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AMY MIHALJEVIC: 10 year old Abducted & Murdered in Bay Village, OH - 1989 - Who killed her?

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by Kimster, Nov 7, 2017.

  1. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member


    The FBI is offering a reward up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for the death of Amy Renee Mihaljevic.

    Amy Renee Mihaljevic was 10 years old when she was abducted from the Bay Village Square shopping center in Bay Village, Ohio, on Friday, October 27, 1989. Mihaljevic left her school on foot and headed to the shopping center, where she was last seen outside a business. She appeared to be waiting for someone. It is reported that a man approached Mihaljevic and put his hand on her shoulder as he walked her through the parking lot.

    Further investigation revealed that Mihaljevic had received a phone call prior to her abduction from an unknown person. That person arranged a meeting with Mihaljevic to assist the caller in selecting a gift to give to Mihaljevic's mother because of her promotion at "Trading Times Magazine."

    On February 8, 1990, Mihaljevic's body was discovered by a jogger in a field adjacent to Township Road 1181 in rural Ashland County near New London, Ohio. The body was dressed in clothing that Mihaljevic was last seen wearing. Three items - a turquoise horse earring, black ankle boots, and a black leather binder, were believed to have been with Mihaljevic at the time of her abduction and have never been recovered.

    Submit a Tip:
    Anyone with information concerning the murder of Amy Mihaljevic should contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI. You may also contact your local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.
    Field Office: Cleveland
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  2. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

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  3. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    BAY VILLAGE, Ohio -- Investigators believe that a homemade curtain found in a ditch in 1989 along with 10-year-old Amy Mihaljevic's body might hold clues to finding her killer.

    The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office held a press conference Thursday to announce the finding along with staff from the Bay Village Police Department, Ashland County Sheriff's Office and the FBI.

    Retired FBI Detective Phil Torsney was brought back to the case three years ago and found, among other evidence being re-examined, new significance to the curtain and a blanket that were found in a ditch alongside the road where Mihaljevic's body was discovered.

    Forensics investigators were able to match dog hair on the curtain as well as a blanket, which Torsney says is unique and appears to be hand-sewn out of a quilt fabric, to hairs investigators collected in 1989 off of Mihaljevic's dog, Jake.

    If the curtain or blanket can be identified, it could lead detectives to Amy's killer. Investigators have continued to work the case every year since she disappeared in October 1989, but have been unable to determine where she was killed.

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  4. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    At 2:10 p.m., on October 27, 1989, classes end for the fifth graders of Bay Village Middle. The school doors open, and here comes Amy Mihaljevic, dressed in green pants and a pale green shirt with lavender trim. Her dirty-blonde hair hangs, a little disheveled, over her earrings - turquoise horse heads, mounted on gold studs. She lugs a blue-denim book bag with red piping. Amy passes her blue antique bicycle, which she peddled to school that morning, and heads east on Wolf Road. She jogs a little to catch up with Olivia Masiak.

    Earlier that day, Amy and Olivia had sat together at a school assembly and listened to a rookie policeman named Mark Spaetzel give a "meet your friendly local officer" presentation. Spaetzel also discussed the dangers of strangers.

    "Can I walk with you?" asks Amy.

    "You never walk this way," says Olivia.

    "I'm meeting someone," says Amy. "I'm meeting a friend."

    They walk together until they reach the shopping plaza a quarter mile down the road. "This is where I'm at," says Amy, and walks alone across the nearly empty parking lot toward Baskin-Robbins. She waits outside, standing on a bench, twirling around a pole, her head down.

    A group of fifth-grade boys congregates at the corner of the plaza, by Bay Lanes. One of them spots the girl spinning around the pole, seemingly without a care in the world. "Amy!" he shouts.

    Amy ignores him. Another girl, Maddie, sees this and thinks the boy might be picking on Amy, so she keeps an eye on both of them to make sure nothing happens. And then Maddie sees the man.

