If you lived in Cleveland, Ohio in the the fall of 1989 you will remember how paranoid the city was due to the kidnapping of ten year-old Amy Mihaljevic from Bay Village, Ohio.
Amy’s case was so unusual because her abductor called her at home and pretended to be a co-worker of Amy’s mother. He convinced Amy that he needed her help picking out a gift for her mother to celebrate her recent promotion. Amy agreed to help and the date was set for her abduction, October 27, 1989.
The police later determined that several girls in the neighboring community of North Olmsted had also received eerily similar calls but none had arranged to meet with him.
Amy’s kidnapper must have had extreme confidence in his plan because he arranged to meet her at Bay Square which in 1989 was directly across from the Bay Village Police Department.
Amy’s kidnapping hit close to home, it took place about five miles from where I lived and despite not knowing her personally it felt like one of us had been taken.
Two witnesses are believed to have seen Amy with her kidnapper and police released a sketch of the suspect within 24 hours of her abduction.
It was a scary time to be a kid in Cleveland because you didn’t know who to trust. We went from living in this safe bubble to having school assembly’s dedicated to thwarting off would-be kidnappers; this was the first time in my life that I felt paranoid about my safety.
At the beginning there was a true sense of hope that she could be found unharmed but after a few days it became clear this wouldn’t end well.
The investigators followed up on all of the leads that came in but they went nowhere.
As the tips began to wane so did the news coverage. The national media moved on to other stories while the local media went from covering the story on a daily basis to basically waiting for a phone call.
On February 8, 1990, Amy’s body was discovered by a jogger in a field off of County Road 1181 in rural Ashland County. The location of her body was roughly 50 miles south of Bay Village, Ohio.
The coroner’s report states that Amy died from two stab wounds to the neck and blunt force trauma to the head. It was also determined that Amy was killed within 24 hours of being kidnapped and that her body had been at the location for a number of months.
Despite hundreds of hours dedicated by volunteers and thorough investigations by the FBI and Bay Village police the case went cold.
It has been 23 years since Amy was murdered and nobody has ever been charged with the crime. The purpose of this project is to shed more light on the case but most importantly it is meant to remind Amy’s killer that people still care about his capture.
Amy’s mother Margaret Mihaljevic will never have the opportunity to see her killer caught because she passed away in 2001.
Amy’s father Mark still lives in the area and he was recently interviewed on the WKYC show Crime Stoppers.
The Amy Project is an ongoing collaboration that will yield a full length documentary on the case.
James Renner is a local author who specializes in true crime, his first book was Amy: My Search For Her Killer, and has done a great job maintaining a blog about the case.
If you have any information about the Amy Mihaljevic case please contact the Bay Village Police Department @ (440)871-1234.
Stay up to date with the investigation by following James Renner’s blog, Finding Amy’s Killer.
– William L Huffman