Woman is still missing after night out on town
Home of former Cupertino resident may show foul
By GLORIA I. WANG
Cupertino resident Jeanine Harms, the woman who was reported
missing from her Los Gatos home on July 30, is characterized by
family and friends as a responsible woman who is well-known and
never, ever not showed up or not called in," said Janice Burnham,
Harms' close friend of 27 years.
oldest brother, Craig Sanchez, says that his sister is an outgoing
and social person. "She's just one of those people that others
take to right away," Sanchez said. "She loves making new friends."
42, has not been seen since the night of July 27, after a male
friend left her Chirco Drive duplex.
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 Burnham, and they "hit it
off instantly," Burnham said. Burnham was even engaged to one of
Harms' brothers for five years, and now her daughter is best
friends with Harms' niece. "Were just kind of like extended
family," Burnham said.
on in high school, Harms met Campbell resident Loretta Meyer,
another lifelong friend.
was always a real prominent fixture at Prospect," Meyer said. A
popular and outgoing figure on campus, Harms always dressed in the
latest fashions, wearing "micro-mini" skirts and having perfectly
coordinated nail polish. "She instantly befriended everyone she
met," Meyer said.
graduation, Harms became a part-time student at San Jose State
University and earned a bachelor's degree in liberal arts.
According to Meyer, Harms' neighbor was a purchasing manager at
Amdahl, a local high-tech company and was looking for someone to
fill a buyer's position. Harms, fresh out of college, took the
position, and had since then "worked through the ranks" in her 12
years at the Sunnyvale company.
Approximately six years ago, Harms married Randy Harms. The
two lived all over the Bay Area until they fell in love with the
resort town of Discovery Bay, just north of Tracy, and purchased a
house there. Harms commuted daily to Sunnyvale for three months,
until her marriage fell apart.
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. But Meyer added
that it has been an "amicable divorce," and that the two have
the separation, Harms moved back in with her parents for a time
and then lived with Burnham at her Campbell home 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.
moved in April. Meyer said she visited the place at the time and
told Harms she was lucky. "All of us knew it was a safe
neighborhood; it was an up-scale neighborhood," Meyer said. Meyer
joked with Harms, saying, "You could sleep with your door wide
open and nothing would ever happen to you."
Although Harms is described as having an active social
life, her friends said that she loved her job and worked hard.
Harms, Meyer said, often joked that she would have to be dragged
out of her seat if the time ever came for her to leave the job.
Meyer said that Harms learned very quickly at Amdahl and grew
friendly with different vendors she'd encountered at the job;
since her disappearance, various vendors have contacted Amdahl and
volunteered to contribute to a reward fund.
very responsible, very punctual," Sanchez said.
addition, Meyer said that Harms is "spunky," 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. "She's an easygoing warm person and a beautiful
woman too," Burnham said.
27, Harms sat at a table at Bucca di Beppo's in the Pruneyard in
Campbell, keeping Burnham and a friend company. She had a date at
7 p.m., Harms told Burnham, to have drinks with a man she didn't
know very well and wasn't intending to spend too much time with.
They were meeting 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 and listen to music.
Instead, police reports indicate that Harms and Wilson went
to Court's Lounge in a group, returned to Rock Bottom, where Harms
left with another man who has been interviewed by police. The two
returned to Harms' house at around 10 p.m., and the man left at 1
tried to call Harms several times during the weekend because Harms
usually calls and reports how the date went. Burnham says that she
left several messages on the answering machine and tried calling
Harms' cell phone, which was turned off. "Then I started getting
really worried," Burnham said.
Burnham called Amdahl on Monday morning looking for Harms, they
told her that she had not shown up. Burnham, Harms' parents and
her brother Wayne, and the friend who owned the duplex went to
Harms' place on Monday morning. They noticed her car was at the
house, but Harms was missing. They then called the police.
Gatos-Monte Sereno police found that some of the items in the
house had been moved or removed "in such a way that they could've
been consistent with foul play," said Sgt. Kerry Harris. Police
are not releasing that information because "if there is a suspect
involved, we want to have some things that only the suspect will
know about," Harris said.
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, "we had literally hundreds of callers
and people coming by offering assistance."
husband, a private investigator, was contacted by the Sanchez
family. Meyer heard about her friend's disappearance from her
husband. "The pit of my stomach just dropped, just fell," Meyer
said. "I'm preparing myself for the worst, but I'm hoping that we
find her and she's alive."
days after the disappearance, different organizations were
mobilized in their rescue efforts. Police put out a missing person
teletype all over the county and state, and the investigation is
continuing with the use of the 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 showed a clip concerning
friends and co-workers have volunteered their time to help out;
Amdahl is in the midst of establishing a reward fund.
Sanchez, the family spokesman, says that his cousin, Josh Golden,
immediately volunteered to set up a website, at findjeanine.com.
"I can feel glad that we were able to keep moving so quickly,"
Sanchez said. The family, Amdahl and police are coordinating their
efforts to print out a flier for distribution.
and his brother also visited Harms' favorite restaurants and bars
in Los Gatos and Campbell. Sanchez said that the staff at places
such as Steamer's, California CafÚ and Tapestry all in Los Gatos
knew Harms as a regular customer. The family had, in fact, had
dinner at Tapestry the evening before Harms' disappearance.
and Meyer have spent every evening at the Sanchez family home,
keeping Harms' elderly parents company. "It's fortunate that Craig
was out here," Meyer said. "He is trying to shield the Sanchezes
from as much grief as possible."
has helped with the fliers and is working with the media.