Hayward and Dublin police yesterday were searching the home in unincorporated Antioch where Phillip and Nancy Garrido allegedly kept kidnap victim Jaycee Dugard for the past 18 years.
They were looking for a connection between the Garridos and the disappearances of two young girls in the late 1980s, Michaela Garecht and Ilene Misheloff, lieutenants from the two police departments said at a morning news conference held outside the Garrido home.
Michaela was abducted at age 9 from outside the Rainbow Market in Hayward on Nov. 19, 1988; Ilene disappeared from Dublin at age 13 as she walked home from school on Jan. 30, 1989.
Hayward police Lt. Chris Orrey said at the news conference that police have received more than 13,000 leads over the past two decades, but none that have panned out.
"On August 27, along with the rest of the world, we learned about the break in the Jaycee Dugard abduction," Orrey said.
As Hayward investigators heard more about that case, they were struck by the similarities to Michaela's kidnapping.
Those included the victims' ages and physical appearances and the manner of the abductions - Dugard and Michaela were both snatched off public streets in broad daylight, she said.
Orrey also said the description of the car used in Michaela's kidnapping was similar to a vehicle towed from the Garridos' property, and that photos of Garrido resemble a sketch based on a witness description from 1988.
Dublin police also saw similarities between Ilene's disappearance and the Dugard case, and both agencies obtained search warrants for the Garridos' home and a neighboring property.
"For 20 years we have been attempting to determine what happened to Ilene Misheloff," Dublin police Lt. Kurt von Savoye said. "There is no eyewitness who can say with certainty that she was abducted and the physical evidence to date has been limited."
He said a witness did see a car similar to the Garridos' vehicle around the time of the abduction, and that there were other parallels.
Von Savoye also referenced Garridos' criminal history, which includes a prior kidnapping and rape conviction.
"People who commit these offenses tend to be predators and tend to have multiple victims," he said.
He pointed out that Garrido had been released from prison a few months before Ilene's disappearance.
"At this point we cannot say that the Garridos are with certainty suspects in this case but certainly we've been unable to eliminate them as suspects," von Savoye said.
Michaela's mother, Sharon Murch, said Tuesday morning she planned to go to the Garrido home today with her 24-year-old daughter and 15-year-old daughter to support police.
"I know that they're conducting a very thorough search today," she said. "They're out there searching the property with an eye to Michaela's case and I guarantee they're not going to leave any stone unturned."
Murch has recorded the emotional years since Michaela's disappearance on the Web site http://www.missingmichaela.com.
Hayward and Dublin police said the search could take days. The Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office and the FBI are assisting.