Thursday, June 04, 2015

Amy's Killer May Have Called Akron Girl in 1989

The key to solving Amy's case may be in finding out her relationship to the several other girls who received stalker called in 1989. Girls from North Olmsted also got a call from the man police believe to be Amy's killer in the fall of 89. Since then they have been trying to identify anyone who knew the girls from North Olmsted, and Amy from Bay Village. We may have to widen our search.

I was recently contacted by a woman from Akron, who was called by a man when she was a girl in 1989. "He told me that my mom had been doing really well at work and that he wanted me to help get her a nice gift. Maybe Neil Diamond tickets." The timing and the similarities to what the man said to Amy make me think this really could be the same guy.

At the time, the girl's mother worked as a realtor -- mostly in the Akron area, but sometimes parts of Cuyahoga County. The man on the phone also said he once watched this girl swimming at a pool in Tallmadge. They had recently visited the Cleveland Zoo.

Another interesting bit, which may be a weird coincidence or something more: this girl's mother worked with serial killer Robert Buell before his arrest in 1983. Buell visited her home at least once. I've always believed Buell did not act alone when he abducted and murdered Krista Harrison. The man I believed helped him is still free.

It's also worth noting that this woman contacted Bay Village police and FBI a few years ago to share her story but nobody called her back. Seems like a very good tip to me. I would go over this woman's life with a fine-toothed comb to see how she might have crossed paths with the girls from North Olmsted or Amy Mihaljevic.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Metroparks Director Altered His Schedule Around Amy's Case

In 2013, former MetroParks director Vern Hartenburg was the subject of several tips given to police by multiple sources, including MetroParks rangers. At issue was Hartenburg's strange past of sexual misadventures inside his parks.

We knew then that Hartenburg voluntarily committed himself to a mental health facility 10 days after Amy's abduction, in 1989. He told me, in person, that this was due to sexual urges and impulses he was afraid of. 

But a look at his timecards from 1990 reveals another anomaly in his routine. Generally, Hartenburg did not take much time off from work. But the week after Amy's body was found in Ashland County, he took sick days and vacation time.

It's worth noting that one of the things Amy and the girls from North Olmsted had in common was the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center, which was inside Hartenburg's park system. He also attended Amy's church. Oh, and he has a history of creepery.

As of 2013, Hartenburg said he had not been interviewed by detectives.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Can You Help Us Solve Amy's Murder?

Amy Mihaljevic was murdered 25 years ago. Since then, police have received thousands of tips and recently a retired FBI agent was assigned to the case. But it has grown cold, again. All that is missing is one last clue, one last piece of the puzzle.

A national news crew is in town, doing a piece on how social media can breathe new life into these old cold cases. Can we kick up a new clue while they're here and national attention is focussed on this mystery?

Can you help us find that last piece?

Here is what we know, so far:

- In 1989, Amy's killer called her when she was home alone, and pretended to be a coworker of her mothers. He asked Amy to meet him at the Bay Village plaza with the promise that he would take her to buy a present for her mother.

- Amy met the man in the plaza on Friday, October 27, 1989. Two classmates saw a well-dressed man whisper into Amy's ear and then lead her around the corner.

- Her body was found 3 months later in an Ashland County wheat field, 50 miles from where she disappeared.

- Several other girls received calls from Amy's killer before her abduction. These girls lived in North Olmsted, south of Bay Village.

- Fibers found on Amy's body trace back to a brown Pontiac.

- Her killer may have kept a number of items that were never recovered. Turquoise horse-head earrings; a Buick "Best in Class" binder; her backpack; her boots.

Here is a list of people who were questioned by law enforcement or considered persons of interest at one time or another.

Can you find that one missing clue? A new theory? A new connection we've never noticed before?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Don't Miss This Library Presentation!

If you're interested in the Amy Mihaljevic case, you don't want to miss my talk at the Morley Library in Painesville tomorrow (monday) night at 7 pm. I haven't spoken publicly about the case for a couple years but will update the case tomorrow. Why? Because CNN is coming to town to delve into the mystery. Their crew will be in for a few days this week. I'd like to fill up that room. Stop by if you can.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Runkle Quit His Job a Year Ago

Some belated news regarding a prime suspect in Amy's case. Dean Runkle quit his job managing the Wendy's on Key West last year, about the same time retired FBI agent Phil Torsney was actively investigating the case, again.

Also, a minor correction regarding Runkle. His sister, Diane, died of polio when she was six. Some people believed Dean was her twin brother. That is incorrect. She did have a twin but it was not Dean.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

How to Solve Amy's Case

Amy Mihaljevic would turn 36 tomorrow, if she had not been abducted and murdered on October 27, 1989. There has been new interest in this case this year but things have become stagnant once again and the case has never been colder. For what it's worth, here are 5 things authorities could do to help bring closure.

1. Run the DNA found on Amy's body through this new process to get an approximation of the man who left the DNA behind.

2. Fingerprint Dean Runkle. It should have been done years ago.

3. Re-interview the girls from North Olmsted who received phone calls from Amy's killer in the weeks leading up to her abduction.

4. Do a thorough and exhaustive search of all records at the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center. The logbooks at LENSC remains the most likely place where Amy's killer obtained her phone number.

5. Find the misplaced audio tape. Back in the early 90's, a man left a message on a girl's home answering machine, warning her that she would "end up just like Amy Mihaljevic." The parents turned the tape over to police and, somehow, Bay Village lost it. That girl's teacher? Dean Runkle.