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Amy Mihaljevic
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 4:20 pm    Post subject: Amy Mihaljevic Reply with quote

SEARCH FOR BAY VILLAGE GIRL GOES ON FBI ARTIST IS CALLED IN TO SKETCH SUSPECTED ABDUCTOR

Akron Beacon Journal
October 31, 1989


A 10-year-old Bay Village girl was still missing Monday, after
disappearing Friday, from a suburban Cleveland shopping center where she told friends she was to meet an unknown male friend of her parents.

A witness who told police that she saw Amy Mihaljevic talking with a man at the Bay Square Shopping Center about 2:30 p.m. Friday, was to describe the man Monday, evening to an artist from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington.

The artist was called in after local search efforts over the weekend failed.

Police from Bay Village and Cleveland and several FBI agents took part in
the search of the northwestern area of Cuyahoga County.

They asked questions, searched wooded areas and even dragged a lake near Amy 's Lindford Drive home.

Amy 's classmates told police that Amy told them a family friend whom she was to meet for the first time intended to take her shopping.

Amy apparently went to the shopping center after school. She is a fifth-
grader at Bay Village Middle School.

`We don't know who this guy is supposed to be. I just wish we did,' a
somber-sounding Mark Mihaljevic said Monday, about his daughter's suspected abductor.

Amy 's mother, Margaret, said that Amy had told her she was staying late
after school Friday, to attend a choir practice.

Mrs. Mihaljevic later learned that no practice was scheduled after school. Amy 's bike was found at the school.

Amy is about 4 feet 10, weighs about 90 pounds and has shoulder-length
blond hair.

She was last seen wearing a green jogging outfit, a white jacket, black
ankle boots with silver studs and turquoise earrings. She also was carrying a denim and red book bag.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the person involved.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 4:23 pm    Post subject: POLICE THINK GIRL, 10, MAY HAVE BEEN DUPED Reply with quote

POLICE THINK GIRL, 10, MAY HAVE BEEN DUPED

Akron Beacon Journal
November 4, 1989


Bay Village police are still investigating reports that a telephone ploy
used in the suspected kidnapping of Amy Mihaljevic , 10, had been tried twice before in the Cleveland area this year.

Police say Amy is thought to have gotten into a car with a stranger Oct. 27 after she got a phone call from a man who claimed to be a friend of the family.

Bay Village Police Chief William E. Gareau said Thursday, that similar calls were made to a North Olmsted girl in April and to a girl in an eastern suburb in March.

"In each case those girls hung up," Gareau said. "But the calls were very similar. We are looking for a common thread."

Investigators on Thursday, searched in woods near the Crown Water Filtration Plant in Westlake following a telephone tip, said Lt. Richard A. Wilson.

Searches were also conducted Friday, authorities said.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 4:25 pm    Post subject: LEADS FAIL IN SEARCH FOR MISSING GIRL, 10 Reply with quote

LEADS FAIL IN SEARCH FOR MISSING GIRL, 10

Akron Beacon Journal
November 7, 1989


Almost two weeks after 10-year-old Amy Mihaljevic disappeared from this
community, police and the FBI are trying to track down some 1,500 leads in the case, but said Monday, night they have nothing new to report.

More than 80 Bay Village, FBI and auxiliary police officers are working on the case and are trying to locate about 1,200 people who could have been involved with Amy's disappearance, said police Sgt. David Wright.

Police officers from other departments also have volunteered to help, as have dozens of concerned residents, Wright said.

Amy's disappearance has touched off a string of donations from the community, with everything from food to paper for the department's photocopier arriving at the Bay Village police station, Wright said.

A reward for information about Amy's disappearance has reached at least $13,000, Wright said.

Police believe Amy met her abductor at a shopping center after he tricked her into the meeting by calling her on the telephone and posing as a friend of her mother, Margaret Mihaljevic. Police believe he told Amy he was going to buy a present for her mother and needed her help in selecting it.

Bay Village police and the FBI have questioned a North Olmsted man who left work at noon Oct. 27, the DAY, Amy disappeared, and did not return. The man, who was not identified, was later released.

Lt. Richard Wilson said Sunday, the man is in his mid-30s and resembles the composite of the suspect in Amy's abduction. Wilson said the man voluntarily came to the police department for questioning Friday.

He declined to say what reason the man gave for leaving his job at a Westlake manufacturing plant and not returning on Oct. 27.

`He was a subject we talked to regarding this investigation. He came in voluntarily, and he cooperated with us, and he was released and went on his way,' Wilson said. Wilson did not say whether the man was still a suspect.

Police said Sunday, they are also looking for a man seen taking pictures of children with a video camera near Normandy School, City Hall and the Bay Square Shopping Center on Oct. 26 and 27. Amy was last seen at the shopping center at about 2:20 p.m.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 4:28 pm    Post subject: MORE THAN 35 AGENTS SEARCH FOR MISSING GIRL Reply with quote

MORE THAN 35 AGENTS SEARCH FOR MISSING GIRL

Akron Beacon Journal
November 10, 1989


Morale remains high among scores of FBI agents and police who hope old-fashioned police work will lead to a break in the two-week search for a missing 10-year-old Bay Village girl, authorities said Thursday.

