CHERRIE MAHAN - 8 yo (1985) - Winfield/Butler County PA

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CHERRIE MAHAN - 8 yo (1985) - Winfield/Butler County PA

Post by TomTerrific0420 on Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:44 pm

Eight-year-old Cherrie Mahan walked off a school bus along
Cornplanter Road in Winfield Township, Butler County, and into a
mystery 25 years ago Monday.

Is she dead, or can she somehow still be alive? If so, she would be 33.

Cherrie's family and some of her third-grade classmates wonder if that's possible.

After all, Jaycee Dugard was found last year in California 18 years after she was kidnapped, and there have been other rescues.

"We still hope. But it's hard," said Cherrie's mother, Janice McKinney of North Isabella Street in Saxonburg.

"It's like a black hole opened up and swallowed her. The van and the
car that supposedly were involved haven't been seen since that day

Then, with an anguish acquired over a quarter century, Janice asks:
"If they killed her, what did they do with her? Other bodies have been
found. Why not her?
Cherrie Mahan is shown in photo at left as the
8-year-old when
she was reported missing after she stepped off a school
bus Feb. 22, 1985.
The photo at right shows a computerized
age-progression photo that shows what she might look like as a young

"Someone knows what happened to her for sure. I wish they'd come forward and say something.

"I'm OK until February, when she was taken, or August, when she was born."

In the frantic day after she was reported missing on Feb. 22, 1985,
hundreds of volunteers and police scoured Cornplanter Road and other
parts of Cabot in Winfield Township. A nationwide search was begun, the
FBI got involved.

Eventually, network TV did stories and Cherrie's case was the first
national direct mailing of a missing child sent for the then-new
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

When she disappeared, Cherrie was 4 feet 2 inches tall and weighed about 68 pounds. She had brown hair and hazel eyes.

Cherrie was born one day after her mother's 16th birthday.

"We grew up together and I loved her very much," Janice said.

Janice and her husband, Leroy, remember that terrible February day as unseasonably warm.

There was no snow in Cabot, he said. The family was living in a
trailer on top of a hill above Cornplanter Road. They had been there
since the previous August.

At school that morning, Cherrie and third-grade teacher Jackie
Pfeiffer's other students received their class photos. During class,
Pfeiffer also asked the students to pull their chairs into a circle so
they could discuss things that bothered them.

"Cherrie was concerned about a neighbor's dog," recalls Pfeiffer.

Cherrie and most of the other students climbed on buses that afternoon.

Usually Janice or Leroy drove down their gravel driveway to pick her
up from the bus. The weather was OK so they felt she could walk about
100 yards, Leroy said.

Cherrie had plans for a sleepover with a friend from school.

"We thought she'd hurry home, eat and get ready for the sleepover. She never came home."

Police still believe a blue 1976 Dodge van with a mural of a skier skiing down a mountain may have been involved.

When classes resumed that Monday morning, most of the children knew that Cherrie had been missing since Friday.

Pfeiffer put class papers on Cherrie's desk just like the others.
She would continue to do that for months while the children came to
grips with the mystery -- and something else.

"I was surprised that they were dealing with guilt," Pfeiffer said.
"They felt they could have done something. What? They were only 8."

McKinney said she recognized one of Cherrie's classmates as a new
nurse who was getting orientation at St. Barnabus nursing home where
she works.

"She saw me, and the next day, she was gone," McKinney said. "She never came back. I guess I reminded her of Cherrie."

Classmate Lindsay Bauer considered Cherrie her best friend.

"She was a really sweet girl," said Bauer, who now lives in Florida.
"We both wore the same outfits. That Friday we both had on sweaters
with white specks, jean skirts and nylons."

With the emotions of an 8-year-old, Cherrie was upset because her
nylons ripped. "She told me, 'now we're not dressed the same,'" Bauer

Bauer said it was hard for her to make friends after Cherrie's
disappearance. She was afraid because Cherrie disappeared in a quiet,
rural community.

"We lived in the country where people didn't only leave their doors
open -- they also left the keys in the ignition of their cars," she

Bauer's "security issues" impact her daily. Although married, she
doesn't want a child for fear of abduction. She also is taking a hiatus
from her job as a fashion merchandiser.

Despite it all, part of Bauer remains hopeful.

"Whenever I go out and see someone who looks like it can be Cherrie,
I walk up and ask, 'Have you ever lived in Pennsylvania' and we talk,"
she said.

"I'm still looking for her. After all, Florida is a great melting pot. You never know."

State police Trooper Frank Jendesky has handled the investigation for the past 13 years.

