August 8, 2001    Campbell, California

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    Jeanine Harm

    Jeanine Harms


    LG woman disappears after Pruneyard visit

    By Gloria I. Wang

    A woman who grew up in Campbell and attended Prospect High School has turned up missing after an evening at the Pruneyard Shopping Center.

    Jeanine Harms, reported missing from her Los Gatos home July 30, is characterized by family and friends as responsible, well-known and well-liked.

    Harms' oldest brother, Craig Sanchez, says his sister is an outgoing and social person.

    Harms, 42, has not been seen since the evening of July 27, after a male friend left her Chirco Drive duplex.

    Born Jeanine Sanchez in San Jose, Harms grew up in Campbell and is the youngest and only girl among three children. As a freshman at Prospect High School in 1974, she met Janice Burnham and they "hit it off instantly," Burnham said. The two have been close friends for 27 years. Later on in high school, Harms met Campbell resident Loretta Meyer, another lifelong friend.

    "She was always a real prominent fixture at Prospect," Meyer said. A popular and outgoing figure on campus, Harms always dressed in the latest fashions.

    "She instantly befriended everyone she met," Meyer said.

    After graduation, Harms attended San Jose State University and earned a bachelor's degree in liberal arts. Meyer said Harms' neighbor, a purchasing manager at Amdahl, a local high-tech company, hired Harms fresh out of college. Harms has since "worked through the ranks" in her 12 years at the Sunnyvale company.

    Six years ago, she married Randy Harms. The two purchased a home in Discovery Bay and Harms commuted to Sunnyvale for three months until the marriage fell apart.

    Harms and her husband have been separated for more than a year and are in the midst of divorce proceedings, with a family court appearance scheduled for next month, Meyer said. It has been an "amicable divorce," and the two remained friends.

    After the separation, Harms moved back in with her parents for a time and then lived with Burnham in Campbell for 14 months. About two months ago, a friend told Harms that she had a unit available for rent in her duplex on Chirco Drive in Los Gatos and was willing to rent it out for $900 a month.

    Harms moved in April. Meyer says she visited the place at the time and told Harms she was lucky because it was a safe neighborhood.

    Harms' friends say she loves her job and works hard. Meyer says that Harms learned very quickly at Amdahl and grew friendly with different vendors she'd encountered on the job. Since her disappearance, various vendors have contacted Amdahl and volunteered to contribute to a reward fund.

    In addition, Meyer said Harms is "spunky"--she has a wonderful sense of humor and is extremely extroverted. That, combined with her physical appearance--she is 5 feet 5 inches tall and has a great physique, her friends say--attract people to her all the time, especially men.

    On July 27, Harms had dinner with Burnham and another friend at Bucca di Beppo's in the Pruneyard. She had a date at 7 p.m., Harms told Burnham, with a man she didn't know very well and wasn't intending to spend too much time with. They were to meet at Rock Bottom Brewery, also in the Pruneyard. That man, later identified by police as William Alex Wilson III of Santa Clara, is not considered a suspect in the case. Harms indicated to Burnham that she planned to stop by a bar in Campbell later. Instead, police reports indicate that Harms and Wilson went to Court's Lounge in a group and returned to Rock Bottom, where Harms left with another man, who has been interviewed by police. The two went to Harms' house at around 10 p.m., and the man left at 1 a.m.

    Burnham said she tried to call Harms several times during the weekend and left several messages on an answering machine. She also tried calling Harms' cell phone, which was turned off.

    When Burnham called Amdahl on Monday morning, she was told Harms had not shown up. Burnham, Harms' parents and her brother Wayne, and the friend who owned the duplex went over on Monday morning. They went inside and found that Harms was not there, although her car was; they then called the police.

    Los Gatos-Monte Sereno police found that some of the items in the house had been moved or removed "in such way that they could've been consistent with foul play," said Sgt. Kerry Harris. Police are not releasing detailed information because "if there is a suspect involved, we want to have some things that only the suspect will know about," Harris said.

    Harms' other brother, Craig, was in town from Washington, D.C., on a family vacation when his sister was reported missing. "We were kind of in shock at that point," Sanchez said. As soon as the news leaked out, Sanchez said, there were literally hundreds of callers and people coming by offering assistance.

    Police put out a missing person teletype all over the county and state, and the investigation is continuing, with the use of K-9 units and the county crime lab. Print and broadcast media have aired reports with photos of Harms, and TV show America's Most Wanted was scheduled to show a clip of the disappearance. Harms' friends and co-workers have volunteered their time to help out; Amdahl is in the midst of establishing a reward fund.

    Craig Sanchez, the family spokesman, says his cousin, Josh Golden, set up a website, www.findjeanine.com. The family and Amdahl and police are coordinating their efforts to print out a flier for distribution.



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