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.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Dean Runkle Never Had a Proper Teaching License

Here's a little bit of odd news that came across my desk last week. A new investigator working on the case told me that Dean Runkle never actually had a teaching license, even though he taught for something like 29 years in Vermilion and Amherst. He never went through the proper channels to obtain a permanent license. Instead, he got by on provisional licenses, which he updated every few years by altering the title of his position slightly. This is one of the ways he avoided ever being fingerprinted for his job. But then the laws in Ohio changed a year from his full pension and he was required to give prints to continue. That's when he refused and quit teaching, instead, eventually fleeing to a homeless shelter in Key West.

I'd be very interested to know why he was so afraid of being fingerprinted. Unfortunately, when police flew down to question him in Florida, they forgot to get his prints.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Cleveland Magazine Profiles Phil Torsney As He Hunts for Amy's Killer

Erick Trickey himself covers the story. It's a nice long profile of Phil Torsney, with some news Amy's case. Here's my favorite excerpt:

All the girls who received similar calls, including Amy, had visited the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center in Bay Village. In 1989, kids who visited the center signed a log book with their names and addresses. That could be a key to the case — or just a coincidence, since the nature center was a popular place for school field trips.