FBI spokesman Robert Hawk said more than 35 agents are looking for Amy Mihaljevic. The girl disappeared Oct. 27 from a small shopping center in the upscale Cleveland suburb along the shore of Lake Erie.

Police and FBI agents returned Thursday, to a wooded area in Avon Lake, just west of Bay Village, for a further foot search. Searchers are focusing on the wooded area Amy frequently visited near a riding stable.

Slacks similar to a pair she wore have been found there, but investigators are not sure they belonged to the girl, Hawk said.

The focus of the investigation shifted Thursday, away from James E. Vachuska Jr., 28, a former Ohio man suspected in two Louisiana kidnappings after it was determined that he had a good alibi, officials said[/b]
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 4:38 pm    Post subject: A TIME OF HOPE AND FEAR BAY VILLAGE NEIGHBORS CLOSE RANKS Reply with quote

A TIME OF HOPE AND FEAR BAY VILLAGE NEIGHBORS CLOSE RANKS GIRL'S ABDUCTION 15 DAYS AGO PROMPTS NEW CAUTION, DISPLAY OF WHITE RIBBONS

David Adams
Akron Beacon Journal
November 12, 1989


Gone are the sidewalk skateboard duels and the bicycle-jumping contests in the Bay Village parking lot.

Gone are the deafening pre-adolescent screams and yells.

Youthful smiles of innocence have been replaced by the sharp stares of caution and wariness.

Kids used to wander by the Bay Square Shopping Center -- for years an after-school hangout for Bay Middle School pupils -- to buy ice cream and pizza, bowl a little or spend hours pouring quarters into video games.

The kids don't come around much any more.

Not since 10-year-old Amy Mihaljevic was apparently abducted Oct. 27 from in front of an ice cream parlor, across the street from the Bay Village Police Department.

The disappearance of the attractive, quiet, smart, horse-loving fifth- grader has gripped this lakeside community of 17,400, especially because of its long-standing reputation as one of Ohio's safest cities.

Not since the nationally publicized 1954 murder trial of Dr. Sam Sheppard has this sleepy, upper-crust bedroom community been so shaken.

Now parents hustle their children directly to and from school or bus stops. People lock their doors, and strangers are watched closely.

'It's like a nightmare,' Amy 's mother, Margaret Mihaljevic, said as she sat in her living room last week. 'It's like time has stood still. I've had a hard time remembering dates and time. Everything's topsy-turvy.'

Amy, who was in the gifted program at school, had told her mother that she was going to choir practice after school let out at 2 p.m. the day, she disappeared.

Shortly after 3 p.m., Amy 's older brother called Mrs. Mihaljevic at work to tell her that Amy was not home. Don't worry, she told her son, Amy 's at choir practice.

But Amy wasn't at choir practice. There was no practice that day, and Amy was not a member of the choir anyway.

'I don't understand it,' Mrs. Mihaljevic said. 'It's very unlike her to lie.'

When Mrs. Mihaljevic got home from work shortly after 5 p.m., Amy was still not home. Concerned, she went to the school and, with janitors, searched every room. Amy was officially reported missing at 5:58 p.m.

Amy was last seen at the U-shaped Bay Square Shopping Center between 2:15 and 3 p.m., getting into a car with a man believed to be in his mid-30s, police said.

Police found out from Amy 's best friend that she had said she was going after school with a friend of the family to buy a surprise gift for her mother, who had just been promoted at work.

Mrs. Mihaljevic has no idea who the man may have been.

The day, after Amy disappeared, a pair of sweatpants was found in a field next to the Holly Hills horse-riding farm in Avon Lake, where Amy used to ride. While police are awaiting confirmation, they believe that the sweatpants are probably Amy 's.

The city and surrounding areas have mobilized to find Amy:

* FBI agents are conducting one of northern Ohio's largest searches in years, questioning hundreds of suspects and possible witnesses. An estimated 2,000 leads have been followed up, taking authorities as far away as Minnesota and Louisiana.

*White ribbons, symbolizing support for Amy, are hung around hundreds of trees, mailboxes and porch posts throughout the city. There have been candlelight prayer vigils and Sunday, sermons asking for heavenly support in finding Amy. Counselors have visited her school, and police have been busy giving students safety tips.

* Hundreds of volunteers from Bay Village, nearby Westlake, Lakewood and Cleveland are searching fields and handing out fliers with pictures of Amy and sketches of the suspect. Local companies have donated money to print and mail nearly a million fliers. A base for coordinating the volunteers -- the ` AmyCenter' -- has been set up in a second-floor room at City Hall.

* Reward money of up to $13,000 is being offered.

Police say the search will never stop and Amy has a decent chance of returning home.

'We're making progress,' said FBI spokesman Robert Hawk. 'We're making a lot of progress and maybe we'll get lucky and solve this thing. You make your own luck.'

Phone lines at the police station have been jammed since Amy disappeared, especially since Amy 's disappearance was featured on three national television shows: Hard Copy, Inside Edition and A Current Affair.

