I think this might be it….

Note written by Michaela, 1988.

Well, you talk about a study in contrasts, between my last blog and the one I am about to write. The last 24 years have been filled with leads of this sort or that. This may be no different from all the others. It may be a big story that causes those of us who are looking for Michaela to hold our breath, only to find out it’s nothing. Maybe. But maybe not. 

Last Monday I was called into the Hayward Police Department, where I met with our detective and a second detective, who had been working on the Shermantine/Herzog lead since it first came out last January. He gave me a short history of these two, known as the Speed Freak Killers. I’m pretty sure the story is familiar to most of my blog readers. One of their victims whose remains were identified through the information Shermantine provided to police this last year is JoAnn Hobson, who went missing from Stockton, California, in 1985 at the age of 16. JoAnn’s mother, Joan Shelley, had to fight to get her daughter’s remains released to her, but finally the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department delivered to her a box of bones. By this time she was mistrustful and suspicious of the Sheriff because of the way her daughter’s case had been handled, so she sent the remains they’d given her to the Human Identification Laboratory at Chico State University. It turned out her suspicions were correct, as not all of the bones she’d been given belonged to her daughter. One of the bones was from a child, between the ages of 5 and 13. 
Herzog had been previously linked to Michaela’s case by his partner in crime, Wesley Shermantine, because he looked like Michaela’s kidnapper (although Shermantine later stated that he “doesn’t know anything about that Hayward girl”). The age range of the victim, combined with the limited period of time in which these bodies had been buried, also limits the possibilities as well. There are not that many missing girls from this area of the country that it could be. 
At any rate, the bone was turned over to the Hayward Police Department. They took it to a laboratory for DNA testing. The results were inconclusive, because the condition of the bone was such that they were not able to obtain a full DNA panel. I do understand that there were some matches to my DNA, but again, that does not provide an identification. So it has now been sent off for additional testing at a lab that specializes in extracting mitochondrial DNA, which is passed from mother to child. The results of this testing will tell us positively whether this bone is Michaela’s or not.
It’s quite a leap to go from posting information to help Michaela find help in the UAE to saying in the next blog that I believe it’s likely that evidence has been found that Michaela is not alive, but yes, that is what I am going to say. Part of the reason I say this is because it is simply a logical conclusion. Part of it is that it just feels like it is. In my heart, I have been expecting something to happen. I didn’t know what. I didn’t know it would be this, but I was just expecting something.
Waiting for the results of the DNA testing is not easy. My daughter Libby, talking about the possibility that we would find out Michaela is not alive, said she wouldn’t know how to live, because she had lived her whole life with Michaela being missing. I don’t know how to live right now, in this waiting time.
If this is confirmed, though, I will be glad to know the truth, simply because it is the truth. And I feel an overwhelming desire to bring Michaela home. It breaks my heart to think of her little body lying in that godforsaken place for all these years, and if that is so, I want to gather her up and bring her home. 
Of course, that would be difficult. I’m not sure, but I’m guessing that a body that is at rest in a single location even more 24 years would be fairly much together. But that is not the case here, because the Sheriff of San Joaquin County seemed to think that the best way to excavate the well and dig out the remains was with a backhoe. I’ve been through searches before for possible sites of Michaela’s remains. Somewhere in this blog I wrote that I wanted to be there if Michaela was found, if for the first time the light of day touched her, that I wanted to be there, that if all that was left of her was skeletal remains that I wanted to wrap my arms around those little bones and hold my daughter. But no. In this case, there is a single piece of bone, three inches long, because some dumbass thought it would be a good idea to go in there with a backhoe, callously crushing and destroying the fragile remains of all these fragile little lives that were ended so senselessly and brutally. I am guessing it would be impossible to return all the remains to the families. And they have created a practically impossible task of identifying who they belong to, because instead of identifying one whole bone, they have to identify numerous fragments. 
Did they not understand what it is they were doing? Did they not understand that these are the precious children of mothers and fathers who have spent years of their lives missing them, searching for them, longing only to bring them home? It seems not, and apparently they still don’t, as the San Joaquin County Sheriff holds onto the evidence with an iron fist instead of allowing the FBI or other jurisdictions to come in and try to identify these remains.
Think of it. If this precious mother had just taken the box of bones she was handed and had laid them to rest without question, we might never, ever have known if this is Michaela. Never. We might have gone the rest of our lives without knowing. This is just unacceptable.
One other thing, in September I wrote a blog about a difficult day I was having. One of the people who commented on that blog was Michelle Loftis, JoAnn’s sister. She reassured me that I wasn’t alone, that there were others who understood and stood by me, that they’d never thought they’d get her sister back but that they had, and that she knew the answers I sought would be coming soon for me as well. I hadn’t known what she was talking about at the time. But now I do. Michelle, if you are reading this, thank you. And thank your mom.
Well, it’s been a long week, and a long day, and probably tomorrow will be also, as this just hit the news today. I will write when I can, and if I get any news, I will update you here.
Thank you, as always, for your love and your support, and for never forgetting Michaela.
And to you, Michaela, wherever you are, I love you. I will hold you in my heart always, and I will hold you in my arms again I know, through all the lifetimes in all the worlds. Forever, and then some, I will always love you.

