Details of Disappearance Harms met her friends at Bucca di Beppo's in the Pruneyard Shopping Center in Campbell, California on July 27, 2001. She said that she had a date at 7:00 p.m. and was just passing time until then. Harms and her date went to Court's Lounge with a group of people during the evening. They returned to Rock Bottom Brewery in the shopping center later and smoked marijuana in the parking lot with Maurice Xavier Nasmeh (pronounced "NESS-muh") and a friend of Nasmeh's. A photograph of Nasmeh is posted with this case summary. He was an architect from San Jose, California. Harms went to her home with him later that evening. He told authorities that he followed her to her residence on Chirco Drive in Los Gatos. Harms was driving her black 2000 Ford Mustang with silver stripes. Nasmeh stated he departed from Harms's home between approximately 12:30 and 1:00 a.m. He said that she was drowsing on her sofa at the time and he didn't notice unusual activity around the residence. She has never been heard from again.
Harms's friends and family became concerned when they failed to reach her over the following weekend. Her cellular phone had been turned off. Her loved ones said it is uncharacteristic of Harms to not contact anyone regarding her plans. The authorities were summoned to her home to file a missing person's report on July 30. A neighbor of Harms told authorities that he heard a "loud, percussive sound" in the vicinity of her apartment after midnight the day she disappeared. He said he saw a bald man, about 40 years old and with a mustache, drive away from the apartment afterwards.
There was no sign of a struggle inside Harms's residence. Her car was parked outside, but her cellular phone, a brightly colored Nokia model, her purse, which is described as black in color with a short handle, and her keys were missing. A red and blue Persian-style five foot by seven foot area rug with white fringe, slipcover and cushions from her sofa were missing. Photographs of items similar to the ones missing from Harms's apartment are posted with this case summary. The couch cushions that are missing are approximately 22 inches square and 6 inches thick.
In December 2004, three and a half years after Harms vanished, police arrested Nasmeh and charged him with her murder. He had been a suspect in the case since the onset of the investigation, but had hired an attorney and refused to cooperate. Investigators say they got a break when a woman came forward and said she had found Harms's Persian rug rolled up in a dumpster at a construction site half a mile from Nasmeh's home. (The other missing items have not been located.) The county crime lab found fibers from the rug in Harms's apartment and in the bed of Nasmeh's 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Fibers from a crafts rug Harms was making were also in Nasmeh's car. He also matched the description of the man seen driving away from her apartment the day she disappeared.
In June 2007, a judge dismissed the case against Nasmeh because, he ruled, prosecutors had violated his right to a speedy trial. Nasmeh had been incarcerated since his 2004 arrest and had yet to be tried for Harms's murder. He had a right to demand a trial within 60 days and he did so, but the prosecution was not ready because they needed to retest some of their evidence. (The technician who testified at Nasmeh's preliminary hearing had failed proficiency tests in fiber analysis.) Prosecutors stated they planned to refile the case, but Nasmeh remained free without charges for the next three and a half years. In January 2011, Harms's brother, Wayne Sanchez, confronted him in a San Jose shopping center and accused him of murdering his sister. Sanchez shot Nasmeh to death in the parking lot and then took his own life.
In August 2011, seven months after Nasmeh's murder, prosecutors announced the evidence tests were finally done and the results proved their theory that Nasmeh had murdered Harms. Investigators now consider the case closed, except for the possibility of recovering her body.
Harms was employed at the Amdahl Corporation in Sunnyvale, California in 2001. She is described as a responsible and dependable individual. Her family believes that foul play was involved in Harms's disappearance. She was in the process of a divorce in 2001, but it was described as amicable and Harms and her estranged husband remained friends. Foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.
- Los Gatos Police Department
Updated 5 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated August 24, 2011; details of disappearance updated.