Calls offering tips have come from North Carolina, Kentucky, Illinois, California, New York and Indiana.

By coincidence, a network crew was at the shopping center the day, before the abduction filming a segment about Cleveland. Police have received a copy of the tape and are going through it frame by frame looking for clues.

Last week, FBI agents combed about 1,500 acres of open fields in two counties. At times, more than 150 agents, 10 feet apart, pushed -- and sometimes crawled -- through tall grass and chest-high thickets. On Friday, police went on foot, by car and by airplane as they searched fields and roadsides in Lorain County.

But they didn't find Amy.

Many folks quietly and reluctantly acknowledge that as each day, goes by, the trail gets colder.

Statistics compiled by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children show that in the 511 unexplained child abductions reported to the center since October 1984, 158 children were found alive. But 112 were found dead.

Statistics have not softened determination to solve the mystery.

'Every agent out there goes under the premise that she is alive,' Hawk said. `Morale is high, and everyone is really trying their hardest.'

Bay Village police Lt. Richard Wilson, who is heading the investigation, agrees.

'We have hope and we are optimistic,' said the 23-year veteran of the force. 'As long as there's hope, we can bring Amy home. Everything humanly possible is being done. Every available resource is being used.'

Many residents, however, fear that the neighborly quiet that prompted Family Circle magazine in 1984 to call Bay Village the sixth safest city in the nation may be gone forever.

'People suddenly realize that ... it's not as safe as they thought,' one businesswoman at the shopping center said as she peered out her window to the parking lot where children used to play. 'It can happen anywhere.'

Mayor Edward E. Chapman, a resident of the community for 27 years, said folks had been lulled into a false sense of security. Not anymore, he said. ' People can't believe it happened here. It's a total shock.'

Meanwhile, Mrs. Mihaljevic and her husband, Mark, who works for General Motors, wait by the phone. They have reluctantly opened their private lives to massive media attention.

'Anything to find Amy,' Mrs. Mihaljevic said.

Amy is shy with people she doesn't know, but very open and fun-loving with people she does know, her mother said. She is bright and has a lot of common sense, Mrs. Mihaljevic added.

And she will return one day, her mother said quietly.

'I'll be optimistic until the day, she comes home ... or until the day, it's proven to me that she won't be coming home.'
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 4:40 pm    Post subject: ABDUCTION SHOCKS QUIET VILLAGE Reply with quote

ABDUCTION SHOCKS QUIET VILLAGE

Catherine Candisky
The Columbus Dispatch
November 30, 1989


White ribbons adorn hundreds of trees lining the streets of this lakefront Cleveland suburb.

They are a symbol of hope in a community that remains in shock over the abduction of a 10-year-old girl.

Amy Mihaljevic disappeared Oct. 27 from a small shopping center less than 1,000 yards from the Bay Village police station. Authorities say the blond, brown-eyed fifth-grader was abducted by a man who called her at least twice claiming to work with her mother.

Amy had told a friend that a man she hadn't met called and wanted her help to pick out a gift for her mother's job promotion. Margaret Mihaljevic , however, hadn't receive a promotion.

"Whoever did this was a very clever man. He left few clues," Mayor Edward Chapman said this week. "She was carefully set up. There's no doubt about that."

On the afternoon of Oct. 27, Amy left school with some classmates and walked a block to the shopping center. The 4-foot-10-inch, 90-pound girl was last seen about 2:20 p.m. that day. Witnesses said she was talking to a man in his early 30s, described as about 5 feet 9 inches tall with dark hair and possibly wearing glasses and a tan jacket.

"When a child is abducted it shocks everyone," Chapman said. "But especially here, this is a quiet town. About ten years ago, Family Circle magazine named Bay Village one of the safest communities in America."

It's been 35 years since this upscale community of 17,500 was thrust into the national spotlight with the gruesome murder of a doctor's wife. Dr. Samuel H. Sheppard was convicted and later acquitted of the July 4, 1954, murder of his wife, Marilyn.

"The Sheppard case has been the topic of conversation here for 30 years," said Jim Greene of Bay Barber Shop, a few feet from where Amy was last seen. "People are in shock over this little girl. They just can't believe it. It's all they're talking about."

A month after Amy 's disappearance, authorities remain hopeful that some old-fashioned police work will provide a break.

A training room in the basement of the police station has been converted into an operations center for the 10 officers and 30 FBI agents assigned to the case. Each day, local civic organizations and home-economic classes drop off hot meals and baked goods.

In the lobby, volunteers distribute the more than 1 million missing-child fliers donated by area printers.

Local newspapers and billboards urge residents to send the fliers home with their out-of-town holiday guests or to include them with Christmas cards. Many fliers have begun appearing in Columbus-area gas stations, grocery stores and fast-food restaurants.

"People feel helpless and want to help however they can," Chapman said.

Police Lt. Richard A. Wilson said authorities have received more than 3,000 tips and have solicited the help of retired FBI agents to answer additional telephones recently installed.

Agents have questioned hundreds of students, shoppers and merchants and have reviewed hours of security tapes from nearby banks in search of clues to Amy 's whereabouts.

