breath!!!! Love to you…….Tori

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  12. Hello Sharon, I just came across on YouTube the story on Michaelas abduction that was featured on Unsolved Mysteries, on the show they insist on the sketch of the man who took her. In fact they show it twice, and I was curious, I imagine you received thousands of calls after the show aired, but wasn´t there anyone in the entire USA who knew a man that fit the description and owned a car like the one described on the show??I am Michaelas age, and I remember this show Unsolved Mysteries being very popular back then, so surely someone could´ve called with the right information. Maybe back then you had several suspects that whatever the reason, were cleared from the case. Have you re-investigated any suspect??

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  13. Of course. We've had hundreds of leads like that. We had 15,000 leads in the first year alone. And recently the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children have been going through all those leads and cataloging them and cross-checking them. We have a very active investigation, many, many leads. Sometimes people seem to think that Michaela was kidnapped and we've just been sitting here for 23 years waiting for someone to give us some information, but that isn't the case. As I've said before, a large part of the problem we've had hasn't been too little information, but too much information, and most of that is because of the composite sketch of the suspect … which I see here to the right of this comment I am typing as a matter of fact.

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  14. Yes, from what you have described I know Michaelas case is not a cold case. And it is very admirable all the work that has been put in Michaelas case, its just so mind-blowing to think that this man couldnt be found, I mean, this guy could`ve got his hair cut and dyed, but as a man you cannot hide such bad skin. And someone must`ve seen the show and said, Hey, he looks like the guy that lives down the street, or, the guy I work with looks like him and he drives a car like the one mentioned, or something like that! The description was so so clear, it is frusterating how this man managed to hide! I mean you can keep a girl hidden, but as an adult you have to go out in public, for groceries or things like that.And just a thought, even though I imagine you have already thought of this, but have you tried relaunching the sketch in search of this man? With a reward or something? Or has that been done?Anyways, the best of luck to you and your family and hopefully someday you will get the closure you are looking for.

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  15. Yes, that's been done. It's been shared a million ways over the years and still is. As I just pointed out, it's on this blog, and it's on Michaela's webpage at missingmichaela.com. There are many, many, many, many people who look like this composite to one degree or another. We have lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of lookalikes.

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  16. Well it has to happen soon. I mean finding her alive or sadly not. It's way overdue. There is lots of energy out there wanting her to be found even after 23 years! I really hope that person gives more and better details on where to find her and the map thing isn't a bad idea either you could always mail it anonymously!!!

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  17. The illustration of the kidnapper looks exactly like Loren Herzog. Have you checked the photographs in his yearbook at Linden High School? He graduated in 1984.

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  18. Over the years the composite has looked exactly like many people, so that in itself doesn't mean a lot. In none of Herzog's photos does he have the most striking feature the eyewitness described, which is really severe acne, pock marks and boils on his face. Herzog has never been known to go for little girls either. It's not impossible, but I don't really think it likely, and while Shermantine has freely named a lot of girls Herzog is responsible for killing, he has specifically said that he has no knowledge about “that Hayward girl.”

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  19. You know, we do have leads, and I really wish I could share the information with my readers, who I know care deeply about Michaela and are anxious for news regarding her. But I can't, because I can't compromise the investigation. Unless he is dead, however, the kidnapper is sitting out there somewhere, and he just needs to know that even though it's been 23 years, he can't sit back and figure he got away with something. That knock will come on the door one of these days. Same for anybody else involved who has chosen not to help Michaela. Please, speak now while you can.

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  20. u know the acne and boils on his face couldve just been done by makeup to disguise himself and he'd wash it off immediately.

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  21. Has Richard Lee Franks ever been considered a suspect in Michaela's abduction? I have been reading an article about him, and he looks something like the composite of the kidnapper.

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  22. I don't actually know. The name doesn't sound familiar to me, but I don't know the names of most of the people who have been investigated. I tried googling him and came up with an amazing lack of info. Can you send a link to the article? I have to tell you, though, almost everyone seems to look “something like” our composite.

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  23. There is also the book, “And Never See Her Again”. But, thanks I was just wondering. The abduction and murder of Opal happened in Texas. I guess it caught my attention because Richard had the long hair and pock marked face. Even the manner in which he abducted Opal is similair. He threw her into the car and sped off erratically. But yes, I can certainly understand how a lot of people would resemble the suspect. My heart goes out to you, Sharon. No parent should have to live that nightmare.

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  24. I couldn't find a photo like that. Do you have a link you can post? I've seen a few items about Opal Jennings, but they didn't contain much in the way of photos of him.

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  25. I'm so sorry, Sharon. I have tried and tried to find a way to send you that photo. I cannot find it anywhere. There is a book by Patricia Springer on the Opal Jennings story. It's called “And Never See Her Again”. There is the photo from Frank's arrest in August 1999, in that book. Again I apologize for not being able to find that photo online.

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  26. Thomas, that is completely NOT what the search was for. It had nothing at all to do with Shermantine/Herzog. And Anonymous, as long as there are remains of the missing to be identified Michaela is always there as a possibility, but that's about as far as that goes. Our PD is not involved in the Shermantine/Herzog thing.

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  27. well it was a search in herzogs backyard wasn't it ok u don't have to be rude so where was it I'm not trying to be an inconvienience but god y the hell r u being so rude ive been helping u for weeks now trying to get ppl to contact u if they know anything about michaela

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  28. No, the search was not in Herzog's back yard, and it has nothing to do with Herzog. I never said it was. It was a lead to do only with Michaela's case which we had had for months. Perhaps I get a little frustrated because I spend a lot of time writing these blogs and sometimes it feels as though people just aren't really reading them. I apologize if you felt I was rude. I was only correcting a miconception about what is going on in my daughter's case.

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