"We get a lot of phone calls about the van," he said. "An
age-progression photo was done, and we'll get calls that someone saw
her in a mall in Minnesota. We also get calls that someone saw the van
with the painting in a junkyard and we investigate."

About 10 years ago, someone said Cherrie was in Tennessee. Fingerprints revealed the person wasn't Cherrie.

"We're still pursuing leads," he said, "and almost every month we get a call about her."

Center keeps filed open on Cherrie

Cherrie Mahan's 1985 disappearance still has repercussions well
outside of Cabot, said the leader of a national child-find group.

Stories like this change communities, said Ernie Allen, president
and chief executive officer of the National Center on Missing and
Exploited Children.

Mahan was the first child featured on mass-mailed cards sent on
behalf of the group, a nonprofit organized a few months before in 1984.

Today, the cards are sent to at least 84 million people, and it works.

"We recover one of every six as a direct result of these photos," Allen said.

About twice as many missing children are found today than 25 years ago because the public is more involved, Allen said.

He said that's in part because of the impression that Cherrie's disappearance left with it 25 years ago.

"More people routinely pay attention to news about missing children
and reporting something unusual because of Cherrie Mahan and her
family," Allen said.

The center works hand-in-hand with the FBI and U.S. Justice Department.

It's common for the FBI and the center to issue joint news
statements about finding children or prosecuting people who exploit

"We actually have agents and analysts who work at the center," said FBI Special Agent Jason Pack.

The center is "an extremely valuable resource in the protection of
children," he said Friday from the FBI's Washington, D.C., headquarters.

While Cherrie's fate is unknown, other children are being found because more people are getting involved.

"When Sean Hornbeck was found with Ben Ownby, it was not some CSI
wizardry," Allen said. "It was because a rural teenager saw something
and reported it to police."

The boys were found in a suburban St. Louis apartment in 2007 --
Hornbeck after four years and the other boy after a five-day

"Shasta Groene of Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, is alive only because of a waitress at a Denny's," Allen said.

A man kidnapped the 8-year-old girl, her brother and mother. He killed the others and hurt Shasta, but she survived.

"And we've had 200 children recovered because of photos on Wal-Mart bulletin boards alone. It's fantastic," he said.

That wasn't available when Cherrie disappeared.

Mahan's fate remains important to the center.

"This is a horrendous story. We haven't forgotten, and we don't want others to forget, either," Allen said.

"I know that this child was legally declared dead. But we won't
close our files until the child is found," Allen said. "This case was
recently discussed on the "Oprah" show, and later this year we will do
another age-progression drawing to show Cherrie at 33."

He said the girl's disappearance was important outside where it happened in Winfield Township.

"It had an impact elsewhere," Allen said. "It was an 8-year-old who
disappeared, and the story touched so many people across the country."
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Re: CHERRIE MAHAN - 8 yo (1985) - Winfield/Butler County PA

Post by TomTerrific0420 on Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:53 am

It’s one of the Pittsburgh areas most baffling
mysteries. What happened to 8-year old Cherrie Mahan?It was
February 22,1985 when a school bus dropped Mahan off at her stop on
Cornplanter Road in Winfield Township, Butler County. That was that
last time she was seen. Her mother and stepfather were waiting for her
at the family home just on top of the hill. She never made it.Investigators
continue to receive information about Mahan’s whereabouts, but nothing
has lead them to her.“It’s like she vanished in thin air,” said
Pennsylvania State Trooper Frank Jendesky.Jendesky has been
searching for Mahan for the past 15 years, but his search will soon come
to an end. Jendesky is retiring this month. The case will be assigned
to another investigator, the fourth to work the case. Jendesky was asked if he thought he
would crack the case when he first took it over.“That's always
your belief as an investigator. It’s frustrating. You know, obviously,
I want to bring the case to a conclusion. And you know, there wouldn’t
be anything better than to end my career solving this case. You often
wonder if there’s more I could have done, or is there something I could
have missed. We try our best with the leads we have received over the
years,” Jendesky said.Now, 25 years later, police continue to
receive information about Mahan’s disappearance and the van with a skier
mural that may have been involved. Witnesses said Mahan was last seen
getting off her school bus and walking in the direction of the van that
had been following the bus.Jendesky said an age-progression
photograph showing what Mahan would look like today was released earlier
this year. That photo, according to Jendesky, generated even more
response.Jendesky said tips continue to come into his office. He just opened two envelopes with
brand new information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited
Children.“This caller said she believes she saw the child on Dr.
Phil's show on May 28, 2010,” said Jendesky.Jendesky said gets
other tips as well. He recently received a letter from a prison inmate
in Ohio. The inmate claims he has information about Mahan.“He
just had information he wanted to pass on to us, he didn't know if it
was worthwhile, but we will see when someone talks to him, said
Jendesky, who will send an investigator to interview the inmate.“I
just have to go through them and see which ones are credible which ones
to follow up,” Jendesky said.
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Re: CHERRIE MAHAN - 8 yo (1985) - Winfield/Butler County PA