"This is a 10-year-old child. There was nothing this child could have done to deserve this," Wilson said. "We've combed every wooded area within a 30-mile radius of here."

In neighboring Avon Lake, police found the sweat pants Amy was wearing in a wooded area where she frequently went horseback riding.

Authorities also sent more than 2,000 letters to the parents of fourth- through seventh-grade girls in the area to determine if anyone else received calls similar to Amy 's. Police received seven responses, but none has led to a break.

Mrs. Mihaljevic said this week that she and her husband, Mark, have not given up hope that their daughter will be found alive. After a quiet Thanksgiving with relatives, they are bracing themselves for Amy 's birthday Dec. 11.

"There is no normalcy; we're just getting back to the basics. You have to go to sleep and you have to get up and we just have to wait until they bring her home," said Mrs. Mihaljevic , who recently began allowing her 13-year-old son to ride his bicycle the mile to school again.

On leave from her job at a suburban newspaper, Mrs. Mihaljevic said she has spent hours agonizing over her daughter's disappearance.

"I just can't figure out how she knew this person or why she would go with this person," she said. "I know the clue is probably right here in front of us, but we haven't seen it yet."
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 4:42 pm    Post subject: GIRLS REPORT ATTEMPTED ABDUCTION Reply with quote

GIRLS REPORT ATTEMPTED ABDUCTION

Akron Beacon Journal
December 3, 1989


A man who allegedly tried to pick up two Northfield girls waiting for a
school bus was described by one of the girls as matching the composite sketch of a person police want to question about the disappearance of Amy Mihaljevic , 10, of Bay Village.

Northfield police officer Jim Varga said the girls, ages 10 and 11, ran
away when the man tried to coax them into his van Friday.

Bay Village police and the FBI are looking for a man in connection with
Amy 's Oct. 27 disappearance from a shopping center near her home.

Varga said that when police asked the 11-year-old to describe the man in
the van, she was shown several photos and drawings and chose the composite drawn by the FBI of the man being hunted in the Mihaljevic case.

He said the girls told him the man 'drove up in a vehicle and opened the
passenger side of his door, motioning for the girls to get in,' but they
refused.

'From what we learned, he drove in reverse, turned around and began to
follow the girls up the sidewalk until they ran near an apartment building,' he said.

Varga said the man, who wore glasses, again spotted the two girls near the apartment building, then apparently decided to drive away.

'We are taking this incident very seriously,' he said. `We feel we may have a good lead that could result in the arrest of this man.'
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 4:44 pm    Post subject: GIRL STILL MISSING AS BIRTHDAY, PASSES Reply with quote

GIRL STILL MISSING AS BIRTHDAY, PASSES

Akron Beacon Journal
December 12, 1989


Two 'hope trees' on the grounds of a school will show optimism that an
11-year-old Bay Village girl who has been missing since Oct. 27 will return to her family and friends, the principal said Monday.

Her classmates and others marked the 11th birthday, of Amy Mihaljevic by signing white ribbons and attaching them to an artificial, 11-foot spruce in front of Bay Middle School in this Northeast Ohio community five miles west of Cleveland.

The school also planted a live crab apple tree on the grounds Monday, during an evening candlelight ceremony.

Churches were asked to ring bells during the ceremony.

'We're referring to both these trees as our hope trees,' said middle school Principal David Wilson.

'It's all tied into our hopes that things will work out for the positive,' Wilson added. 'It signifies that, just as a tree stays alive and grows, so are our hopes that things will work out.'

Also Monday, a large birthday, card to Amy was posted on a wall at Bay
Village City Hall.

The card was signed by Amy 's parents, Mark and Margaret Mihaljevic, and her brother, Jason.

Since Amy was reported missing, about 45 FBI agents and others have
followed about 3,000 leads but so far remain stumped.

Amy disappeared from a shopping center.

Police said Amy had received a telephone call earlier from a man who told her that he knew her mother. Authorities said the man apparently enticed Amy to accompany him on a shopping trip, supposedly to get her mother a gift.

Fliers bearing Amy 's photograph have been distributed nationwide, and her story has been chronicled on at least two television crime and news programs. In addition, a composite drawing of her suspected captor has been distributed.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 4:52 pm    Post subject: MISSING GIRL CASE ENDS IN HORROR Reply with quote

MISSING GIRL CASE ENDS IN HORROR AMY MIHALJEVIC FOUND DEAD IN ASHLAND COUNTY

Eric Sandstrom and David Adams
Akron Beacon Journal
February 9, 1990


Patricia Kidd was still visibly shaken.

It was Thursday, afternoon, and she was gripped by the memory of the hysterical woman who found Amy Mihaljevic 's body earlier in the day, in a field along a rural road in Ashland County.

The 10-year-old Bay Village girl had been missing since Oct. 27, triggering a nationwide search.

Mrs. Kidd said she heard someone banging on the door of her ranch house about 7:40 a.m.

She opened it to find her friend, Janet Seabold, crying uncontrollably.

’I think I found a body!' Mrs. Seabold screamed.

’Call the police! Why did it have to be me that found it?'

Sheriff's deputies arrived within four minutes of the telephone call.

