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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Homemade Curtain May Be Key Evidence In Amy Mihaljevic Case





The press conference in Bay Village just wrapped up and boy was it a doozy. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty was there, along with Chief of Police Mark Spaetzel and retired FBI agent Phil Torsney (who has been working on the case for some time).

There is new evidence in the Amy Mihaljevic murder investigation - a homemade curtain and a blanket found on the road where Amy's body was discovered in 1989. These items were found a ways down the road from her body and until now they were not sure that they were linked to the crime. But they recently tested dog hairs found on the fabric and determined that they matched hairs taken from the dog Amy owned at the time.

What does this mean? Well, lots.

First, it's very important to note that they are not saying the curtain and blanket came from the Mihaljevic residence. The dog hair traveled on Amy's body and deposited onto them because the curtain and blanket were likely used to wrap her body during travel.

The curtain is homemade, and was originally Avocado green. Someone stitched this together inside their home and hung on their tall, narrow window. Someone missed this curtain when it was gone - or at least noticed it was missing.

Other fibers and hairs were discovered on the curtain and blanket as well, meaning they may be able to link these items to the killer and his home in the future.

So, take a look. Remember back to 1989. Did you see this curtain hanging in someone's house? Did it go missing? Is this the sort of curtain someone you knew would have made?

36 comments:

Lynn Crevda said...

Thats a lot of years for someone to remember someones curtains..it mite not have been hanging on a window, someone could have used it in a doorway to block off air conditioner ?? This evidence should have been shown when they found it.

JokefrogProductions said...

I agree with Lynn. Not knowing if it was connected or not shouldn't have mattered. They simply could have asked if anyone recognized the curtain back then. Then some leads may have come up... Who remembers what curtains someone had on a window nearly 30 years ago? Or whether it went missing? At this point, I couldn't tell you what curtains I had before my current ones let alone someone else's curtains.

Tbrown said...

Exactly. Why wait 26 years to show this? Related or unrelated. Dog hairs- no dog hairs. Just get it out there. The killer is very thankful they waited this long.

Steve Moluse said...

I just finished a book titled Bogeyman.(by Steve Jackson).In January 1985 child killer David Elliott Penton stalked elementary schools, neighborhoods and playgrounds looking for young girls to abduct, rape and murder. He took his victims across county lines to hide their body in an effort to create jurisdictional problems. He has ties to several Texas and Columbus Ohio cases, and based on the time lines, he was unaccounted for in 1989. I assume someone has ruled him out but it is intriguing to read some of the similarities. His picture is very similar to the sketches posted of Amy's killer.

damfino said...

I think this may have been an amazing clue to reveal back in 1990. I completely understand they wanted to be sure it was linked... but as others said, I have a hard time remembering my own past curtains, let alone curtains someone may have had in 1989.

This will be a big break if:
The person who sewed this curtain is still alive and remembers it
Someone has a matching curtain packed away that they've wondered about
Someone happens to recognize it from the background of an old photograph.

These kinds of fabrics could have easily been used as garage blankets, bought at garage sales to use to lay on the floor while you work on a car, or kept in a trunk for similar reasons. In those cases probably nobody would have seen them but the killer.

C said...

I was just thinking that while I can't remember my bedroom curtains from 1989, I might remember them if someone showed one to me (or if had one that matched it.) I'm not sure if I am seeing the curtain clearly, but since they say it is clearly handmade, I think it looks like it was made from a single bed quilt and mostly likely made as one of a pair. You can imagine one right next to it and see the two main panels as the top two thirds of a bed quilt. Then the top curtain sections (which I understand are perpendicular quilt patterns to the bottom curtain panel) were cut, side by side, from the bottom of the quilt. Someone who made them might have used this general pattern for making curtains from a bed quilt more than once. Hoping there is a match or a jogged memory, and that person is willing to come forward.

Janice Price-VanDyke said...

They should have presented this as a possible clue back when they found it then investigated any leads and if they went nowhere just dropped this evidence. I hope I'm wrong but I bet no one will recognize these in this condition and after so long a time.

lexy_nesbitt said...

Steve, I read that book too... One of my favorite cases. Good connection! The big discrepancy is the patient, methodical strategy of calling/luring Amy vs. Penton's tendancy for impulsive crimes of opportunity. But he was a shitbag easily capable of the horrific murder.

Frankie44138 said...

What is they know exactly where this curtain came from and who it belonged to? Maybe in 1989 they did not have the technology to prove it and now they do. Could it be they are trying to rattle someone into making a mistake?

Christy Chase said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan Frerichs said...

So Runkles family has passed away? So no way to tie the curtain to his family members?

chefsgirl said...

My thoughts are that they are homemade because standard curtain sizes would not fit the windows and custom draperies were not in the price range. Probably came from one of the old farmhouses in the area built at a time when windows were taller than they are now. Plus, it's probably one of two panels, so the window doesn't necessarily have to be narrow. No one uses one panel tab tops! I am also guessing that these were made by a female which maybe completely sexist of me, but hey, it is what it is. That having been said... It leads me to believe this person had a female in his life that was quite unsuspecting of any odd behavior on his part (think back to Ted Bundys girlfriends) OR, she is aware and is afraid of him. I really hope this leads somewhere. Being from the area I was aware of this case as a little girl and I remember watching the news hopefully, praying for her safe recovery. When they found her body I was changed forever and a part of my innocence lost, having realized how ugly the world can really be, and how unsafe for young girls like I had been.

tomahawkpilot said...

What has tall, narrow windows? 1. Farmhouses 2. Nord Junior High School. Remember, Runkle blocked the windows in his room to control lighting for his zoo. He also had some ugly old furniture in the back room. I still hope it wasn't him, though.

tomahawkpilot said...

