Amy Mihaljevic, Bay Village, OH, abducted and murdered decades ago, new leads surface

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Normal Amy Mihaljevic, Bay Village, OH, abducted and murdered decades ago, new leads surface

Post by TerryRose on Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:17 pm

I searched the site for a post I once made in memorial to this lovely innocent child who was clearly abducted by a pedophile and murderer, the perp was never identified and brought to justice. Her mother passed away years later, still heartbroken for the loss of her Amy. This case was and remains big news in the Cleveland area as parents throughout the area feared for the safety of their children throughout that decade because the perp was never found. In the last week, there has been an arrest for a murder of a man in Seven Hills, OH, and the Bay Village, OH police are presently contacting the suburb because they suspect there are strong links to this man to Amy's abduction and murder in the 1980s. We must never give up that justice can be done.
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Normal Re: Amy Mihaljevic, Bay Village, OH, abducted and murdered decades ago, new leads surface

Post by TerryRose on Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:32 pm

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The man called "Crazy Joe" who went around telling people that Dienes killed Amy is now the victim of murder himself, Dienes having been arrested for his murder presently, his body found buried on Dienes' property.
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Normal Re: Amy Mihaljevic, Bay Village, OH, abducted and murdered decades ago, new leads surface

Post by Wrapitup on Sun May 01, 2011 2:02 am

TR, I remember that picture. In fact, I think she looks a lot like our Leah.

I also did a search and didn't find anything. Are you sure you posted it here as opposed to CSO?

LM may be able to find it. Her name may have not been in the "subject" line.

I am going to post some things on her so we can all be on the same page.

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Normal Amy Mihaljevic - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Post by Wrapitup on Sun May 01, 2011 2:16 am

Amy Mihaljevic's 5th grade school photo
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Photo taken near time of disappearance, distributed to local and national press by the police and FBI after her kidnapping. Used in later attempts to identify her murderer.

Born December 11, 1978
Ohio, United States
Died October 27, 1989 (aged 10)

Amy Renee Mihaljevic (December 11, 1978 – October 27, 1989) was an elementary schoolgirl who was kidnapped and murdered in the U.S. state of Ohio in 1989. Her murder case raised national attention. The story of her unsolved kidnap/murder was one of the first unsolved crimes presented by John Walsh on the television show, America's Most Wanted during its first year. To date, her killer has not been found, yet the case remains active; new information in 2007 has increased hopes of resolving the case.

On October 27, 1989, ten-year-old Amy Mihaljevic was kidnapped from the Bay Square Shopping Center in Bay Village, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. The abductor had contacted Mihaljevic by telephone and arranged to meet her on the pretext of buying a gift for her mother because she had recently been promoted, as he told her. On February 8, 1990, the girl's body was found in a field off of County Road 1181, Ruggles Township in rural Ashland County, Ohio.

Evidence found at the scene of the crime suggests that Mihaljevic's body was probably dumped there shortly after her abduction.Based on findings by the Cuyahoga County coroner, Mihaljevic's last meal was some sort of soy substance, possibly an artificial chicken product or Chinese food. Other evidence includes the presence of yellow/gold colored fibers on her body. It appears her killer also took several souvenirs including the girl's horse-riding boots, her denim backpack, a binder with "Buick, Best in Class" written on the front clasp, and turquoise earrings in the shape of horse heads.

The Bay Village Police and the FBI conducted an extensive investigation into her disappearance and murder. The case generated thousands of leads. Dozens of suspects were asked to take lie-detector tests, but no one has ever been charged with the crime. Law enforcement continues to pursue leads and monitor suspects to the present day.

In 2005, Cleveland journalist James Renner re-examined this cold case with a series of articles in the weekly newspaper Cleveland Scene. Renner's 2005 series provided new research that he had independently undertaken, as well as openly soliciting the public for new information and clues. In October 2006, publisher Gray & Co. released a book about Renner's investigation into the murder called Amy: My Search for Her Killer. The book provided information previously unreleased by the police and FBI. In 2007, Renner donated his files, consisting of the largest private collection of material on the Mihaljevic case, to the Department of Special Collections and Archives at Kent State University, Ohio.

In November 2006 it was revealed that several other young girls had received phone calls similar to that to which Amy responded, during the weeks prior to Amy's abduction in 1989. These comprised requests from an unknown man, claiming to work with their mother, asking the girl to help him shop for a present to celebrate her mother's job promotion. The girls who received these calls lived in North Olmsted, a suburb near Bay Village; some had unlisted phone numbers. This new information was considered significant by new movement on the case.

Bay Village police collected DNA samples from several potential suspects in the case in December, 2006. As of early 2007, it was reported that a longtime suspect in the case had retained legal counsel.
Suspect

Dean Runkle
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Wanted poster and FBI sketch of the man last seen with Amy before she vanished.