Following Mrs. Seabold's directions, they quickly found a fully clothed body that later proved to be Amy 's.

Amy had been struck in the back of the head and stabbed more than once in the left side of the neck, authorities said. Police said Amy was killed within a week after being abducted. They had no comment on any evidence of sexual assault.

Mrs. Seabold, who lives a mile east of Mrs. Kidd, was well into her daily morning jog over the rolling farmland of northwest Ashland County when something odd caught her eye.

On the west side of County Road 1181, partially hidden by knee-high weeds, a child's body lay face down in a muddy field of clover.

Mrs. Seabold first ran to the nearest farmhouse, 300 yards away.

But farmer Wilbur Salyer was slow getting to the door. So she ran across the blacktop road to Mrs. Kidd's house.

’My heart just sank,' Mrs. Kidd said haltingly six hours later.

She remembered dialing the Ashland County Sheriff's Department and handing the phone to her friend.

Mrs. Seabold described the grisly scene to a sheriff's deputy.

’Maybe it's a dummy......no it's a child,' Mrs. Seabold said at one point. Her discovery brought a community's hopes to an end.

White ribbons symbolizing the hope that Amy would be found alive and well decorated many trees, mailboxes and homes in the affluent, west-side Cleveland suburb, about 45 miles from where her body was found.

Police and Bay Village residents as well as Amy 's parents, Mark and Margaret Mihaljevic, kept up their hopes for months during an investigation that failed to turn up any solid evidence.

But that ended when the Cuyahoga County coroner's office identified the body Thursday, by using dental records.

Amy 's abduction, believed to have taken place from a shopping center across the street from the village police station, mobilized dozens of volunteers and a massive search.

The discovery of the body prompted wildfires of rumors throughout Bay Village. Throughout the day, radio news reports said a body had been found, but had not been identified.

Mrs. Mihaljevic stopped by the Amy Center -- a room in City Hall devoted to volunteers trying to find the girl -- shortly after noon to chat and pick up some fliers calling for her daughter's return. Minutes after she left, police called volunteers to let them know that a body had been found.

Volunteers then called Mrs. Mihaljevic.

’She didn't believe it,' said volunteer Susan Adams. `She said, `It isn't my daughter.' `

Early in the afternoon, television reporters advanced on Bay Middle School, wandering the halls and seeking reaction from pupils, who had not heard the news.

Shortly after that, school officials went room-to-room, telling pupils that a body had been found but not identified.

Parents arriving outside the school to pick up their children, leaned into friends' car windows to talk about the news.

They spoke quietly, giving sidelong glances and forced smiles to strangers. At the Amy Center, volunteers gathered, nervously expectant, not sure exactly what they wanted to hear.

’We have mixed feelings,' said Mrs. Adams, who has five children of her own. ‘We don't want it to be her, but if it is, at least we'll know that she wasn't beaten and abused for months. At least the family would have a reality.'

As the afternoon wore on, reporters gathered outside the Mihaljevic home on Lindford Drive.

Police officers and FBI agents came and went politely refusing comment.

Tattered white ribbons symbolizing hope for Amy fluttered from branches in trees in the front yard.

Amy 's parents and her 13-year-old brother, Jason, remained inside the home. Confirmation that the body was indeed Amy 's came to the Amy Center shortly before 4 p.m. Volunteers seemed to breathe a reluctant sigh of relief. Some cried, others swore. Others just stared.

Volunteer Jeanne Sabo, whose 10-year-old daughter used to be Amy 's best friend, said the death would probably be the end of some nightmares, and the beginning of others.

’At least they ( Amy 's parents) can get on with their life,' said Mrs. Sabo. `At least they won't have to endure waking up every morning and not knowing. There is no worse living hell than that for a mother.'

Mrs. Sabo, and fellow volunteer Kathy Novotny said they would continue to work to find the killer.

After a 10-minute news conference, Bay Village Police Chief William E. Gareau patiently and somberly spoke with reporters.

’Am I optimistic that the killer will be found?' he asked, turning the question over in his head.

’I'm determined. We're not going to give up.'

Forty investigators from the FBI, Bay Village Police, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation and Ashland County Sheriff's Department combed a half-mile radius of where the body was found.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 4:58 pm    Post subject: THIS DEATH REMINDS US ABOUT OUR VULNERABILITY Reply with quote

THIS DEATH REMINDS US ABOUT OUR VULNERABILITY

Stuart Warner
Akron Beacon Journal
February 9, 1990


Hush little baby, don't say a word,

Papa's gonna buy you a mockingbird.

And if that mockingbird don't sing,

Papa's gonna buy you a diamond ring........

I squeezed Baby Corner's hand just a little tighter than usual as we walked to the car after I picked her up from school Thursday, evening.

I wanted to reassure her that she's safe when she's with her Daddy.

Maybe I wanted to reassure myself, too.

We try hard to make our children feel secure, protected.

We rock them to sleep with lullabies.

We sit by their bedsides when they are afraid of the dark.

We let them hide under our covers when thunder and lightning make them shiver.

We discipline them when they put themselves in harm's way.

We warn them never to talk to.......

