30th Anniversary of Michaela’s Kidnapping: advice, please?

I was talking today with some people about the fact that the 30th anniversary of Michaela’s kidnapping is coming up in just a few month. I talked to at least one person who lives out of state who is thinking about coming this year, and it has me thinking about changing things up a bit.

For years now I have held the anniversary remembrance on the anniversary, at the approximate time of the kidnapping, at the exact location where Michaela was taken. For this year, that would be the Monday of Thanksgiving week, November 19th, at 10:15 a.m., in the parking lot of Mexico Super in Hayward. This venue has been important to me, because there is a little bushy evergreen tree right in front of the spot where Michaela’s kidnapper had parked his car. Every year we tie ribbons on that tree. At first they were all yellow, although over time I have put other colors into the mix as well. I tied some on, as did everyone who came to the anniversary. And there those ribbons stand, year after year. We do not remove the old, tattered ribbons before hanging the new ones. Bundled there together, in varying stages of freshness or decay, they were a beautiful, visible symbol of our long waiting, of the way grief has frayed us at the edges, but also of the fresh vibrancy of our love for Michaela. I have always hoped Michaela could see these ribbons and all that they mean. I have always wondered if the person, or people, responsible for Michaela’s kidnapping, have seen them, or those who harbor secret knowledge of what happened to her. Those ribbons are a message sent out into the universe by those of us who love her.

Most years that we have done this, it has been public. Well, it is a public place so it has always been public, but most years I have invited people on facebook. The last couple of years I didn’t. I was just weary. I was out of words. I am, in large part, out of words. There is nothing I can say about Michaela that I have not said. There is nothing I can say to Michaela that I have not said. For the people who have shown up for these anniversary remembrances, I say the same thing I have always said. “Thank you.” Thank you for coming, thank you for remembering, thank you for caring. Your love and support for my daughter have helped to keep me going through all these years.

But it is brief, short. A few words, a few ribbons. Hugs and exchanged greetings with people I see seldom and with whom I would love to share more than a few words. But the parking lot by the store is not a place for that. It’s not a place to hang out. It’s not comfortable. There is no public bathroom.

Because this is the 30th anniversary, I am thinking about changing this somehow, but I don’t know how. So I thought I’d ask for help, advice. So if you wouldn’t mind answering a few questions to help me with ideas, I’d really appreciate it. You can answer in a comment here, or on my Facebook page or Michaela’s facebook page, or you can email me at sharon.murch@gmail.com.

First, I’d like to know if you would plan to attend, under what circumstances, and how far you would be coming to attend. In particular, if we held it as usual, on Monday morning at 10:15 a.m., would you come? Or would you be more likely to come if we held it at another time, the Sunday before, or in the evening?

Second, I’m wondering about holding it in a different location. I WILL, most definitely, still tie ribbons on the tree at the market, but that is a relatively brief process. I am thinking about perhaps having a separate anniversary remembrance, and perhaps coercing people into speaking and/or singing.  Does anybody have any suggestions for locations? A park is an idea, but it is also in November, so the weather is not always friendly. A church? A public building? Does anybody have access to any of these that they would like to volunteer?

These are just some preliminary questions, but I would really appreciate your suggestions. It’s a daunting task, and one which also makes me feel really vulnerable. What if you had a party and nobody came? You might be hurt and disappointed. But what if you had a remembrance for your missing child, and nobody came? You would be broken hearted. I cannot flick my magic wand, turn back the clock, save Michaela from what she went through, what she may now be going through. The only thing I can do is try to keep her alive in this world by trying to keep her alive in your hearts and minds. I can only hold her light up for everyone to see, so that perhaps at least what she endured might not have been for nothing. Perhaps she can shine into someone else’s darkness and bring some light, some hope. I have done this better at some times than others, and less well in the last couple of years. There have been a lot of things going on. I’ve had to consider dying and have had to work at living instead. But in all honesty, I am just weary, and I am running out of words. All the words I know I have spoken. New words are failing me. But I am still alive. And Michaela is still alive in my heart. And I will not let her die. I will not let her light go out.

So please, if you have any ideas or suggestions, please let me know. Keep in mind that, barring some miracles between now and November, they will need to be free or next to it.

To all of you who have been walking this path with me for so long, thank you. As I sit here I can see a parade of so many people who have stood in that parking lot at the market with me, whether for one November morning, or for twenty of them. I can see your faces. I know who you are, that you are there, and it means everything to me. Thank you. And to all you who have never been to the market, but who have read my words, who have shared my sorrows and my hopes, thank you as well. Thank you for loving Michaela. Thank you for sharing the burden of hope that can grow so heavy.

Thank you.

