Sept. 27, 2020

Amy Mihaljevic // Ohio // 30

Amy Mihaljevic // Ohio // 30

On October 27th, 1989, Amy Mihaljevic was kidnapped from the Bay Village Square Shopping Center in Bay Village, Ohio. Amy had been contacted by telephone and believed she would be meeting someone to buy a secret gift for her mother. Amy's body was discovered in a field and it appears that her abductor took several souvenirs from her including, riding boots, a denim backpack, a binder, and turquoise earrings in the shape of horse heads. This case remains unsolved. If you have any information relating to the murder of Amy Mihaljevic, please contact the Bay Village Police Department at 1-440-871-1234 or the FBI 1-800-CALL-FBI.

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On October 27th, 1989, Amy Mihaljevic was kidnapped from the Bay Village Square Shopping Center in Bay Village, Ohio. Amy had been contacted by telephone and believed she would be meeting someone to buy a secret gift for her mother. Amy's body was discovered in a field and it appears that her abductor took several souvenirs from her including, riding boots, a denim backpack, a binder, and turquoise earrings in the shape of horse heads. This case remains unsolved. If you have any information relating to the murder of Amy Mihaljevic, please contact the Bay Village Police Department at 1-440-871-1234 or the FBI 1-800-CALL-FBI. 


Amy Mihaljevic was 10 years old and was in the fifth grade at Bay Village middle school. Amy was described as being very clever and she was part of the gifted program at school. She loved to go horse back riding and had been learning to ride at Holly Hill Riding Stable at Avon Lake for two years. Amy started taking one lesson a week at the stables, but by October of 1989 she was their nearly every day riding her favorite horse, Razzle.


On October 27th, 1989, Amy let her mom know that she would be home late as she was staying after school for choir practice. This was a lie and there really wasn't any choir practice after school. Amy didn't want her mother to know that she was actually heading to the Bay Square shopping center. At around 2:05PM, Amy walked with two friends a quarter mile to the shopping center and bought ice cream from Baskin Robins. Amy had actually told several friends about this secret shopping trip when she was at school and her brother overheard a conversation that she was going shopping.

Amy's brother, Jason had intended on heading to the mall after school as well. On his way there, Jason saw a bunch of older boys who had been bullying him and he decided to head home instead. This has left Jason with many questions over the years. He says, quote, “If I had maybe been there, could I have changed the situation?” End quote.

Around 3 PM, Jason arrived home and called his mother, Margaret to check in. Jason told his mother that Amy wasn't home yet. Margaret received another call and this time it was Amy. She told her mother that she was fine and at home. Her mother felt like something was off during their brief conversation and she felt slightly worried.

After 5PM, Amy's mother, Margaret arrived home from work and discovered that her daughter wasn't there. Margaret headed to the school and thought Amy was at choir practice. Margaret wasn't able to locate Amy at the school, but she did find her bike in the bike rack. This discovery made Margaret very anxious and concerned. She headed to the police department and reported Amy missing. The police began searching for Amy right away. At about 6:30 PM, Amy's father, Mark arrived home from work and quickly joined the search for his daughter.

The police were concerned right away about Amy's disappearance. Amy's parents expected her to be home after school and knew her routine. Amy was very diligent about calling her mother everyday after school to check in. The Mihaljevic home was searched and the police searched the railroad tracks behind their house and also looked for her at the park. Current Bay Village Police Chief Mark Spaetzel (SPETZLE) had actually seen Amy earlier in the day. He went to her school and spoke to her class about safety and strangers. He said, quote, “I kind of played it back in my mind, is there something I could have said or done, that would have changed the course of history, and there's nothing.” End quote.

During the search, one of the family's friends took Amy's school picture and drove over to Channel 3 to get her face on TV as soon as possible. Since she hadn't been missing for 24 hours, they refused to report her disappearance. The friend headed back to the Mihaljevic home and heard the mother, Margaret screaming because Amy's picture had just shown up on the news. Her picture showed up on the news every night for weeks after that.

While police were doing their investigation, they found out why Amy had lied to her mother about going to the mall. Amy had told a few of her best friends that she was meeting a man at the mall to buy a present for her mother. The man called Amy days before her disappearance and told her that her mom had been recently promoted at work. The man asked Amy if she would meet him at the mall to help him pick out a gift for her mother, but she needed to keep it a secret. The man promised to give Amy $45 to spend on the gift for her mother.
When confronted with this information, Margaret informed the police that she hadn't received a promotion, but had recently changed jobs. She didn't have any knowledge of Amy meeting with someone or taking their calls. 


