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'Amy Mihaljevic' author draws 100

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 28, 2015 at 3:52 PM

WAKEMAN — About 100 people filled the basement of the United Methodist Church Sunday afternoon to hear a talk by James Renner, author of "Amy: My Search for Her Killer" a book about the unsolved murder of Amy Mihaljevic.

Mihaljevic was abducted from a public plaza in Bay Village Oct. 27, 1989, and her body was found Feb. 8, 1990 on County Road 1181 in Ruggles Township, not far from New London.

Norwalk resident Wilbur Salyer owned the farm at the time of the discovery.

"It's been a few years back," Salyer said this morning. "I remember getting up in the morning and I looked out and saw the police had the roads blocked. It was very hectic there for a few days.

"For a long time after that, people would come out and put flowers where the girl was found. I would get calls every once and a while. The FBI would call and sheriff's deputies from Ashland County would call.

"I called them one time about a guy who was asking me some questions, but he was legitimate. They checked him out."

Salyer has since sold the farm.

In answer to an often-asked question about how he became interested in the murder, Renner read the first chapter of the book to the audience. In that he explains how as an 11-year-old child he became fascinated by Amy and what happened to her.

Now a reporter for a magazine in Cleveland, Renner began writing an article on the subject and after a year and a half of research, ended up with the book.

He discussed several of the suspects in the abduction and then recounted some of the events relating to the case that have taken place since the book was published.

One of the most significant of these involves the Bay Village Police Department taking DNA samples from several people before Christmas. This technology was not available in 1990 and might be the key that solves the case.

Renner states in the book that the Ashland County Coroner's Office refused to release the results of the autopsy to him, but he said he was recently given access to it and has tentative plans to talk about it on the anniversary of her abduction later this year.

During the question-and-answer period, Renner said he did not want the book to frighten people because he considers the murder "a very isolated incident."

When asked if this was "the perfect murder," he said, "I think it is solvable," and said the FBI and local law enforcement officials are working hard on the case.

He encouraged anyone with questions or information on the case to contact him at amymihaljevic.blogspot.com.

Renner signed copies of the book following the talk. The New London Friends of the Library have a limited number of copies of the book available for sale at the library for $21.

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