Post by kiwimom on Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:46 am

Person Comes Forward In 26-Year-Old Missing Child Case

January 13, 2011 12:17 AM

(Credit: KDKA)

BUTLER (KDKA) — Twenty-six years after the
disappearance of 8-year-old Cherrie Mahan, State police say someone has
come forward with information that could be crucial in the case.
Trooper Robert McGraw says someone walked into the barracks in Butler
recently “out of the blue” and provided information that “has the
potential to be crucial in this investigation.”
He will not reveal what the person said or why they came forward now,
but says this information is more specific than past tips.

It was 1985 when Mahan walked off her school bus in Winfield
Township, Butler County, but never made it home. A blue van was
reported in the area, but police say so was a small blue car.
Mahan’s mother, Janice McKinney, says, “It’s closure we’re all
looking for,” and hopes this person coming forward will provide that.
She says, “The not-knowing is what eats you alive every single day of your life.”
Police say this could turn out to be a dead end, but they say they are highly optimistic.
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Re: CHERRIE MAHAN - 8 yo (1985) - Winfield/Butler County PA

Post by kiwimom on Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:26 pm

CABOT, Pa. (CBS/AP) Eight-year-old Cherrie Mahan disappeared
26 years ago after getting off her school bus. Now, Pennsylvania State
Police say "potentially crucial" information has been revealed in her
PICTURES: Missing Children, Where are They? Unfortunately, police also say that this new information means it is "highly unlikely" Cherrie is still alive. Cherrie
was last seen stepping off a school bus in Winfield Township, Pa.,
about 35 miles north of Pittsburgh, on Feb. 22, 1985. She was the first
child ever featured on the now-famous "Have You Seen Me?" advertising
circulars produced by a company called Advo Inc., for the National
Center on Missing and Exploited Children. "An individual
came to the Pennsylvania State Police Butler station and provided some
information to an investigator regarding this case," Trooper Dan Kesten
told CBS affiliate KDKA. "[It] may or may not produce additional leads for us." Investigators
will not reveal what the person who came forward said, but they do say
the information is more specific than past tips have been.Trooper Robert McGraw told The Associated Press that the new information makes it "highly unlikely that she is alive."
McGraw has been the lead investigator on the case since late last summer and told The Valley News Dispatch
that there still is a chance that Cherrie is alive. If she is, she
would be 33 years old. The National Center for Missing and Exploited
Children has produced an age-progressed photo of what Cherrie might look
like today. Cherrie was 4-feet-2-inches tall and weighed
about 68 pounds when she disappeared. She had brown hair and hazel
eyes. She has pierced ears and was last seen wearing a gray coat, blue
denim skirt, blue leg warmers and beige boots. Cherrie's
mother, Janice McKinney, told KDKA, "It's closure we're all looking
for," and hopes this person coming forward will provide that. "The
not-knowing is what eats you alive every single day of your life."
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Re: CHERRIE MAHAN - 8 yo (1985) - Winfield/Butler County PA

Post by twinkletoes on Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:56 am

Police report new lead on long-missing Pa. girl

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A new tip about an 8-year-old girl who was the first child featured on the "Have You Seen Me?" direct-mail advertisements leaves little hope that she is still alive after nearly 26 years but provides the best chance yet of determining what happened to her, state police said.Cherrie Mahan was last seen stepping off a school bus in 1985. Later that year, she was featured on the first "Have You Seen Me?" mailings by Advo Inc., a company since acquired by Valassis Inc. of Livonia, Mich.

According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, more than half of 2,100 children pictured on the fliers have been found — including 150 directly by tips generated by the fliers.But not Cherrie.Trooper Robert McGraw said he's optimistic that's about to change. McGraw said new information has come from someone "who would have known Cherrie" and that it "has the potential to lead us to a known specific actor or actors."

McGraw won't say who walked into the state police barracks in Butler or even when it occurred. "Their information has the potential to be crucial," McGraw told The Associated Press. "This is more specific information than has been brought to our attention in a long, long time."

