Michaela’s Kidnapper

This composite was done by a police forensic artist, with the assistance
of the eyewitness, the day after Michaela was kidnapped.
There is a color composite which was done for Michaela’s case by a private citizen,
but the eyewitness was not consulted for this,
and she doesn’t feel it to be completely accurate

On November 18, 1988, Michaela’s kidnapper was described as a man in his 20’s, with long, dirty-blonde hair.
 His most outstanding characteristic was severe acne, like boils. He was driving an older,  tannish-gold, full-size sedan, boxy in shape, with body damage.  We do not know the make or model.  The description is very vague, but put together with the composite drawing of the kidnapper, perhaps it will mean something. The eyewitness noted his eyes.  “He had fox eyes,” she said. “He looked right at me, but he didn’t even see me.” Remember, it is twenty years later.  He would not have the same appearance today.
I know of a number of people who have been investigated as potential suspects on Michaela’s kidnapping over the years.  There has been a great deal of speculation about some of these in the media, in books, and on websites. The information I know has not convinced me of the likely guilt of any of these suspects.
The case is yet to be solved.
If you have any information, please call Inspector Robert Purnell1-800-222-3999Robert.Purnell@hayward-ca.gov

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72 thoughts on “Michaela’s Kidnapper

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  1. dear ms MurchI have been a follower of this blog and have recently also seen the case where Daniel heinrich has been names a person of interest in jacob wetterling,s case. My question is why has the police not come forward with Person of interests so far in Michaela,s case ? I firmly pray for closure in this case and do believe that there is some chance michaela like jaycee may be alive

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  2. Dear SharonI read this article recently once again :http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/A-Mother-Waits-It-s-been-10-years-since-2977789.phpI feel humbled by what you said about this wicked man , you referred that this evil man who deserves no empathy or no FORGIVENESS ,believe me god will not forgive such an evil man for life who has given you so much pain and did not even own up to his crime …… you called this man a boy who was not cared for ….I am lost for words , could you elaborate what you meant here ?may god bless michaela as an angel in his lap and may this evil evil man rot for hell in eternity …I pray this in the name of my god and hope and pray you find this perpetrator

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  3. Anonymous,Are you the one has posted cruel messages? And what's with the cryptic “she's right under your noses” post? If this is your idea of a joke, to torment someone who is living out every parents worst fear? If so, stop. Find a hobby, take your meds, whatever. Just stop! One the other hand, if you know something, COME FORWARD! Are you afraid? If you need support , I'll find you support. I'll meet you at the police station, walk in with you, and walk out with you. I'll find you a minister, a therapist, a victims rights advocate, an AA sponsor, anyone that can be of help to you in coming forward.

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  4. Sharon…I don't know how you deal with it. All the armchair sleuths…the cryptic nonsense…the time wasters. I wish you a sense of peace – and I wish your daughter home.

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  5. I am retired now, but I was an on duty law enforcement Officer working the day she was taken. I rushed down Mission Blvd to try to assist in the BOLO. For years I took note of any similar vehicles or persons that might possibly match the descriptions of the suspect, and did what I could on my own to check them out. I know of several Alameda County Sheriff Deputies that did the same, and several HPD Officers too. I don't know about all the others. But this is one case that I will remember forever. I can still hear the police radio traffic in my mind. This is of very little or no consolation to Michaela's family, but she is not forgotten by this now retired law enforcement Officer. You are in my prayers. I still hope she is found.

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  6. Sharon, I watched your daughter's case on Amazon Prime, they added it in the Unsolved Mysteries package. I am truly sorry you are going through this. I said a prayer for you. I know that doesn't even come close to helping, I'm sure you've heard it all. I've lost several people in my life the past 4 years. It breaks my heart to think I would have lost them as you lost your daughter. The not knowing is the biggest thing I don't know I could deal with it. You are a very strong woman. God bless you so much. I can't have children due to medical reasons, so my heart was captured by this story. I pray some day you learn what happened to your daughter.