According to reporter James Renner, Dean Runkle is a possible prime suspect in the FBI investigation. Multiple witnesses say that he matches the man they saw with Amy the day she vanished. Runkle also seemed to have volunteered in the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center in Bay Village at the time of the murder. All four girls, who received suspicious phone calls (with Amy being the last one), have visited it in the weeks before the abduction and may have written their names and phone numbers in a logbook by the front doors. Although Renner describes Runkle as an eccentric teacher, no hard evidence supports this view. Dean Runkle himself denies any involvement in the murder of Amy Mihaljevic and the FBI has never officially declared him a suspect. Since Runkle is exceptionally well liked as a teacher by many former students, Renner became the subject of strong criticism, unlike anything he had faced from naming previous suspects, when he named Runkle.

Similar cases

In 1981, Tina Harmon was abducted and murdered, and the golden/nutmeg colored carpeting was found on her body, as well as two other cases, Krista Harrison (1982) and Debra Smith (1983). The three cases all happened in Ohio, like Amy's yet they happened 6–8 years before Amy's murder. These cases are still questionable.

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Normal Re: Amy Mihaljevic, Bay Village, OH, abducted and murdered decades ago, new leads surface

Post by Wrapitup on Sun May 01, 2011 2:19 am

BAY VILLAGE -- Detectives with the Bay Village Police Department are looking into a tip that a Seven Hills man recently charged with murder may be connected to the unsolved, 1989 kidnapping and murder of Amy Mihaljevic.

Frank Dienes, 44, was charged with aggravated murder in mid-April after the body of a homeless man was found in a shallow grave in Dienes' backyard. The man, Joe Kopp, 58, had been shot in the head.

A Bay Village police lieutenant told Channel 3 News that Dienes, a Seven Hills flooring contractor, was "one of thousands" of tips that detectives checked out decades ago in connection with Mihaljevic's murder.

Bay Village police are not calling Dienes a suspect in the Mihaljevic case at this time.

One of the lawyers representing Dienes in the Seven Hills murder would not say if detectives had recently requested or had already spoken to Dienes about the Mihaljevic case.

Amy Mihaljevic was 10 years old when she disappeared after school in late October, 1989. She was last seen talking to a man at a Bay Village shopping center.

Mihaljevic's body was discovered the following February in a farm field in Ashland County. She had been stabbed twice in the neck and was struck in the back of her head with a blunt object.

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Normal Re: Amy Mihaljevic, Bay Village, OH, abducted and murdered decades ago, new leads surface

Post by Wrapitup on Sun May 01, 2011 2:23 am

TerryRose wrote:[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

The man called "Crazy Joe" who went around telling people that Dienes killed Amy is now the victim of murder himself, Dienes having been arrested for his murder presently, his body found buried on Dienes' property.
Terry Rose, the above link you posted is chalk full of excellent information on this case!

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Post by Wrapitup on Sun May 01, 2011 2:24 am

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Post by Wrapitup on Sun May 01, 2011 2:30 am

This is grainy but very good.

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Some interesting comments as well.

Her poor mother!!

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Post by Wrapitup on Sun May 01, 2011 2:39 am

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Normal Re: Amy Mihaljevic, Bay Village, OH, abducted and murdered decades ago, new leads surface

Post by TerryRose on Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:49 am

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Normal Re: Amy Mihaljevic, Bay Village, OH, abducted and murdered decades ago, new leads surface

Post by Wrapitup on Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:39 pm

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Post by Wrapitup on Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:45 pm

Mihaljevic case to be explored in-depth on crime TV show
by Shawn Rech

Lead Detective Lt. Mark Spaetzel will release new evidence during the program in hopes of creating new leads.

The 1989 kidnapping and murder of 10-year-old Bay Village resident Amy Mihaljevic will be featured on the local crime-solving television program, "Crime Stoppers Case Files." The special Oct. 6 episode will be dedicated solely to Amy's case.

Viewers will hear from lead detective Lt. Mark Spaetzel, who will describe the crime as it's re-enacted. Amy's father, Mark Mihaljevic, will also be featured, giving what many consider his most comprehensive interview since Amy's body was discovered 23 years ago. Mark discusses the hours after the disappearance, learning of Amy's death and the devastating effects on his family, including his divorce from wife Margaret and her subsequent death after years of despair.

Bay Village police are releasing new evidence on the program in hopes it can create new leads.

Viewers of "Crime Stoppers Case Files" have called in tips that helped solve ten cold-case murders, including four in Cleveland. The program focuses on each victim as an individual, sharing personal details to appeal to the humanity of those withholding evidence. Investigators have long believed someone other than the killer has information on Amy's disappearance.

"Crime Stoppers Case Files" airs every Saturday evening at 7 p.m. on WKYC Channel 3. The Amy special will air Saturday, Oct. 6.

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Post by Wrapitup on Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:53 pm


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Post by Wrapitup on Sun Oct 07, 2012 6:35 am


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Post by Wrapitup on Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:22 am

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Post by TerryRose on Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:26 pm

As we approach the anniversary of this 1989 abduction/murder of this darling 10 year old girl, in the news it has been reported recently that in the city of Bay Village, there have been 2 separate recent attempts to lure 10 year old girls into cars. The potential abductor is listed as white and between the ages of 50 and 60 years old. Back in 1989, Amy's abductor was said to be about 30 and white, never caught. I cannot help but wonder................
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Post by raine1953 on Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:30 pm

TR, that sure gives one something to wonder about!
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Normal Re: Amy Mihaljevic, Bay Village, OH, abducted and murdered decades ago, new leads surface

Post by Wrapitup on Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:30 am

Blog: Amy Mihaljevic's murder prompts tough talk with children about real life dangers

Posted: 10/23/2012
Last Updated: 7 hours and 33 minutes ago
By: Elizabeth Misson, newsnet5.com

CLEVELAND - Imagine you are 10 years old.