A witness claimed to have seen Amy with a man at about 2:30 PM at the mall. The witness said the man was a white male, aged 30 to 40, and about 5'7” to 5'10”, medium build and had dark hair with a bald spot, maybe wearing glasses. The man was described as being of medium build and was well dressed, wearing a beige or tan jacket. The witness guessed that the man was in his early 30s and had assumed the man was Amy's father. Another witness reported seeing Amy with a similar man who was guiding Amy towards the parking lot. Before the man left with Amy, he allowed her to make a phone call to her mother to let her know that she was OK.

One thing that I need to mention about the suspect is that police have warned that you shouldn't pay attention to the specific features of the composite drawings as they may not be accurate. The two witnesses that saw the man had no reason to take specific note and weren't asked to describe the man until the next day. It would be difficult for anyone to remember specific features of the face, hair color, glasses, no glasses, unshaven, shaven, etc. We must keep in mind that the two witnesses were 10-year-olds.


Bay Village Police Chief Bill Gareau (GARO) had just gotten home from work and was getting ready for a murder mystery party with his friends. Bill was supposed to be the investigator because he was a police officer. He never made it to the party because he was soon presented with a real-life murder mystery. Over 100 officers were called in for the search for Amy. Employees at the mall were questioned along with school friends and neighbors. Police had almost two thousand leads in the first two weeks. The woods and trails nearby were searched and a pair of sweatpants were discovered in a field near the area that Amy used to ride her horse. The sweatpants didn't belong to Amy.

One odd thing that came up in this case is that several other young girls reported that they had received very similar calls to the one Amy did. Police believed that at least two of the cases had a very strong chance of being connected to Amy's caller. Police were able to determine that the calls to Amy were made from someone within the same area code as there was no trace of the call. Phone records didn't work the same as they do now. Back in 1989 records of local calls weren't kept so the call to Amy was unable to be traced.


On February 8th, 1990, Amy Mihaljevic's body was discovered. A woman named Janet Seabold was out for a morning jog in Ashland County, Ohio which is 48.6 miles from Bay Village. She found Amy's decomposed body lying face down in the mud near the roadside and partly hidden by the weeds and Janet ran for help. 

Amy was officially identified through her dental records. She had been found fully clothed, but didn't have her riding boots on. There were also several items that Amy had on her when she disappeared and they weren't with her. Investigators didn't reveal what these items even were for almost a decade. Amy had been bludgeoned around the head with an unknown heavy object. She had also been viciously stabbed in the neck three times. Amy's fingernails showed signs of damage that would be consistent with putting up a fight. Forensic evidence indicated that she had likely been killed fairly soon after her abduction.

Some reports have claimed that Amy was raped, but there isn't an official report stating that. Law enforcement has said they believe sexual assault could be a possibility. A spot of blood was found on Amy's underwear and it's stated that her underwear was on inside out. It makes sense to me that perhaps the original motive was sexual assault, but maybe something happened to prevent that. I feel like there would be a report that says she was raped if that was true.

It is unknown how long Amy's remains were at the dump site. Many locals believe that she would have been discovered sooner if she had been there for awhile.

Evidence that was discovered at the scene of the crime did suggest that Amy's body was probably dumped there shortly after her abduction. The coroner noted that Amy's last meal was a soy substance and may have been an artificial chicken product or Chinese food. Other evidence discovered included the presence of yellow/gold colored fibers on her body. Amy's school lunch menu on the day of her disappearance was corn dogs and pizza.


In the winter of 1990, several months after Amy's body was discovered, a new witness came forward. The woman stated that on the night before the discovery, at around 6 PM, she saw a man in the same location. She said that the man was standing near the trunk of his vehicle which was a dark blue hatchback. This woman did wait several months before coming forward with this information so it's unclear how reliable this source is.

I did a bit of research on this and Ohio tends to get dark around 5 to 5:30PM in the winter. This woman claims that she was able to see this man at 6PM and she was able to provide details to the police so they could do a composite sketch. She was also able to tell in the dark that the vehicle was dark blue? I'm certainly feeling a bit sketched out by this.


