hours before last week's planned march for missing Los
Gatos resident Jeanine Sanchez Harms, police announced
they had retrieved the rug that disappeared from her
apartment two years ago.
Called the biggest breakthrough yet, the new
information brought a resurgence of hope to the family
and friends of the missing woman.
"We have a lot more promise than a year ago that
we'll have a successful conclusion to the case. When? I
can't tell you, but hopefully sooner than later," said
Capt. Alana Forrest of the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police
Police are still looking for two blue-and-white
striped sofa cushions and a blue slipcover that were
also discovered missing from Harms' apartment. In
addition, police now say they want to find the silver,
round-faced watch with stretch bands that Harms had
purchased from a Safeway store prior to Mother's Day in
They also want to talk to anyone who was near the
24-Hour Fitness gym on Hillsdale Avenue in San Jose
between midnight and 6 a.m. on July 28, 2001—the morning
after Harms disappeared.
Michael Schembri, an investigator with the Santa
Clara County District Attorney's office, said police do
not believe Harms was at the fitness center the night of
her disappearance. He declined to elaborate on how that
location is related to the investigation.
Harms, 42 at the time of her disappearance, was last
seen leaving the Rock Bottom Brewery in Campbell, where
she had had drinks with one man. She left the bar with
another male acquaintance. They returned to her
apartment, where he told police he left her asleep on
the couch around 12:30 a.m. Police have not named any
suspects in the case.
Authorities recovered the red and blue rug in
April—not long after they first announced they were
looking for it—and had been awaiting lab results to
confirm it belonged to Harms.
The person who came forward with the rug did so of
their own accord and is "absolutely not" a suspect in
the case, Forrest said.
"The rug was abandoned. They just happened to come
upon it," Forrest said about how the person found and
brought the rug back to their home soon after Harms
News of the rug's recovery came just hours before a
march through downtown Los Gatos last week to mark the
two-year anniversary of Harms' disappearance.
"I'm very happy. That pushes the investigation
further," said Georgette Sanchez, Harms' mother.
"I hope we don't have to have one of these marches
again next year," said Jesus Sanchez, Harms' father.
The Sanchezes say they don't believe their daughter
is still alive, and police have classified the case as a
homicide. At this point, the Sanchezes say they are just
hoping to bring the person responsible for their
daughter's disappearance to justice.
"We want to know where the remains of our daughter
are. We want to know exactly what happened," Jesus said.
A $15,000 reward is being offered to anyone with
information leading to the arrest and conviction of
Among the 100 or so people who came out for the march
was longtime friend Doug Griffith.
"She was just one of those people who made you smile
even if she was in a bad mood," he said of Harms.
Not everyone who came knew the missing woman. One
person who had never met Harms woke up at 6:30 a.m. to
make muffins before work so that she could pass them out
Wearing T-shirts depicting Harms' face and carrying
signs that read, "We love you and we want you back,"
marchers began and ended the one-mile trek through
downtown Los Gatos at the civic center. Along the way,
one marcher dashed across the street to hand flyers to
two pedestrians while another handed a flyer to a man
with his car window rolled down. Flyers were also left
on the windshield of cars parked along Main Street.
Attending the march were the mayors and police chiefs
of Los Gatos and Campbell.
"This is a community nightmare," Mayor Sandy Decker
said at the end of the march. "Someone has a clue hidden
inside they won't tell. The town of Los Gatos is asking
that someone to come forward."
More information about Harms can be found at http://www.findjeanine.com/. Anyone
with a tip should call the Los GatosMonte Sereno
Police Department at 408.354.8600 or its 24-hour
anonymous tipline at 408.395.1101.