You get a phone call at home from a man who says he works with your mom. He has great news -- your mom is about to receive a promotion at work and her co-workers want to buy her a gift.

The gift, of course, is a surprise and he needs your help picking it out. He makes plans to meet you after school, saying you'll go to the mall, pick out the gift with him and then he'll bring you right back.

What would you do?

This is the question I posed to my 10-year-old stepson and 8-year-old stepdaughter over the weekend. I was more than relieved when they both told me they wouldn't go.

What followed was a difficult discussion, but one that I felt was very necessary.

Twenty-three years ago -- On Oct. 27, 1989 -- a man picked up Amy Mihaljevic, 10, outside of a shopping center in Bay Village using that very same story.

I told my stepchildren about how I was just one year younger than Amy when she was abducted. I clearly remember seeing that glaring police sketch of a man with glasses staring me down each time I entered a store. You couldn't go anywhere in Northeast Ohio in late 1989 without seeing that suspect sketch, along with Amy’s 5th grade school picture hanging in the windows of businesses.

I then told them that Amy was missing for a little over three months when her body was found in a field in Ashland County on Feb. 8, 1990. Her killer still hasn't been found.

It broke my heart to see the look on my stepchildren’s faces, a look of fear and remorse and a little bit of shock.
It was the same feeling I had when I learned the news in 1990 that Amy was dead. It was at that moment that I understood there were adults in this world who meant to do harm to children. That the "don’t talk to strangers" talk was just all talk, until now.

The case of Amy’s murder bothered me as a child. Now as a mother and stepmother, it motivates me to educate my children about the dangers of going anywhere alone with any adult without permission from mom or dad.
I explained to my stepchildren that "strangers" don’t always look like strangers -- they can look harmless like someone else’s mom or dad. I told them even going somewhere with an adult that you’ve maybe met before, that is not a "stranger," still isn't OK unless you have your parents' permission.

When late October rolls around every year, I find myself thinking about Amy’s mom. Margaret Mihaljevic died without ever learning what happened to her precious daughter. As I am now a mother myself, I try to imagine what life must have been like for her. I can’t. It's simply too painful to even try putting myself in her shoes.

As I watch my father hold my 4-month-old son and experience all the joys of being a grandparent, I think about Amy’s father, Mark Mihaljevic, and how he missed the chance to see his daughter become a mother.

I wrote this editorial to encourage parents to have these conversations with your children (when the age is appropriate).

It’s not an easy conversation to have, but it's one that can't wait.

Police said Amy's riding boots, turquoise horse head-shaped earrings and a Buick "Best in Class" notebook that she had on her at the time of her disappearance were never found. Police in Bay Village still hold out hope that those items are still out there and will lead them to Amy’s killer someday soon.

"Those are the type of items that someone who would commit this type of crime would keep as souvenirs. They want something to remember the event by," Bay Village Detective Mark Spaetzel told NewsChannel 5 in 2011.
Over the last 23 years, Spaetzel and his colleagues have received more 20,000 tips and have questioned numerous suspects.

If you have information that could potentially help police solve the murder of Amy Mihaljevic please call Bay Village Police at (440) 871-1234.

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Normal New clues in Amy Mihaljevic case

Post by Wrapitup on Mon Mar 24, 2014 1:28 pm

6:28 PM, Mar 18, 2014

BAY VILLAGE, Ohio - The FBI and Bay Village police are investigating new leads in connection with the abduction and murder of Amy Mihaljevic.

Almost 25 years ago, Amy Mihaljevic was abducted after school from the Bay Square shopping plaza. The 10-year-old was murdered, her body was found a few months later in Ashland County, the case is still open, her killer is still on the loose.

The FBI recently launched a podcast about the Mihaljevic case and now have new leads. The FBI said they received calls after the podcast: "Calls reporting information that we have not received before, the media generated attention and now we have a few more leads to follow up on, " said Cleveland FBI Spokesperson Vicki Anderson.

Bay Village Police Chief Mark Spaetzel was just a rookie patrolman when Amy Mihaljevic disappeared. Spatzel believes even after all this time that has passed, the case can be solved. "I don't think there is just one person who knows about the crime. I think there is someone else who does and we're hopeful that person will come forward," said Spaetzel.

It is a case that people in the quaint community still talk about today. "A mystery, unsolved. A lot of people want closure." said Greg Rusnak. His dad opened Andy's Shoe Repair in Bay Square shopping center 65 years ago. The same plaza where the little girl vanished. "It becomes personal, very personal, when you think of your children, grandchildren," said Rusnak.

If you have any information about this case call the FBI at 1-800-call-FBI.

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