124 thoughts on “I think this might be it….

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  1. having spent YEARS praying for Michaela & your family as well as following your blog, i will continue to pray during this difficult & tense time. i cannot imagine the mixture of emotions you are feeling, and hope you get definitive news one way or another very soon, that it isn't dragged out any further.i've got to say, though, it is CRAZY that so many bones were given over & just assumed to be one person, and that the 28 or so bones/fragments were from at least 3 different people! if it is Michaela, you never would've known had the family not taken it into their own hands. that just blows my mind, and something MUST be done.just a few weeks ago, i asked you in a comment if you thought these monsters were connected to Michaela, and you said probably no because the guy said he didn't know anything about the Hayward girl… i can't imagine how it felt when you were brought in and told all of this.praying for you & your family… keep us posted!

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  2. Sharon, my heart is with you in yet another chapter of your horror story. I can only hope if this is your sweet Michaela that you are somehow able to bring her home in some fashion. I praise the family who shared their grief enough to allow for you to have a chance at closure. They truly understand your pain. You have a million burning candles of support out here hoping for some relief from the pain and anguish that has been a big part of your life since 1988. Also hope the publication of the facts also assist in getting justice for the crimes perpetrated on these young victims and against the continued crime being perpetrated by Sheriff in San Joaquin County..obviously he has no children of his own. FIGHT ON Sharon, you have an army at your side. Peggy Cash – a neighbor of Bernie & Madge.

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  3. I have such a soft spot in my heart for Michaela, and this is so devastating. It takes a lot to get me emotional, but reading this was so hard. I cant imagine what your going through, but I truly hope you get the answers you need quickly.I am so angry at the sheriff and the way he has handled this. I truly hope the Attorney general of California looks into this, and makes it easier for the rest of the victims to be found.My prayers will be centered around you and your family. I am truly sorry you have to go through this.~ Rod

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  4. just so you know, as i've said before, i was the victim of a combination non-custodial parent/stranger abduction in 2000 at the age of 13, spending a month in another country. i KNOW the feeling that you will never see home again, that you'll never see your Mom again and that she will grieve losing you forever. although i never knew Michaela, i've spoken to others who have also survived, and all of us would agree: in those moments, a child who has been adored by their mother & loved unconditionally KNOWS it. and that was the only comfort i had in the moments i still have nightmares about. i knew only 3 things for sure: it would take an act of God for me to survive & get home; if i died, Jesus would take me Home to Heaven and i would never be hurt again; and that if i lived but never left the country i was taken to, that my Mommy would NEVER give up because she loves me that much and as long as she was alive, there would be hope, because she could never give up on me. knowing that no matter what i would be with someone who loved me eventually helped me survive mentally. the one night i was so sure was the end, i was 13 and messed my pants i was so scared. but in my heart, i knew. and i knew that no matter how damaged i was, my Mama would love me just the same. Michaela knew those things. there's a thought process you go through during that experience that can't be explained, that is only understood by those who have lived it. she knew you love her so much. and even if it turns out those were her last moments, it's the best comfort you can have.

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  5. Thank you everybody so much. There have been so many really touching comments, and I can't tell you how much they help. I wish I could answer them all individually, but it's been an exhausting few days. Just know that I have read each and every one, and they have touched my heart.

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  6. Wow. You are a serious survivor! You have divine spirit which for me is saying a whole lot because i am not a religious person. People like you think maybe there is something beyond this place for the soul to survive and be so gracious afterwards. That NEVER should have happened to you or Michaela or any other person for that matter. I really bet that your words really help the families of victims. You survived to be the voice of many. To take such a horrible happening and give back to those that you KNOW how feel is incredible. Today on this page there are a lot of heros here. You for SURE are one. I am humbled. Know how much respect total strangers (like me) have for you and feel for both the victims and the loved ones of those victims. I feel very small today and very fortunate. THANK YOU!

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  7. I'm sure someone will call me naive, but I've been following your blog for a while, and I've been hoping so much for that happy ending. Every time I would check this page, I would hope to hear another Jaycee story where the girl lost all those years is found and brought home. I know it hasn't been 100% proven that the bone belongs to Michaela, but knowing that there's even the possibility is crushing to me. I know it's more crushing to you, but after all the praying and hoping I did, this news just plain sucks.