What has tall, narrow windows? 1. Farmhouses 2. Nord Junior High School. Remember, Runkle blocked the windows in his room to control lighting for his zoo. He also had some ugly old furniture in the back room. I still hope it wasn't him, though.

Anne said...

In his opening remarks Prosecutor McGinty mentioned the recent convictions resulting from DNA matches yielded by the hundreds of untested rape kits that are finally being analyzed. Spatzel confirmed that they had taken DNA samples from several suspects. The lead-up to this announcement (and the presence of the Mihaljevic family) portended a BIG break in the case, possibly some kind of DNA match. Then they reveal - a dog hair match. I'm not a forensics expert, but was it not possible to positively match dog hair to dog hair 25 years ago? Could it be that the dog hair scraped off this curtain in 1990 has been sitting in an evidence bag - untested - for all these years?

IrishEyes said...

DNA testing has been around for a long time. Why now? Did they finally get a match?

April said...

In a 2012 blog you posted that you interviewed a woman that worked with Runkle "making aprons" does that mean sewing ..... Could this be a link?

April said...

In a 2012 blog you posted that you interviewed a woman that worked with Runkle "making aprons" does that mean sewing ..... Could this be a link?

Dani Smith said...

My Mom sewed a set of curtains. I was a little girl & we only used them for a few years but I would still notice the curtains straight away if shown a picture. Remember, If you're frequently in a house & all of a sudden curtains are put up or taken down its easy to notice. If you visit a home that suddenly has more natural sunlight than before....think back to the curtains that were there before.

Kristina Woods said...

But wasnt he hired in at nord AFTER the murder?

Kristina Woods said...

But wasnt he hired in at nord AFTER the murder?

Inspector Gadget said...

Couldn't they check his parents old house, to see if Windows or either side of entry door windows would match curtain size, or the apartment he lived in on west river rd at the time, possibly the home owner(I think a teacher also) made them

Jagtoon said...

A couple commenters have mentioned Runkle. It should be noted that at least one prime person of interest, who is not Runkle, lived in an old century farm house in Bay that has tall narrow windows. I'd like to believe investigators already know this. And of course, Ashland county,where other suspects lived, is filled with old homes with tall narrow windows.

My first reaction to seeing the crude stitching of the curtains, is that a man may have made them.

Jagtoon said...

People should remember that besides Runkle, they're are still other top suspects in this case. One not only lives in an old home, the home has decor that's of a similar theme to the items of Amy's the killer allegedly kept.

19 news is reporting the police and FBI believe the killer has some kind of link to Ashland, but I don't know how valid that report is, as they're the only station claiming that and I didn't here McGinty or the FBI say that.

I think the reason these items were released now, is not only because of the technology advances, but because they have new lead investigators who's looking at everything with fresh eyes.

Unknown said...

You guys...Bay Village and the FBI have been working on this case since 1989, you can look in RETROSPECT as to why they didn't offer this information as soon as they found it. Well, it's speculation, if police speculated on every little piece of evidence in every single case that it was connected to a crime, they'd have a lot of work to do and would never close any cases. It wasn't until recently that they were able to find a DIRECT link between those two items to Amy. That is why it took so long for them to release the information. It's better than nothing, and it shows that they are still working this case.

tomahawkpilot said...

If the police and FBI were smart enough to save hair from Jake the dog, I doubt they were dumb enough not to look for a connection to every scrap of trash they picked up from 1181. I suspect they couldn't prove the link at the time. Telling the public about possibly false positives is not good for the case.

Unknown said...

I did not read all the comments to see if this came up, but that looks like it would fit over the stationary half of a sliding glass door. I grew up one town over and lots op people had big sliding glass doors in the back family room of 70s style split levels and curtains like this to cut down on glare from sunlight on the TV.

Jason Kray said...

I did not read all the comments to see if this came up, but that looks like it would fit over the stationary half of a sliding glass door. I grew up one town over and lots op people had big sliding glass doors in the back family room of 70s style split levels and curtains like this to cut down on glare from sunlight on the TV.

Bryan Ramsey said...

It's too bad they're going to let Runkle live the rest of his life as a free man in Key West with all of the evidence that points at him...hopefully they get the DNA piece off the curtain to complete the puzzle

Dani Smith said...

Runkle's behavior is questionable but I'm not convinced he did it. I can't help thinking that its more likely to be a friend of Amy's father, a family member of one of her friends or a neighbor. This person was obviously comfortable enough to call & meet her in public...most importantly they had to have known her parents work schedule! I really hope they have the loser on their suspect list & that they didn't pass him over. It saddens me he's been free ALL these years & it also scares me that many people don't realize that it can be anyone...anyone that was close Amy should've been looked at regardless of a seemingly normal life & personality.

tomahawkpilot said...

I don't think it was someone close to Amy's father because several girls received calls like Amy's. The investigators don't think it was someone from town. They don't think she was held or murdered in Bay Village either.

a healy said...

I'm wondering if they did super glue fume test on these items to expose any fingerprints??? It is sad they waited so long to release this evidence.

a healy said...

I'm wondering if they did super glue fume test on these items to expose any fingerprints??? It is sad they waited so long to release this evidence.

Terrence Augustine said...

I remember this well. I was one year younger than she was. I was from North Olmsted and being close to bay village there were signs everywhere. Her photo at great northern posted. I've actually told my wife about this in the past. This was my lesson from my parents about strangers and how sad it was I caught the news at 9 years old the day the found her body. I hope they get this s.o.b someday soon. Just some answers. Can't imagine how the family coped with it

Josh Businger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Perkus said...

If she bled to death, and this curtain was used to transport her body to the dumping ground, shouldn't it have had her blood all over it? Unless she only came into contact with it before she was killed. Or unless she was actually killed by that road.