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Vigil Marks 24 Years Since Hayward Girl Michaela Garecht Disappeared

HAYWARD (CBS SF) – Friends and family of missing Hayward girl Michaela Garecht, along with police, gathered Monday in front of the supermarket where she was taken 24 years ago. Meanwhile, police said DNA test results on a bone fragment that possibly linked to the case will be delayed.

Her mother, Sharon Murch, remembered her daughter, who would be nearly 34 years old today.

"That is what these gatherings for me are about. It's to remember Michaela, to reach out to Michaela and send her our love wherever she is," Murch said.

KCBS' Jeffrey Schaub Reports:

Murch, along with Hayward Police, had hoped DNA test results would be released this week on a bone fragment that was found earlier this year in a San Joaquin County well. The well is believed to hold the remains of victims of the so-called "Speed Freak Killers," a duo who were arrested in 1999 and convicted of killing four people during a 15-year murder spree.

Wesley Shermantine began revealing locations of the pair's victims from his San Quentin State Prison cell in January. His partner, Loren Herzog, who was on parole, committed suicide after being told about the revelations.

Back in October, Murch said that initial tests showed the bone appeared to be Michaela's but that the results were inconclusive because of the bone's condition. The bone was sent to a lab that specializes in extracting mitchondrial DNA in Arizona, which was scheduled to reveal by mid-November whether the bone was Michaela's.

However, as of Thursday Murch was informed the testing results would be delayed about another two to four weeks.

Lt. Roger Keener of the Hayward Police Department said because the Arizona lab turnaround was cost prohibitive, the fragment was shipped Tuesday night to a Bay Area lab in Richmond, which anticipates a three-week turnaround period for results.

"I've wondered if this might be the last year that we do this, although I think that probably, regardless of the results of the testing of that fragment, I'll probably still be here every year because I do this to remember Michaela," Murch said.

Garecht was 9 years old when she was taken from the parking lot of the grocery store on Mission Boulevard, just blocks from her home.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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