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  8. Hi Sharon, you, Michaela, and your family are in your readers' hearts and minds. Really, through Michaela, so many people have been touched. This is so amazing. Her light and spirit shine on, and will continue to shine on, no matter the end outcome. I think I speak for many when I say that in having followed your blog for so long now, I feel like you & Michaela are a part of me in some way. I've always, 100% hoped for the outcome of Michaela being found alive. You, Michaela, & your entire family are in my thoughts.

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  9. Are you still going to write to Michaela if those remains are hers? Also I think those involved with the heartless dig up should have to front the bill for any funeral cost? If they don't I'm sure all of us would love to help out.

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  10. Unreal how they would spend thousands of dollars to preserve the bones of dinosaurs but have little or no regard to help preserve the bones of human beings who were loved and missed by their families. isn't that considered the desecration Of Burial Sites.

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  11. Sharon I wish there was some magic words I could say to help you with this. I wish you strength and sen prayers. I'm with Libby, I've spent my whole life with Michaela missing. I had just turned 7. I remember it so vividly. I was afraid. I grew up in pleasanton and I remember Ilene and Amber because that was my name. These 3 girls were taken from their moms and I just hoped that wherever they were, whoever had them was being nice to them. I think it must have been 8 or 9 years ago when I started searching again and trying to find out what really happened. I don't really know why, I just hoped maybe I could help somehow. I feel like I know you since this journey has begun for me. I share your pain and grief, and now, as a mother, I just can't even imagine how you stay so strong and such an inspiration. No matter the outcome, I will be here sending my prayers and all the strength in the world.

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  12. I'm so sorry that it has come to this. My thoughts and prayers are with you and those families in your situation. I am wondering, will they re-test the collection of bone fragments in light of this mistake? It would seem to be they would need to if the possibility that other victims are present and overlooked. Is this a course of action they have talked about taking? So unsettling.

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  13. I wonder the same thing,Kim. There could be many other victims mixed in with the orher victims found. The way they searched for these victims is appalling. And I hope the Sheriff's feet are held to the fire for it.

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  14. I OFTEN THINK OF MICHAELA✞ AND YOU SHARON.I PRAY FOR PEACE TO COME TO YOU BOTH. SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY SHERIFFS SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES! GOD BLESS YOU MICHAELA✞ AND YOUR FAMILY. ~~HAYWARD FRIEND,SHEILA ❤

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  15. Thanks, Wendy. I think, however that hope far transcends this life, and whatever the final outcome, even if Herzog put an end to Michaela's life, he could never put an end to her spirit.

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  16. Thanks Kama. Somebody suggested to me that perhaps they thought that there were no bodies, that Shermantine was just playing games with them, and the backhoe was the fastest way to dispatch what they thought was nonsense? Well, that would be no excuse because they KNEW these guys had killed people, they'd been convicted in court of it, and the bodies had never been found. So they knew there WERE bodies, and there is no excuse for so disrespectfully treating a possible burial ground.

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  17. Thank you, Alexandria. I really appreciate it.My daughter Libby was three when Michaela was kidnapped, and we moved to Castro Valley before she started high school. Maybe you knew each other?

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  18. Anne, have you ever thought about talking to a lawyer? Or hiring a private search team? I know that Amber Dubois' mother has a search dog, and they found the remains of a missing woman from Hayward last year, Michelle Le. I'm not sure how to get in touch with them, but Marc Klaas worked closely with the family on these searches. You can contact him through his facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PollyDad?fref=tsI hope you find peace.

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  19. I hope so, too, Michelle. There is so much to say, and yet I feel I have a zip on my lip until they get the results of these tests. But either way, you are right. Even if it isn't Michaela, it is someone, and I'm sure there are a lot of other bones out there that haven't been examined fully. I know it's a huge task. I just hope they give it over to someone who has the resources and experience to handle it, which would be the FBI, not San Joaquin County.

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  20. Thank you, Anonymous. Michaela is not the only victim, she is not the only child who has died. I have friends who have lost their children in car accidents, friends whose children were murdered, and some of them were adult men rather than cute little children. I have friends who have lost their children at birth, or even before. But the grief and loss are the same, and the value of all these lives is equal. While we are remembering Michaela, let us never lose sight of those others who are grieving.

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  21. Well, for me, if Herzog, or Herzog and Shermantine, killed Michaela, the only important thing is to find her and bring her home. Shermantine is on death row, so the rest of the world is safe from him, and Herzog is dead. And I'm not sure I want to know all the details.

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