Dammit, Amy Mihaljevic is dead.

Abducted from Bay Village on Oct. 27, less than two months before her 11th birthday. Stabbed in the neck. Murdered. Abandoned in a field in Ashland County.

And there was nothing anyone could do about it.

Not her father. Not her mother. Not the police.

Not any of us.

So we are outraged.

We want Old Testament justice for the monster who did this to her. What kind of person slaughters an innocent child? The electric chair would be too merciful for such a fiend. Let him die in a ditch.

But why do we feel this way?

Kids die every day. Some starve. Some are sick. Some are the victims of the drug wars.

Tragedies every single one.

We should be just as angry about their deaths.

Yet we don't feel like we do now.

We may weep for them, but most of us are removed from their pain.

For most Americans, Amy Mihaljevic 's death seems so much closer to home.

Her death is every parent's nightmare. Every parent's frustration.

Her death reminds us of our own vulnerability.

Amy Mihaljevic had everything we want for our own children.

She lived on a safe street in a safe community. She went to a safe shopping center.

She was protected.

She is dead.

And we realize that as much as we may want to be, we cannot be a shield of armor for our children.

We have to let them grow up.

We can only hold their hands so long.

Yet how long is long enough?

Was Amy Mihaljevic too young to go to the shopping center alone? Perhaps.

But her parents had no reason to suspect that she went there. They thought she was attending choir practice after school.

We can't watch over our children every second of every day.

When I was 6 years old, I often walked almost a mile to school. Sometimes by myself.

My daughter is almost 6.

I wouldn't think of letting her walk that far to school alone. Right now, I probably wouldn't let her walk two blocks alone.

Am I being too protective?

I don't know.

I do know the panic I felt the day I lost sight of her, for just a few minutes, at an amusement park.

I remember that it was 90 degrees that day. I remember feeling as cold as ice.

When she returned, I scolded her.

Then I hugged her.

I wanted her to feel secure, protected.

I wanted to feel that way myself.

I'm sure Amy Mihaljevic felt secure, protected the DAY, she journeyed to that shopping center alone.

But now she'll never again ride the horses she loved so much.

She'll never sing in a choir.

And her parents will never again hug her, never sing her another lullaby, never again warn her not to talk to......

Dammit.

I think I will read Baby Corner The Berenstain Bears: The Trouble With Strangers again tonight.

Then I think I will tuck her very tightly into bed.

.......If that dog named Rover won't bark,

Papa's gonna buy you a horse and cart.

If that horse and cart don't pull,

You're still the sweetest girl in the world.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 5:01 pm    Post subject: FBI CREATES PROFILE OF A TYPICAL CHILD KILLER Reply with quote

FBI CREATES PROFILE OF A TYPICAL CHILD KILLER

William Canterbury
Akron Beacon Journal
February 9, 1990


Beyond a physical description that a witness gave police of the man
suspected of abducting Amy Mihaljevic , a psychological profile of someone who would abduct and kill a 10-year-old girl remains as elusive as the suspect himself.

Nonetheless, the FBI has put together general information about the type of person who might commit such a crime, based on experience and research conducted by the FBI at the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime at Quantico, Va.

According to William D. Branon, special agent in charge of the FBI's
Northern District in Cleveland, the traits of such an abductor and killer are:

* The abductor likely acted alone during the actual abduction. However, the person may have taken someone into his confidence to create an alibi or to obtain the assistance of a friend or associate to cover up his involvement in the crime.

* The abductor may have alluded to his involvement during conversations
with a friend, an associate or a relative. Any such person having such
knowledge could be in a significant degree of peril or danger.

* People who commit crimes like this often remain in the area, and
frequently will monitor the investigation closely.

* The person responsible for the crime would likely become anxious, more rigid, reclusive and more uptight than usual after the crime.

* The person may have experienced trouble sleeping, may have lost weight or would have increased his consumption of alcohol and drugs, which would further affect his behavior.

* The offender may have found a logical reason to leave on a previously
unscheduled vacation, or visit relatives, change jobs or provide excuses to miss work on the days immediately after the abduction.

* The offender may have become more religious than normal, or become more solicitous toward family or associates.

Anyone recognizing an individual who has exhibited any of the above-
described behavioral patterns is asked to call the FBI or Bay Village
police at 871-1234.

The physical description of the man believed to be Amy 's abductor:

* Age: Possibly between 30 and 35.

* Build: Medium, between 5 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 10 inches tall; dark
hair, possible curly, with bald spot near the top of the head.

* Other details: A trace of beard growth; possibly wearing round glasses
and a tan jacket.

A series of abductions of six girls occurred in the Akron-Cleveland area
from 1980 to 1982.

Most were solved, including the kidnapping and slaying of 8-year-old
Tiffany Papesh, although her body has never been found.

She was last seen June 13, 1980, standing in a checkout line at a grocery store near her Maple Heights home. Brandon Flagner, who confessed to the killing, was sentenced in 1985 to life in prison.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 5:05 pm    Post subject: A VILLAGE GRIEVES FOR AMY PARENTS: `WE'VE BEEN THROUGH HELL' Reply with quote

A VILLAGE GRIEVES FOR AMY PARENTS: `WE'VE BEEN THROUGH HELL...'