    He wears a beige windbreaker with plaid lining, front-pressed khakis and a button-up shirt. His hair is thick and bushy above his eyes. She watches as he walks up to Amy and puts a hand on her back. He leans down to whisper something in her ear. Then the man puts an arm around Amy's shoulders and leads her away.

    Maddie assumes it's Amy's dad, picking her up after school, but only because she had never met Amy's father. Three and a half months later, Amy's body was found near New London, Ohio.

    In the years since Amy's abduction, Maddie (not her real name) has been shown hundreds of photos of suspects. Only a few times has she told investigators that the man in the photo could be the same one who led Amy away. Recently, she saw a suspect's photo on the blog I've maintained since publishing a book about the unsolved case. "There have not been many [photos] that have been this close," she says. "I would definitely tell them to investigate this guy."

    Investigators from Bay Village and the FBI know of this man. At one time, they even seemed close to arresting him. But he remains free, managing a restaurant in Florida. Last weekend, I paid him a visit. His denials of involvement in her abduction and murder notwithstanding, no other suspect has ever matched the facts of the case as closely as Dean Runkle.

    There have been hundreds of suspects in this case - men, mostly, with shady pasts and weak alibis, vague connections to Bay Village or New London, histories of sexual misadventures. Many were just look-alikes, men who resembled the sketch circulated by police but who otherwise could not be linked to the crime.

    Others included odd people who lived near the Mihaljevics; parents of Amy's closest friends; convicted sex offenders who were not yet in prison at the time of her abduction. Many of these men have no alibis for the afternoon of October 27, 1989. But only a handful crossed paths with each of the girls the abductor attempted to seduce over the phone before successfully luring Amy to the shopping center that day - the clue upon which the entire case hinges, the one way in which the killer was careless.

    Sometime that week, a man had called Amy at home, after school, when she was there alone. I work with your mother, he told her. She just got a promotion. If you meet me at the plaza after school, I'll take you shopping to pick out a present for her. But don't tell her what we're doing. We want it to be a surprise.

    But Amy told her brother, Jason, and her friend, Kristy Balas, about the phone calls. Investigators would later figure out that Amy was not the only girl who had received such phone calls around the same time. There were at least three others.

    These other girls went to school in North Olmsted and were roughly the same age as Amy, about 10 or 11. In the weeks leading up to Amy's abduction, a man called them at home, after school, and pretended to be a co-worker of either their mother's or father's. He told them he needed their help to pick out a present and asked them to come with him to the store. None took the bait. But with each attempt the killer refined his pitch, until, finally, he called Amy and she agreed to meet.

    How did Amy's life cross paths with the lives of three girls from North Olmsted she had never met? At that intersection is her killer.

    For 19 years, the FBI and the Bay Village Police Department kept the identity of these other girls a secret. None had ever talked to a reporter, until they found me in 2006.

    At that time, they told me that on the week of St. Patrick's Day in 2005, a retired FBI agent who worked on Amy's case contacted each of the girls from North Olmsted. He seemed excited about a new lead. He asked each of them if they remembered visiting the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center in Bay Village. The center had been one of Amy's favorite places. It was only then, in 2005, that investigators first learned that each of them had gone to the nature center in the weeks leading up to the abduction. He asked them if they remembered writing their names and home numbers in a logbook by the front doors. A couple thought they had. He gave them the name of a suspect and asked if it sounded familiar. It didn't.

    By the time these women sought me out in 2006, they had forgotten the name. From conversations with the nature center's staff (I had donated some of the book's profits to the organization, in memory of Amy, and so had reason to talk to them occasionally), I learned that Bay Village Det. Mark Spaetzel and a retired FBI agent had interviewed employees about a man who might have volunteered there in 1989. Again, no one remembered the name. Then, in August 2008, a man named Tony Perchinsky called to tell me that he'd heard from a local cop that the man who'd been Perchinsky's eighth-grade science teacher in 1991, Dean Runkle, was a suspect in Amy's case. "And here's the weird thing," said Perchinsky. "He used to tell us about the science center he volunteered at. And I realized the nature center was in Bay Village."

