“The Lake Erie Murders: Who Killed Amy Mihaljevic?,” a three-hour special, will premiere at 9 p.m. Dec. 30. Four subsequent weeks of standalone episodes — about cases of young girls and women who were found murdered around the Great Lake area — will air starting at 10 p.m. Jan. 6.
“The aptly named Lake Erie is really a character throughout this new series, representing a looming darkness that sets up a stark contrast between the idyllic lakeside towns and the violent dangers of the past,” said Henry Schleiff, group president of Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, American Heroes Channel and Destination America.
“In ‘Who Killed Amy Mihaljevic?,’ ID takes a deeper exploration into a case that has never truly gone cold in the region and hopes to bring some resolution to the Mihaljevic family and sadly many others, who have been suffering for nearly three decades.”
Amy Renee Mihaljevic was kidnapped from the Bay Square Shopping Center in Bay Village on Oct. 27, 1989. The FBI is offering a reward up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people who are responsible.
The girl left her school on foot and headed to the shopping center, where she last was seen outside a business apparently waiting for someone.
“It is reported that a man approached Mihaljevic and put his hand on her shoulder as he walked her through the parking lot. Further investigation revealed that Mihaljevic had received a phone call prior to her abduction from an unknown person. That person arranged a meeting with Mihaljevic to assist the caller in selecting a gift to give to Mihaljevic’s mother because of her promotion at Trading Times Magazine,” according to the online FBI report.
On Feb. 8, 1990, a jogger discovered Mihaljevic’s body in a field adjacent to Township Road 1181 in Ashland County’s Ruggles Township near New London. Norwalk resident Wilbur Salyer owned the farm at the time.
FBI agents have said “the body was dressed in clothing that Mihaljevic was last seen wearing.” However, three items — a turquoise horse earring, black ankle boots and a black leather binder, which were believed to have been with the victim at the time of her abduction — never have been recovered.
The unsolved case prompted journalist James Renner, an Ohio native, to write “Amy: My Search for Her Killer,” which was published in 2006. About 100 people filled the basement of the United Methodist Church near Wakeman in mid-April 2007 to hear Renner’s talk, where he autographed copies of his book.
“Amy was just a few months younger than me. I would search for her and her abductor in crowds at Westgate Mall when I was 11,” Renner earlier told the Reflector.
"It was the first time in my life that I realized there were adults out there who could do evil things to children and I wanted to help. Over the years I've always thought about the case. And when I became a journalist, I started to research the crime in an attempt to finally solve it,” Renner said.
About late October 2015, the Bay Village Police Department issued a press release in response to a Free Time magazine article by Renner, who reported uncovering “a person of interest.” Both police and the FBI said they “continue to aggressively investigate” Mihaljevic’s murder and the FBI didn’t “possess enough information to indict anyone.” Police also said both agencies “have not, and will not, comment on any particular person thought to be a suspect,” pointing out “the FBI has never named a top suspect.”
“While the Bay Village police appreciates Mr. Renner’s passion to find the killer of Amy Mihaljevic, his article does a disservice to the investigation,” police said in its statement.
Investigation Discovery said its upcoming TV special “takes viewers through the facts of the case and painstakingly follows how each lead was exhausted and how suspects were dismissed one by one.”
“In a chilling revelation, the special also features multiple women with stories similar to Amy’s when they were also young girls, who have chosen to remain anonymous due to the fear that the abductor is still out there. The hours expose a series of other child murders in the area to explore potential similarities to Amy’s case, in the hopes that the details will help bring forward new leads and suspects.”
Anyone with information concerning the murder of Amy Mihaljevic should contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI. You also may contact your local FBI officce or the nearest American embassy or consulate.