13 thoughts on “30th Anniversary of Michaela’s Kidnapping: advice, please?

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  1. Perhaps a remembrance walk (with a banner?) starting from the parking lot? That way even if people are not there for the original talk they can still see the information and maybe even join in when they choose to.

    I would gladly join, but I’m afraid I live in the UK!


  2. Dear, Sharon
    Hello, Sharon hope you are doing well. I pray for a Miracle that you and Michaela are reunited before the arrival of her 30th kidnapping anniversary. I wish I can join you to show my respect to you and Michaela but as always I will be at the anniversary by spirit if not in person. I hope that you find positive closure this year I hope that what happened to the tree at the market parking lot is a signal that her abductor will be caught. I have to tell you Sharon you are doing the best thing ever by keeping a blog and fixing a gathering at the kidnapping site every year one day someone might come forward with the answer to this mystery.And also The more you spread the word the more fear for the kidnapper.



  3. Dear, Sharon
    Hi, Sharon it’s Zahra I posted a comment I don’t know if it reached you. I miss your dear Michaela blog it was so much more easier to use.


    1. Zahra, I promise you this blog is just as easy to use. The only difference is that it opens at a home page instead of opening on the blog page. I don’t know if that is good or bad. I could change the format but just haven’t had the brain power to experiment with it. Meanwhile, WordPress is much friendlier to use. I’m always afraid that Dear Michaela will just disappear one day. I started the blog on the old blogspot, which became blogger, and things changed over time, including how you get a domain name, and every year they threaten to cancel it. Anyway, did you leave the comment under the name Zahra?


    2. Zahra, I found it and thanks for letting me know. I’m pretty sure your comments are going through without moderation at this point, so I don’t think this should happen again. But if it does, let me know! ❤


  4. Dear, Sharon
    Hello, Sharon I truly from the bottom of my heart wish I could join you for the 30th kidnapping anniversary. I was thinking may be you can hold an indoor event like at a church or hall. and the past couple of years I have lit a candle for Michaela at the approximate time of her kidnapping may be this coming anniversary you can all light a bunch of candles for her and pray that if she is alive she comes out of the darkness. Stay strong as always Sharon you are doing the best thing for Michaela keeping her face fresh in public eyes and also putting fear in the kidnappers heart. Continue your search for your princess.



  5. Maybe a harmonic sing-along at the tree? A song with empowering lyrics? It’s a thing these days and you should record it online so it’s for the whole U.S. and abroad to hear and to see.

    I send prayers from Finland and hope to see some video of the anniversary online.


  6. Dear, Sharon
    Hello, Sharon hope you are doing well. November is around the corner and I know for a fact I will not be able to join you at the 30th anniversary of Michaela’s kidnapping but I would love to watch a video of what ever type of service you hold whether in door or out door. I know November is a tough month for you but stay strong like you have always been and don’t allow who ever that took your child feel like it’s one of those old forgotten kidnapping case. So many people knows about Michaela and her lovely mother as if the kidnapping happened three years ago not three decades ago. As always I will continue to light Michaela a candle on her kidnapping date and approximate time. I love reading your blogs Sharon such an lovely woman and mother just like my mother.



  7. Dearest Sharon, I wanted to reach out and show my support for the 30th anniversary of The kidnapping. I am 3 months older than Michaela, I grew up in contra costa county. After Michaela was kidnapped, we had the police visit our school and talk to us about Michaela and Amber Garcia. Every day after school, my dad took me for candy at 7-11, I remember the day I walked up to enter and Michaela’s missing fyler was starring me in the face. I remember how lucky I was, and wondered the hell she was going through. So week after week I watched the news with my parents to see if they found her. I am now 40 years old. With two of my own daughters. I still look up Michaela once in a while, to see for any updates, and sadly, we still don’t know what happened. My thought is the trafficking as well, because of Michaela I have watched so many stories about missing children and that is what I think. I have driven by Hayward so many times, and I always think of Michaela. I have never stopped by where she was taken, would seem to real for me. My name is Sam and I am planning on coming out for her 30th get together, I don’t know what I would say to you, I love think will just introduce myself and give you a big hug. You are inspiring as a mother. Michaela, I hope you come back someday!


    1. Thanks, Sam, and I know just what you mean. The summer before Michaela was kidnapped, Amber Swart was missing from Pinole and Candy Talarico from Sacramento, and Michaela and I would sit glued to the news waiting for them to be found. We talked about it and agreed that it was the worst thing we could think of happening. And then a few months later, it happened to us.

      Our main celebration this year is going to be indoors the day before the anniversary. We will be at the tree at 10:15 on the 19th as well, but nobody is going to be speaking or anything then.


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