Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Amy, 1988

Here's another new picture of Amy, taken in the fall of 1988. That's her good friend Kristy Sabo standing next to her. On the other side of Kristy is the same woman from the previous picture--Ruth Diaz. "Aunt Ruth", as Amy and Jason called her, was a close friend of Margaret's, and spent a lot of time at their house, helping Amy cook supper or just playing in the back yard.

I sat down with Ruth last night for about an hour to discuss what she remembers about Amy. She said Amy's mood changed the week she was abducted. Ruth cut Amy's hair that week and remembers Amy asking her to "make me look pretty". She said Amy seemed very very sad that week, very irritable. Something was bothering her but Ruth couldn't get her to talk about it.

When Ruth first heard about Amy's abduction, she always wondered if it had something to do with the father of one of Amy's friends who also lived on Lindford.


Anonymous said...

Hi James-
I have lived in Los Angeles for about 12 years, but grew up in Westlake, Ohio.

A few nights ago, I couldn’t sleep and turned on an old 48 Hours episode, which caught my attention because it was about Jeff Krotine in Cleveland. Astonished that this man got away with murder, my insomnia got worse and I opened the laptop, Googled his name, and found your “Serial Killer” book site.

The name “Amy Mihaljevic” stuck out to me, so I clicked and was led to the Amy blog. I hadn’t thought about Amy in 20 years. I was 17 when she was killed, and my younger sisters were about her age. Memories came flooding back to me...My sisters and I used to spend a lot of time over the years playing in that Bay Square shopping center. My mom was on a bowling league there on Monday nights, and (mad that we were missing McGyver) we used to leave the bowling alley to play tag in the parking lot, go to Baskin Robbins and “walk across the pipe” over the creek just to the West. My Great Uncle Jerry was a Bay Village police detective and worked across the street, so we felt safe.

We also spent a lot of time at the “Bay Science Center” -- or Nature Center as you call it. In fact, my sister ended up working there and has now worked there for more than 10 years. My grandparents lived a block away from Amy, and I remember driving past her house when she was missing, just to see the candles burning in the windows.

Anyway...I ended up staying up all night and reading your blog, including all the comments, all the way back to the very first post.

The most significant thing I remembered, which could be entirely coincidental and have nothing to do with the case, was that I too received a strange phone call around that time.

I think it was late 1988 or early 1989, because I was about 15/16. I got a call from a man saying he was “doing research for Ohio State University.” He was “conducting a sex study” to determine the average sexual activity level of Ohio teenagers. Being young, I thought it was kind of funny and agreed to talk to him. He asked very explicit questions...had I ever performed oral sex, how old was I when I first had sex, etc. About 15 questions in all. I had little to no experience at that time, so I just kind of “played along” with his questions. When he was done, he asked if I “had any friends who might want to participate” in his research study. Again -- not seeing the icky-ness in this and thinking it was kind of humorous, I gave him the name and number of my two best friends.

When I told my mom about this call, she FREAKED out and immediately called the Westlake police. They took my statement, and the statements of my friends, and we never heard anything else about it.

Now than I am in my 30s, this old incident is much more disturbing to me. Somehow this man knew my phone number, name, and approximate age. He tailored his questions to my age (obviously he wouldn’t ask those same questions of a 10 year old).

I don’t remember ever writing my name and number down at the Science Center, but I was there a lot, so it’s possible I could have.

Even if this is completely unrelated to the Amy case, I thought the significant part was that he ASKED ME FOR THE NUMBERS of my friends. Being young and dumb, I willingly provided them. Could Amy’s killer have done the same? Could he have started with just one number, and the girls willingly gave out numbers and names of their friends? He kept working his way down the phone chain until he found one girl willing to meet him?

Could there be other old police reports (with old phone records) that people are overlooking because they haven’t previously considered connecting them to the Amy case?

It all gives me the creeps to know this could have so easily been me or my sisters, so I wanted to share my thoughts, with hopes they might help just a little. I think you are doing wonderful work. Please don’t give up. I have some additional thoughts/questions about the case after reading your blog, which I will post in a separate post. Sorry for the length.

Jennifer in Los Angeles

James Renner said...


I'd like to talk to you about this. I think it might be a very important tip. Please contact me at with your contact info. Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Hi James there is the name Jeff the psychic you had seen told you about the name Jeff. He told Amy to call home. Does Jennifer from L A know what he looks like blonde hair high forehead scare on face or mark left side. You wanted to talk to her, did you.

Anonymous said...

i just read that post of the lady who got the 'weird' phone calls. I remember getting several of these. When i would answer the phone a guy would ask me if i could 'keep a secret' I always hung up. I remember getting them a few times. I can't remember how old i was but i grew up in Bay and was friends with Amy. So, if i got the calls.. i'm sure she was getting them too.