William Outlaw
Akron Beacon Journal
February 10, 1990


The parents of Amy Mihaljevic grieved her death in private Friday, but took time to say a public thank-you to those who had come to care for their little girl.

'We honestly believed that Amy was alive, all this time. Our hope was real,' Margaret Mihaljevic, with her husband, Mark, at her side, said in a statement videotaped at their Bay Village home. The tape was broadcast Friday evening by Cleveland-area television stations.

All those who knew Amy, she said, 'have been robbed of a caring, loving, intelligent person. As her family, we salute and thank everyone who has been so kind to us and helped so much during our ordeal.

"What do we say except, 'Thank you, Cleveland, for all your efforts, for all your hope, for all your support, for all your caring.' We have been through hell and back,' the mother said.

Ten-year-old Amy was last seen Oct. 27 near a Bay Village shopping center. Her body was found Thursday, by a jogger along a rural road in Ashland County. The street where Amy lived with her parents was quiet Friday. Reporters and curious onlookers who lined the street Thursday, were gone.

At the Bay Village Municipal Building, flags hung at half-staff in a cold rain -- a memorial to a girl who would never grow up. Upstairs in the brick building, volunteers at the Amy Center answered phones and talked with reporters as they dealt with the realization that Amy, who had been the focus of their hopes since her disappearance, was dead.

'We're still here and we still feel we might have a purpose,' said Sue Adams, the center's media coordinator.

'I would like to keep this story alive,' Mrs. Adams said, her face showing the strain of events.

'We still need to find this person so he doesn't do this again.'

On a wall, a U.S. map bristled with hundreds of pins, each signifying someplace the center had sent posters of Amy.

More than 1.5 million posters and fliers with Amy 's picture were sent to places as far as Kansas City and San Diego. But in the end, she was found only an hour or so from her home.

On Monday, the community is invited to the Bay Presbyterian Church for a memorial service at 7 p.m.

Bay Village police investigators Friday, went to the field where Amy 's body was found, while other officers fielded calls from people who thought they had information on the case.

There have been almost 5,000 tips since Amy disappeared, said Lt. Richard Wilson.

At the Bay Middle School, where Amy was a pupil, children went to class, like any other day. Almost. 'All the kids are kind of quiet today,' said Steve Hatch, an assistant principal.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 5:10 pm    Post subject: AN AKRON COUPLE KNOW EXACTLY HOW AMY 'S PARENTS FEEL Reply with quote

AN AKRON COUPLE KNOW EXACTLY HOW AMY 'S PARENTS FEEL

Mary Ethridge
Akron Beacon Journal
February 11, 1990


When the murdered body of 10-year-old Amy Mihaljevic was found last week, thousands of parents imagined how they would feel if that ever happened to one of their children.

But Janie and David Sullivan of Akron didn't have to imagine.

They remembered.

The Sullivan's 9-year-old daughter, Damita, disappeared in October 1981. Her murdered remains were found six months later in a shallow grave just around the block from her Copley Road home. A 22-year-old former neighbor of the Sullivans, Richard E. Phillips, later admitted to beating her to death for pestering him while he was raking leaves in his back yard.

Phillips also confessed to the 1984 killing of another neighborhood girl, 16-year-old Christina Marie Parrish, whose body was found in 1987 about 80 feet from where Damita had been buried.

’We've prayed all along for Amy 's family,' said Mrs. Sullivan. ‘We know what they've been going through. The pain is still so deep in our hearts.'

Mrs. Sullivan said Amy 's death has revived their sorrow over Damita -- sorrow that had been temporarily placed aside to allow room for living.

’The parents of murdered children go through hell at a time like this,' said Akron minister Robert Denton, a national pioneer in the field of victims' assistance. `It just rubs their emotions raw.'

Denton serves on the crisis intervention team of the National Organization for Victim Assistance. At NOVA's request, he visits communities hit by tragedies such as Amy 's death to help local mental health professionals cope with the fallout.

”Almost every parent is devastated by something like this,' said Denton. ' In a way, we're all going through the same range of emotions as the Mihaljevics, just to a different degree. We wonder, ‘How did she die? Did she suffer? Was she scared?' We should give ourselves time to mourn for Amy and for a society that allows this to happen.'

According to U.S. government figures, homicide is the fourth leading cause of death of children 14 and under in this country after accidents, cancer and birth defects. Only a handful of those homicide cases -- about 50 a year nationwide -- involve abduction and murder by a stranger, according to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Justice.

’Parents rarely find comfort in numbers,' said Denton. `So it only happens to a handful of kids a year? So what? It could be your kid, and that's all that counts.'

Denton said that because Amy was missing for several months and the search for her was so public and widespread, her death was felt deeply by many.

’Her face was everywhere -- on posters, milk cartons, the television, in the newspaper. We've grown close to the family and to Amy,' Denton said.

The attention that missing and murdered children have received in recent years -- and the accompanying emphasis on safety -- is `both good and bad,' said Barbara A. Buchanan, an Akron psychologist specializing in children and victims. She said she often sees children who become obsessed with death after a case like Amy 's.

