Ntohing is more tragic than the senseless murder of a child. Amy Renee Mihaljevic was just 10 years old when her life was cut short in 1989. Bay Village, OH was shaken by the devastating case, and to this day police have still not found the heartless killer. Read on to see how Amy died and see the timeline of her case.
Oct. 27, 1989 — Amy was kidnapped.
Amy went to the Bay Square Shopping Center in the quiet Cleveland suburb on Oct. 27, 1989. She planned to meet a person who had contacted her by phone, asking for her help to pick out a gift for her mother. They told her that her mom had recently been promoted, and Amy was all too excited to celebrate. She told two different friends about the call, and let her mom know she would be home late but didn’t tell her why. She was stolen from the shopping center, and went missing for nearly four months.
Feb. 9, 1990 — Amy’s body was discovered.
Amy’s body was finally found by a jogger in a field in Ashland County, OH, near the County Road 1181. Someone had taken her boots, backpack, earrings, and binder, and left yellow fibers on her body. Evidence suggested that she was dumped not long after she was abducted, and that she may have been raped. She was stabbed twice in the neck and hit in the head with a blunt object. Police were able to collect DNA to be used to find the killer in the future. They have done as many as 20,000 interviews over the past 29 years, but no one has ever been charged with the killing.
2001 — Amy’s mom Margaret McNulty died.
Margaret had dedicated her life to preventing this kind of thing from happening to other children. She started a foundation to protect kids. Sadly, she passed away from Lupus at just 54 years old in 2001.
2005 — James Renner began his own investigation.
In 2005, Cleveland journalist began doing an investigation of his own on what was by then considered a cold case. He did his own research, asked the public for leads, and shared information previously not released by the FBI. Two years later he donated everything he had to the Department of Special Collections and Archives at Kent State University, in hopes that they could use it to find Amy’s killer.
November 2006 — The public learned that the killer tried to contact other girls.
In the weeks leading up to Amy’s kidnapping, the killer had apparently made similar calls to several other young girls in an attempt to lure them to their doom. The calls were from a man posing as a co-worker of the children’s’ moms, offering to buy a gift. They all came from unlisted numbers. It was then revealed that the one thing these girls had in common was that they all visited the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center, and may have left their contact info in a front-desk log book.
Early 2007 — A suspect found legal counsel.
Movement in the case reportedly came in early 2007, after police collected DNA samples from several suspects the year before. One of the longtime suspects retained legal counsel, which seemed like he may be expecting to be arrested. Some believed that this suspect could have been teacher Dean Runkle, according to James Renner. Eyewitnesses claimed to have seen him with Amy the day she disappeared, and many students reported that he talked about volunteering at the science center. However, he was never charged and denies any involvement.
2017 — Amy’s memorial marker was restored.
Amy may have died nearly 30 years ago, but her community hasn’t forgotten her. Michael Johns of Johns Carabelli Memorials chose to restore her fading memorial marker for free in 2017, saying to Cleveland 19, “I don’t think anyone in Cleveland doesn’t remember. Just a tragedy, how long it took, the questions, the hardship. We knew right away we could do something. If it’s not washed or cleaned periodically the weathering the dirt is going to collect on it and change its appearance.” So touching! We can only hope that one day, Amy’s killer will be brought to justice.
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