    Much more at link -----------------> https://www.clevescene.com/cleveland/person-of-interest/Content?oid=1521263
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  5. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    Remembering Amy Mihaljevic: a Timeline of the Three-Decade Hunt for the 10-Year-Old's Murderer

    Nothing is more tragic than the senseless murder of a child. Amy Renee Mihaljevic was just 10 years old when her life was cut short in 1989. Bay Village, OH was shaken by the devastating case, and to this day police have still not found the heartless killer.

    Oct. 27, 1989 — Amy was kidnapped.

    Amy went to the Bay Square Shopping Center in the quiet Cleveland suburb on Oct. 27, 1989. She planned to meet a person who had contacted her by phone, asking for her help to pick out a gift for her mother. They told her that her mom had recently been promoted, and Amy was all too excited to celebrate. She told two different friends about the call, and let her mom know she would be home late but didn't tell her why. She was stolen from the shopping center, and went missing for nearly four months.

    Feb. 9, 1990 — Amy's body was discovered.

    Amy's body was finally found by a jogger in a field in Ashland County, OH, near the County Road 1181. Someone had taken her boots, backpack, earrings, and binder, and left yellow fibers on her body. Evidence suggested that she was dumped not long after she was abducted, and that she may have been raped. She was stabbed twice in the neck and hit in the head with a blunt object. Police were able to collect DNA to be used to find the killer in the future. They have done as many as 20,000 interviews over the past 29 years, but no one has ever been charged with the killing.

    2001 — Amy's mom Margaret McNulty died.

    Margaret had dedicated her life to preventing this kind of thing from happening to other children. She started a foundation to protect kids. Sadly, she passed away from Lupus at just 54 years old in 2001.

    2005 — James Renner began his own investigation.

    In 2005, Cleveland journalist began doing an investigation of his own on what was by then considered a cold case. He did his own research, asked the public for leads, and shared information previously not released by the FBI. Two years later he donated everything he had to the Department of Special Collections and Archives at Kent State University, in hopes that they could use it to find Amy's killer.

    November 2006 — The public learned that the killer tried to contact other girls.

    In the weeks leading up to Amy's kidnapping, the killer had apparently made similar calls to several other young girls in an attempt to lure them to their doom. The calls were from a man posing as a co-worker of the children's' moms, offering to buy a gift. They all came from unlisted numbers. It was then revealed that the one thing these girls had in common was that they all visited the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center, and may have left their contact info in a front-desk log book.

    Early 2007 — A suspect found legal counsel.

    Movement in the case reportedly came in early 2007, after police collected DNA samples from several suspects the year before. One of the longtime suspects retained legal counsel, which seemed like he may be expecting to be arrested. Some believed that this suspect could have been teacher Dean Runkle, according to James Renner. Eyewitnesses claimed to have seen him with Amy the day she disappeared, and many students reported that he talked about volunteering at the science center. However, he was never charged and denies any involvement.

    2017 — Amy's memorial marker was restored.

    Amy may have died nearly 30 years ago, but her community hasn't forgotten her. Michael Johns of Johns Carabelli Memorials chose to restore her fading memorial marker for free in 2017, saying to Cleveland 19, "I don’t think anyone in Cleveland doesn’t remember. Just a tragedy, how long it took, the questions, the hardship. We knew right away we could do something. If it’s not washed or cleaned periodically the weathering the dirt is going to collect on it and change its appearance." So touching! We can only hope that one day, Amy's killer will be brought to justice.


    [​IMG] [​IMG]
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  6. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    New focus on the 28-year-old Amy Mihaljevic murder case that haunts Bay Village

    It's a murder mystery that has haunted Bay Village police for nearly three decades.

    "Whoever did this was preying on the love this little girl had for her mother," said Bay Village Special Investigator Phil Torsney.

    Hundreds of investigators have followed thousands of leads into the abduction and murder of Amy Mihaljevic. Police have had hundreds of suspects but no arrests.