He said the new information makes it "highly unlikely that she is alive." What little is known about Cherrie's disappearance has been oft-repeated by newspapers, TV and radio stations. A motorist saw her get off the bus on Feb. 22, 1985, near a bluish-green van with a skier painted on the side. As the bus stopped to allow traffic to pass, the van disappeared — and so did Cherrie. Her stepfather found only tire prints at the stop 50 yards from their home in Winfield Township, about 25 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. Through the years, most leads have involving alleged sightings of the "skier van" or of Cherrie herself — some fueled by age-enhanced drawings that police have issued periodically.

McGraw said the latest information "is not like another sighting of Cherrie or another tip about the van."Cherrie's mother, Janice McKinney, keeps Cherrie's 2010 age-enhanced likeness on her desk at a Pittsburgh-area retirement community where she heads the housekeeping department. McKinney was a 16-year-old single mother when Cherrie was born, and 25 years old when she disappeared. Now 50, McKinney believes what psychics told her a couple of years ago: that Cherrie was kidnapped by someone she knew. McKinney told the AP that the psychics told her the kidnapper was "not like somebody that was her best friend or anything, but like somebody Cherrie had talked to once or had seen once. My daughter wasn't shy. She was friendly. ... She would talk to you if you talked to her." McGraw has told McKinney that her daughter is unlikely to be alive. McKinney has come to terms with that idea, intellectually at least.

"In my heart, when anybody ever talks about her, I have always believed that she was (alive)," McKinney said, "But in my head I knew and just prayed every night that she didn't suffer, that it was quick, it was painless, that they didn't torture her." McGraw won't say what police believe for fear of derailing the investigation. He wouldn't even say if the person that came forward recently would have been an adult or a child — perhaps another one on the bus? — when Cherrie disappeared.

But, he insists, "This information has the Pennsylvania State Police highly optimistic" that they'll solve the mystery. Police won't tell McKinney who the tipster is, but McKinney is disturbed that the person knew Cherrie. That means the person also likely knew McKinney and likely is acquainted with her grief through countless media stories about Cherrie's disappearance.McKinney's pain is largely driven by uncertainty. "When people die there's that grieving process," McKinney said. "But mine's been going on for 26 years." "My husband is a Vietnam veteran and all those men that were missing, you know that they're dead but you never get over it because you've never held them or looked in that coffin and saw that body and so you can never say goodbye," she said. Even if it's only through a police report or a criminal complaint, McKinney said, "I just wish to know exactly what happened and have something to hold in my hand and say goodbye."
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Re: CHERRIE MAHAN - 8 yo (1985) - Winfield/Butler County PA

Post by mom_in_il on Fri May 16, 2014 5:27 pm

Help Find Cherrie Mahan, Shirnell Bingham And Other Missing People

Posted: 12/19/2013 12:38 pm EST
David Lohr,

More than 600,000 men, women and children are reported missing in the United States each year.

Please take a few moments to read about this week's missing people. If you recognize one of them, contact the appropriate law enforcement agency.

Typically, someone, somewhere has information that could help recover a missing person. And whether you realize it or not, that someone could be you.


Cherrie Mahan

Nearly 3 decades have passed since the disappearance of Cherrie Mahan, an 8-year-old girl who was one of the first missing kids to be featured on the "Have You Seen Me?" direct-mail advertisements. Mahan was last seen in Butler County, Pa., on the afternoon of Feb. 22, 1985. According to police, the young girl was dropped off at a school bus stop located about 100 yards from her family's hilltop home in Cabot. Whatever happened to her occurred during the walk to her house, police said. When Mahan failed to arrive home, her family went looking for her and, when they were unable to find her, they contacted police. Within an hour, hundreds of community volunteers and police officers were scouring every inch of the surrounding area. Not one sign of the missing girl was uncovered. When police questioned witnesses -- children who rode the bus, as well as a mother who had picked her children up at the bus stop -- they learned that a blue or green van with a mural of a mountain and a skier had been seen in the area at the time Mahan disappeared. The case received national media attention, and Mahan was the first missing child to appear on the "Have You Seen Me?" cards that were distributed by direct-mail advertiser Advo. The girl's photo was also printed on the side of cardboard milk cartons around the U.S. However, to this day authorities have been unable to locate the child or to determine if the van witnesses spotted is actually connected to her disappearance. The case quickly went cold and in 1992, Cherrie Mahan's family had her declared legally dead. They donated her entire life insurance policy, about $58,000, to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Anyone with information about Mahan's disappearance is asked to contact the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation Missing Persons Unit at (717) 783-5524.
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Re: CHERRIE MAHAN - 8 yo (1985) - Winfield/Butler County PA

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