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  7. This image has always haunted me. He looked just like a young man who worked in Vintage 1870, Yountville, CA,1988-89, I believe as a dishwasher in the bakery there. He had said his father was in prison as a leader of the Angles. He also had said one time his girlfriends mother accused him of kidnapping younger sister of girlfriend. He said he was part Indian but was white with Indian sounding last name possibly Whitebear/Whitehorse. He looked just like the sketch, stringy dirty hair, bad acne, and the face was very simular. What always stuck with me was how he changed his image right after the kidnapping poster went out, cut his hair, etc. He was about 18 I think and seemed nice and I just didn't want to accused someone unduly. But it's always stuck in my head. This may be nothing and I may be totally wrong, but maybe it's worth looking into

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  8. Ted Bundy was a really nice guy, too. He failed at one of his attempts to take a young woman, so they had a description: Name Ted, curly hair, drove a yellow Volkswagen. They looked at Bundy but they all said, oh no, he's too nice a guy, pillar of the community. He went on to kill many young women after that. Not sure what they can or will do at this point, but I'll pass this info on to our investigator Thanks.

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  9. I came upon your story tonight googling the abduction of Micaela Hunter in our country in 1994. My heart goes out to you and I will pray for you and the police to get insight and a break through in this matter.

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  10. Have you seen the drawing of “Tony”, one of the abductors of Johnny Gosch, that are on Noreen Gosch's website? Your sketch on this page looks incredibly similar to him, and the way that witness Paul Bonacci describes “Tony” matches as well.

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  11. That's because they used a composite painting that was done by a police officer's wife for our case. They have not always been honest about where the composite came from but that's the fact of the matter. My experience has taught me not to trust too much that they say, but as for the composite, it was done with no input from the eyewitness in Michaela's case, who later said that it was not accurate. So they Gosch people are basically using a composite of a nonexistent person.

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  12. Hi Sharon. Interesting to hear that about Noreen; where did she say the photo came from? There's an uncolored picture of “Tony” on her website which says it's from 1982, and it looks very similar to the uncolored sketch you posted above, though they're certainly not the same picture. I haven't seen Noreen post a colored sketch anywhere.

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  13. The sepia tone picture on her website is actually from the color composite. The black and white one was done for a book called Stalemate by John Philpin about the Bay Area kidnappings. He was trying to link a particular suspect, Tim Bindner, and took our black and white composite and basically cut the hair. All of these things were created from Michaela's case, and since Michaela was not kidnapped until 1988, they most certainly are NOT from 1982. Just another example of outright lies and misleading information. The “photo” that is supposed to be of Johnny tied up in the back of a van with a girl I am told was taken from a Russian television show. And I do not for a tiny second believe that Johnny showed up at her apartment, said hello, and then left again. I have been on television shows with Noreen and a panel of other mothers of missing children, and I remember she kept saying over and over again, “My son's case is the most famous kidnapping case ever.” I mean who cares? Obviously Noreen. It is very sad, heartbreaking, because we are talking about a real missing boy here, but his mother seems so concerned about attention to herself that she is willing to sacrifice the case by putting false and misleading information out to the public. It's a shame. Literally.

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  14. Thanks for pointing that out, I hadn't noticed that the sepia picture on Noreen's website is identical to the color composite, just recolored and stretched out. And it's really troubling to hear that Noreen would act like that in on a TV panel. It's making me reevaluate how I'd thought of her up until now. Do you know how the pictures of Michaela's abductor ended up being used for the Johnny Gosch abduction? It seems very strange, but suspect sketches notwithstanding, Paul Bonacci's description of Tony is quite similar to the uncolored picture in this post (which is, as you point out, more accurate than the composite).

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  15. Agree! Has there been any talk about Joseph James Deangelo being this little girls abductor? The sketch sure has an eery resemblance…

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  16. I don’t see the resemblance myself, and particularly not with actual photos from that time. He also would have been more than 20 years older than the description of Michaela’s kidnapper. But he is off the street and behind bars, which is what is important.

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