    On October 27, 1989, the 10-year-old got a call at her home from a man police believe she might have known. He persuaded her to meet him at Bay Square shopping center so they could buy a gift for her mother who had been recently promoted.

    Her body was found in Ashland County four months later.

    Tips are still coming in and people are being interviewed today about this case. Police are also going back and interviewing people who knew Amy's family or lived in the neighborhood when she was killed.

    "We're trying to use some of those tools we now have - forensic tools, web tools," added Torsney.

    In the area where Amy's body was found, investigators discovered a green curtain, which appears to have been made with a bed covering. Investigators believe that is crucial to this case.

    "We're trying to figure out who sewed it, where it was hanging, where it originated from. That would go a long way with information about this case."

    Police believe three items could lead to Amy's killer: horse head earrings, black studded boots and a black Buick binder with the words "best in class" on it.

    Both men believe this case can and will be solved.

    "I think he is lucky, and I hope his luck runs out," added Spaetzel.

    If you have any information about this case, even after 28 years, police would like to know about it. Call 440-871-1234 or email bvpd@cityofbayvillage.com

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  7. maude linn

    maude linn Member

    ^ Good article. Caught that on the ididitforjodie WordPress site the other day!
  8. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    Hello there! :welcome:

    I love scooters, too! :grin:
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  9. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    I recall reading about the nature center guy.. always wondered how he knew about Amy's mother's promotion. If it was that guy, he must have been stalking the family very closely to have known that... and to call the house on a day he could be sure of talking to Amy without her parents picking up, or asking questions.

    I always thought it must have been somebody really close to the family, but there's no accounting for how obsessive some pedos can be.

    I'd love to see this one finally solved, fingers crossed there's a break really soon.
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  10. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Ah... here's something I didn't know... the killer was calling a BUNCH of girls with the exact same message in another nearby suburb....(here's the bit I didn't know) some with --unlisted-- numbers.. and ALL calls were to girls who'd visited that nature centre.

    Okay, picture is much clearer now. So, how's this guy getting away with it?
  11. Uno2Much

    Uno2Much Bronze Member

    Did Amy's mom actually receive a promotion, or did the perp tell Amy that just to lure her and thus told her not to tell her mother she knew about the promotion so her mother didn't become suspicious?

    Regarding the killer calling the home when Amy picked up, I wonder if the family received a lot of hang up calls (when someone else answered)? Whether this guy stalked the girls over the phone or by watching their homes to learn the families' routines, shows how obsessed he was with finding a victim.
  12. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Pretty sure the promotion was a ruse... I read that other girls got calls re a 'promotion' -- so it seems very likely he was trawling off a list, hoping for a bite. Good question, about the hang-up calls, I'd lay bets on it.

    And that nature center list would have been real handy... no wonder they're eyeballing that guy hard.
  13. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    'Who killed Amy Mihaljevic': New podcast hopes to bring closure to family, Bay Village

    The mystery into who killed Amy Mihaljveic still haunts the town of Bay Village nearly 30 years later. But, a new podcast chronicling the crime is giving new hope to her family.

    "It doesn't take much to get me teary eyed trying to relive the past even after 29 years…almost 29 years,” said Mark Mihaljevic, Amy’s father.

    It's been nearly three decades of heartache for Mark Mihaljevic

    "It's a tough pill to swallow," she said.

    It’s been 29 long years since his daughter Amy was kidnapped from a Bay Village shopping center. It would be the last place she was seen before her body was discovered months later along a road in Ashland County.

    But now, he has new hope the case might still be solved. It’s thanks to a podcast created by independent reporter Bill Huffman.

    "Never giving up hope because of the people behind the scenes making it happen,” he said.

    Huffman created the new podcast "Who Killed Amy Mihaljevic." for very personal reasons.

    “I was supposed to go trick or treating that year,” Huffman said. “That did not happen."

