Cold Case Arrest Took 32 Years to Solve, but Families Never Lost Hope: 'Acts of Kindness Sustained Us'
Authorities in Northern California have announced a break in a double homicide cold case that's more than three decades old.
Fremont Police Department investigators said Monday that charges have been filed against an already imprisoned man named David Misch in the 1986 murders of 18-year-old Michelle Xavier and 20-year-old Jennifer Duey.
Misch's arrest was 32 years in the making, but the victims' families said they had held on to hope the entire time.
"The Xavier and Duey families wish to thank the Fremont Police Department and all of the officers and detectives who worked countless hours during the past 32 years on our daughters’ case,” a joint statement from both families read. "We wish to extend our appreciation to our many friends in the community who supported us, stood by us, and prayed for us during those most difficult years. Numerous unexpected acts of kindness sustained us.”
All those years ago, on the night of Feb. 2, 1986, the bodies of the two best friends were discovered by a passing motorcyclist after midnight along a dark road.
Earlier in the evening, the women had attended a birthday dinner for a family member and were last seen together around 8:00 p.m. at a convenience store. Their personal belongings, including purses and identification, have never been found.
The women had been shot and stabbed in the hours prior and the highly publicized slayings left the community rocked to its core.
In the aftermath of the murders, a reward of $35,000 was raised by community members and posters soliciting tips could be found throughout the City of Fremont.
Police dedicated extra resources and manpower, sparing no expense to investigate the case and, while several people of interest were identified and interviewed over the years, detectives would rule most out.
The case eventually went cold.
Fast forward to 2016, when a position was created to focus on Fremont cold cases. Det. Jacob Blass began to re-examine case files, as well as several pieces of evidence, including those that had been processed for DNA in recent years.
The results of the evidence identified the main suspect in the murder of Xavier and Duey as David Emery Misch, Fremont police said in a statement.
"Misch lived in the area at the time and was a known commercial burglar and drug user," cops said. "We do not believe the women had any history or contact with Misch, prior to the incident."
In August of 2017, Det. Blass presented the case and evidence to the District Attorney’s Office and this past Friday, the DA filed two counts of murder on David Misch in Alameda County.
"The Department is grateful to be able to provide this level of closure and consolation to the victims and our community," Chief Richard Lucero said. "Generations of investigators have carried this case and the interest of the families has never faded from their priority over time."
David Misch is currently incarcerated and serving 18 years to life for a 1989 homicide that occurred in Alameda County. He's due to be arraigned later this week.
The Xavier and Duey families, meanwhile, are still watching.
“We now wait for justice and hope you will continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers," their statement read.