In 1997 investigators released new information on this case. Like I mentioned earlier, several items were missing from Amy when she was discovered. A pair of turquoise earrings in the shape of horse heads, a pair of riding boots, her denim backpack, which had white piping and white buckles, and a black Buick folder that she received from her father who worked for General Motors, with the words “Best in Class” embroidered on the front clasp. Amy was still wearing her light pale green sweatsuit that she went missing in, but her white windbreaker was missing.

Law enforcement held a press conference and revealed new details in Amy's case. They announced that police were looking for information relating to a handmade curtain and a blanket. The blanket was beige and the curtain is green and has a quilted pattern. It looks like it may have started off as a bed cover and was turned into a curtain. The items were found 100 yards from the young girl's body. Police didn't think the items were relevant to the case originally, but they sent the items for DNA testing and found dog hairs matching Amy's dog, Jake.

In 2019 it was revealed that law enforcement had three hairs that were found on Amy's body. One hair was on her sweatpants, a second hair on her underwear, and a third hair on her body. He hairs were tested, but the DNA profile was very weak. As technology continues to improve, it's possible that we could get a full DNA profile in the future. One of the problems with the hairs is that they have degraded and will likely only survive one more test. The DNA test did reveal that all three hairs were from different people. Hairs can of course be easily transferred so it doesn't automatically mean that more than one person is involved, but it also doesn't mean that.

Microscopic fivers found on Amy's clothes were analyzed and determined to have come from camel-colored automotive carpet, which was narrowed down to GM vehicles between the years of 1975 and 1978.

The police have conducted over 20k interviews in relation to this case. It wasn't until November 2006, that police discovered that several other girls had received phone calls similar to the ones that Amy received. This is so bizarre to me that this wasn't brought up right away when the public heard about the call. The unknown male caller made claims to all the girls that he worked with their mothers and needed help buying a present to celebrate her promotion. The girls who received the calls lived in North Olmsted, a suburb near Bay Village. Every girl that received a call had visited the local Lake Erie Nature and Science Center, which had a visitors' logbook by the front door. This tidbit had been discovered very late in the investigation, but it's possible that all of the girls may have signed the book and added their personal information like phone numbers and addresses. Some of the girls that were contacted had unlisted numbers.


As we discussed earlier, there were multiple hairs discovered on Amy's body and the police say that hairs can easily be transferred. Amy's body was placed in a car and someone who was in the car previously, could have dropped a hair on the seat. It's still obviously helpful to figure out who the hairs belong to because if the hairs were transfers, it could point us in the right direction.

So, get this. Ted Lamborgine, who was living in Parama Heights, just 10 miles from where Amy was taken, well, he was pulled over in his truck in 2005. An officer had been following him for weeks, told him law enforcement in Michigan wanted to ask him some questions. 

You see, an old acquaintance of Ted's told the police about a pedophile ring that they were both part of. The informant believed that Ted was involved in the most famous unsolved serial case in Michigan's history, the Oakland County Child Killer. In the 70's, two boys and two girls between the ages of 10 and 12 went missing outside their homes in Oakland County, Michigan. Each child's body was discovered in a public area within 19 days of their disappearance. The kids were all either strangled or shot and the two boys had been sexually abused. The children were linked to a ring of pedophiles.

There's another theory too. There was a man named Robert Nichols who abandoned his family in 1965. Like, just vanished. He moved around the country and settled in Ohio under the name Joseph Chandler in 1978. He purchased a birth certificate of the real Joseph Chandler, a nine-year-old who perished alongside his parents in a traffic accident in Texas. Robert Nichols was able to obtain a social security number and lived under the name Joe Chandler until he ended his life in 2002. He left $82k in the bank and didn't have any beneficiaries. Authorities attempted to locate family members and that's when they discovered there was ID theft. You may be wondering how this fits in with Amy. Well, this guy would fit into the correct age and actually looks similar to the composite sketch from Amy's case. It's possible that he was near the area at the time of her abduction and it is being looked into. Robert Nichols was finally matched up by DNA and they were able to contact his family. 

It turns out, Robert had done everything he could to erase himself. He always kept a packed suitcase so he could disappear at any second. Sometimes when he would go away for awhile, he would tell his family, they're getting close. Before he took off, he called his wife and said, I'm leaving you, and one day you'll know why.


Anyone with information relating to the murder of Amy Mihaljevic can contact the Bay Village Police Department on 1-440-871-1234 or the FBI on 1-800-CALL-FBI.


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