’The exposure helps to solve cases and reminds us to review safety with our children. But on the other hand, our kids can be devastated by it,' Buchanan said. ‘We need to teach them to be careful without paralyzing them with fear.' Buchanan advises parents whose children are upset by Amy 's death to comfort them as they would when children have a physical illness.

’Allow them to regress. Bring out the old teddy bear or blanket, fall asleep with them,' Buchanan said. ‘Let them know their fears are legitimate, but that the world is generally a very good place.'

She advises adults who are suffering to reach out to other parents for comfort.

’We need each other at a time like this,' she said.

Damita Sullivan's parents know that better than most.

They said they are considering contacting the Mihaljevics to lend their support.

’We want them to know that they don't have to go it alone. We're here for them.'
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 5:14 pm    Post subject: THE JOY AMY BROUGHT IS REMEMBERED Reply with quote

THE JOY AMY BROUGHT IS REMEMBERED

Andrea Louie
Akron Beacon Journal
February 13, 1990


The pastor said there is a white ribbon around a tree in his front yard, once a sign of hope for Amy Mihaljevic.

That ribbon is staying there.

'As a tribute,' said the Rev. Hubert C. Auburn, 'to her life and her vitality. It's a sign of hope -- for Amy and for all of us.'

"She refreshed our lives,' said the Rev. Thomas Madden, another pastor of the church who also spoke at the service. 'She had made us glad in her living.'

More than 1,000 attended a memorial service Monday, night at the Bay Presbyterian Church in Bay Village to remember Amy.

The 10-year-old girl was abducted in October in Bay Village. Her body was found Thursday, in an Ashland County field.

The girl's death is being investigated by the FBI, Bay Village police, the Ashland County sheriff and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.

The body was found along County Road 1181, just south of New London.

The body was partially hidden by knee-high weeds.

Police said Amy was killed within a week of her Oct. 27 disappearance, and that her body had been in the field for a 'considerable amount of time.'

Neighbors speculated that the body was left at the site recently because they never saw it.

'It's a big area. It (the body) is small. Maybe they just didn't see it,' said coroner's spokeswoman Karen Emery.

Authorities again Monday, declined to say whether Amy had been sexually assaulted.

On Monday, evening, it was time to mourn.

People came to grieve for the girl, whose face -- through thousands of posters -- had become known to people all over the country -- her sweet smile, the lopsided ponytail, the gold cross about her neck.

And they came to mourn the end of the innocence, to weep for the society in which such a tragedy would happen.

But tears are good, said Madden.

'In mourning, we are forced to recognize the reality of loss,' Madden said. ' And comfort comes in our willingness to cry.'

Many tears were shed during the hour service. About 20 close members of the Mihaljevic family sat in the front of the church and appeared strong.

Another comfort, Madden said, must be the memories -- of a kind, loving child, of a little girl who cared about animals.

'People remember her smile,' he said.

Comfort is so important in times of grief, when there doesn't seem to be hope anymore, Auburn said in his remarks.

We think that children deserve time to be children, to be safe, secure and innocent, he said.

But Amy proved to everyone that this couldn't always be so, he said, even in a nice place like Bay Village.

The child, however, brought the community together like no one else has done, Auburn said.

'And what a blessing, and what a tribute to her' if the community can hang onto that togetherness, he said.

Earlier in the evening, about 500 people gathered at St. John's Cathedral in Cleveland for a special Mass in memory of Amy.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 5:16 pm    Post subject: REWARD FOR AMY 'S KILLER AT $30,000 Reply with quote

REWARD FOR AMY 'S KILLER AT $30,000

Akron Beacon Journal
February 15, 1990


The reward fund for finding the killer of 10-year-old Amy Mihaljevic of Bay Village has increased to more than $30,000.

Meanwhile, law enforcement officials were continuing to seek the killer of the girl whose body was found last week in rural Ashland County. She had been missing since Oct. 27.

’We've received over 400 leads since discovery of the body, and we're looking into all those at this time,' Bay Village police Lt. Richard Wilson said Wednesday.

He said no further details of an autopsy, which determined Amy died of stab wounds to the neck that severed the carotid artery, were being released at this time.

Wilson said detectives are building a second psychological profile of Amy 's killer, based on evidence drawn from the body and its condition.

’Now that we have a body, a better psychological profile can be determined,' he said.

Donations to the reward fund, which was established by the Better Buick
Dealers Association, are being accepted daily, said an official at the Huntington Bank branch in Bay Village. Amy 's father, Mark Mihaljevic , works for the association.

Another fund set up at the bank, the Community Fund for Assisting Missing
Youth (A.M.Y.), also has attracted donations, but fund manager Tim McManamon
declined to reveal the amount until a fund-raiser tonight.

The A.M.Y. fund will be divided between reward money and an education network to teach children how to avoid being kidnapped, McManamon said.

A third fund in Amy 's memory, set up at the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center, has received more than $2,000 in donations, according to Director Larry Richardson.

Proceeds will be spent on books and animals used at the center, which serves 20,000 students a year.
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