    The podcast will chronicle the story from the very beginning. He talks to key players in the case on what's new and how close police are in solving it.

    "I just wanted to do something that I knew maybe provide some closure to a story that has basically haunted our childhood's lives,” he said.

    And for Amy's father, he hopes the right person is listening too.

    "It just takes that one person,” he said. “No one person can keep a secret for 29 years. "


    PODCAST LINK - https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/who-killed-amy-mihaljevic/id1414953512?mt=2
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  14. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    New technology could aide in the search for Amy Milhaljevic’s killer

    Amy Mihaljevic disappeared in October of 1989 from a Bay Village shopping plaza, and she has been the face and the name of the notoriously unsolved murder case since her body was discovered February 1990, near a remote road in Ashland County.

    But now?

    "This case will probably be solved within the next year," says author and journalist James Renner, sitting in his Akron home.

    Renner says he knows genealogists who can now link hair found on Mihaljevic's body to her killer.

    "Up until last year, DNA was black and white," he explained. "Now two women in California...figured out a way to plug DNA into genealogy sites, and you can find the suspects second or third cousin who may have updated their data into 23andMe or Ancestry.com, and you get a good genealogist who can work back the family tree to figure out who the likely suspect is."

    Channel 3 News hasn’t heard back from Bay Village Police yet, but according to Renner, "the Bay Village Police Department and FBI have reached out specifically to these women in California.

    "They are on the case. The DNA is there. Detectives are on the case. These women are involved and it's all full speed ahead."

    Renner believes Bay Village is going to solve the case "soon."

    "They have the DNA, we've got this new technique, this guy is out there and he should know that the police will be knocking on his door, he said. "One way or another, these are the last days of the Amy Mihaljevic case."

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  15. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    Unsolved Amy Mihaljevic kidnapping and murder case to be featured on TV

    The unsolved 1989 kidnapping and murder of 10-year-old Amy Mihaljevic will be featured on Investigation Discovery (ID).

    “The Lake Erie Murders: Who Killed Amy Mihaljevic?,” a three-hour special, will premiere at 9 p.m. Dec. 30. Four subsequent weeks of standalone episodes — about cases of young girls and women who were found murdered around the Great Lake area — will air starting at 10 p.m. Jan. 6.

    Investigation Discovery said its upcoming TV special “takes viewers through the facts of the case and painstakingly follows how each lead was exhausted and how suspects were dismissed one by one.”

    “In a chilling revelation, the special also features multiple women with stories similar to Amy’s when they were also young girls, who have chosen to remain anonymous due to the fear that the abductor is still out there. The hours expose a series of other child murders in the area to explore potential similarities to Amy’s case, in the hopes that the details will help bring forward new leads and suspects.”

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  16. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    I don't get ID on my cable channels. Let me know if the episode gets released online!
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  17. Mel70

    Mel70 Bronze Member

  18. Blue G 3

    Blue G 3 Well-Known Member

  19. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks @Blue G 3 !!!

    From your article link -

    Two witnesses said that they saw Amy outside the shops with a white male, aged 20 to 30, 5'7" to 5'10", medium build, dark hair, maybe wearing glasses. One person saw them talking, the other observed what appeared to be the man leading Amy toward the parking lot. They just assumed he was her dad, or at the very least they didn't suspect anything was amiss.

    "Don't rule anybody in, don't rule anybody out based upon those composite drawings 'cause the accuracy of those is pretty suspect," Bay Village Police Chief Mark Spaetzel said on Crime Stoppers Case Files: Northeast Ohio in 2012.

    "...Specific features of those composite drawings may not be accurate at all. They had no reason to take specific note of this person, yet the next day they're asked what he looks like and you can imagine the difficulty in trying to remember specifics about the shape of the face, hair color, glasses, no glasses, unshaven, shaven, color of the hair and so forth. Very difficult for an adult to do that, let alone a couple of 10-year-olds."
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  20. Blue G 3

    Blue G 3 Well-Known Member

    You're Welcome.
    spike likes this.

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