Leanne Marie Hausberg

Leanne Marie Hausberg was a 14-year-old girl who disappeared from a street corner in the Bensonhurst neighbourhood in Brooklyn, New York, on the 18th of March 1999 at 9:00am.

Some agencies have listed Leanne as a runaway, however, her family believe that she actually met with foul play. Leanne had written about a relationship with an older man in her diary. It is also possible that Leanne did not leave New York City.

Leanne Hausberg. Credit: International Missing Fandom

At the time of her disappearance, Leanne was 14 years old, 5″4′ and weighed between 120-150lbs. She had brown hair, brown eyes, pierced ears and a scar on her right cheek.

Leanne was last seen wearing a blue t-shirt, blue jeans, and blue Timberland work boots. She was also wearing a red and black bubble jacket, black earrings embedded with white stones and was carrying a black wallet or purse.

Leanne has not been seen or heard from since. She is listed as being Endangered Missing on the International Missing Fandom’s page. If Leanne is still alive today, she would be 37 years old.

Do you know what happened to Leanne?

Leanne age-progressed to 37. Credit: International Missing Fandom / National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Tags:

Missing, Missing Person, Missing Child, Missing Teenager, Unsolved, Unsolved Case, Disappearance, Disappeared, Leanne Hausberg, New York, 1999, True Crime, Crime, Mystery, Unsolved Mystery, Strange

Monica Cassandra Carrasco

Monica Cassandra Carrasco was born on the 13th of December, 1986, to her parents Kathy and Ramon Carrasco. She lived in Balmorhea, Texas, and the locals described her as being cheerful, well-liked and easy to get along with. She was even nicknamed “Happy-Happy” in middle school due to her constant smile and positive attitude.

In 2000, Monica’s father, Ramon, passed away from a heart attack due to the treatment he was receiving for bone cancer. Monica’s family believe that this caused her to fall into a deep depression.

At the time of her disappearance, Monica was 16 years old and an 11th-grade student at Alpine High School. Monica was a focused student, with her favourite subject being science and she hoped to attend Harvard University. Monica had dreams of becoming a lawyer or getting into aeronautics and working for NASA.

Shortly before Monica went missing, she had been hospitalised due to her mental health and anorexia. When she was released from the hospital, Monica went to live with her aunt and uncle, Velma and Bela Baeza, and their children. They lived four miles east of Balmorhea. Monica decided to stay with them because she was angry at her mother for having to stay in hospital.

At 11:00pm on the 1st of October, 2003, Monica’s cousins saw her go to bed. One family member went to check on her at 1:30am, and she was still in bed asleep. However, when a family member went to wake Monica up at 6:00am, she wasn’t there.

There was no sign of foul play or any indication that someone broke into her room. The door that led from her bedroom to the outside was unlocked. This suggested that sometime between 1:30am and 6:00am on the 2nd of October, 2003, Monica left her room and went outside.

Velma and Bela think that she went for a run but never returned. However, as much as Monica loved running, she took no footwear with her. The landscape surrounding the house was rocky, rugged and ridden with cactus plants which would have been painful to walk on barefoot.

Monica also did not tell anybody she was leaving, and she also took none of her belongings with her. Monica has not been seen or heard from again.

Monica Carrasco. Credit: International Missing Fandom

Monica’s other uncle, Rosendo Carrasco, who was a Reeves County Justice of the Peace at one time, believes that Monica might have become disorientated from her medication, wandered out to nearby Highway 17, and accepted a ride from a passing motorist. It’s also been theorised that Monica might have left her aunt and uncle’s house to meet someone she met online.

Monica is described as being a 16-year-old white/Hispanic female who stood at 5″5′ and weighed between 100-116lbs. She had dark brown/black hair that had red streaks, dark brown eyes, pierced ears, a small mole on her left cheek, a chickenpox scar on her forehead and dimples in both cheeks. Monica suffered from depression and schizophrenia, but she left her medication behind. Monica was also recovering from anorexia.

Monica was last known to be wearing a beige nightgown, however, NamUs lists her as last being seen in a beige shirt and teal shorts. Monica may also be carrying a large white or black bible with her.

If Monica is still alive today, she would be 35 years old.

Do you know what happened to Monica?

Monica age-progressed to 27. Credit: International Missing Fandom / National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Tags:

Missing, Missing Person, Missing Teenager, Unsolved, Unsolved Case, Unsolved Mystery, Mystery, Strange, Disappearance, Disappeared, True Crime, Crime, Monica Carrasco, Balmorhea, Texas, Highway 17

Karen Ann Spencer

In the early hours of the 30th of December, 1989, Karen was driving with her sister-in-law Christy. Karen was extremely angry at Christy, so angry that Karen decided to pull the car over on the I-275 in Clermont County, Ohio, and get out of the car.

Karen, who was 17 years old, had been staying with her brother, Curtiss, and his wife Christy in their apartment in Milford, Ohio. Despite only being 17, Karen already had developed a bad relationship with alcohol and was going through a rebellious stage. Richard, Karen’s father, was so concerned with her relationship with alcohol that he enrolled her in an alcohol treatment programme, but Karen refused to go.

She told her dad that she didn’t want to live at home anymore, and as a compromise he eventually let her live with Curtiss and Christy in Milford. Richard remained living at Karen’s family home in Reading, Ohio.

Curtiss and Christy had made plans to move to Florida the next month, and Karen was going to make the move with them.

Earlier that night, on the 30th of December 1989, Karen had been helping Christy pack some boxes when Christy broke the news to Karen that she had been having some relationship problems with Curtiss and was planning on ending the relationship, and wouldn’t be moving to Florida.

Karen did not take the news well, and she started to argue with Christy. It is thought that Karen was mostly upset that the breakdown of her brother’s marriage would mean that she would no longer be able to move to Florida.

It was during this argument and teenage-rage-filled mind that Karen made the decision to get out of Christy’s car and walk away.

Karen Ann Spencer. Credit: Fox 19

Christy tried to convince Karen to get back in the car, but she just kept walking. Christy then got into the driver’s seat of her car and just waited for a few minutes, deciding what to do next. During this time Christy was approached by a man in a red sports car, asking if she needed any help, but she waved him off.

When Karen still did not return to the car, Christy decided to drive slowly down the highway looking for her. Christy drove around 3 miles to the nearest interchange, before turning around and heading back down the I-275. There was still no sign of Karen, so Christy decided to return to Richard’s house.

Richard and his wife, Diane, had been looking after Christy’s infant son. Richard did say that when Christy arrived at around 3:30am to pick him up, she was crying hysterically and wouldn’t explain what was wrong. When he asked where Karen was, she seemed to panic and did not know what to say, but she eventually told him that Karen was back at her apartment before leaving with her son.

As soon as Karen’s family had been told the truth about what had happened, they immediately contacted the Miami Township Police Department and reported her as missing. Detectives initially believed that they were dealing with a runaway, but after realising that Karen only had $7 on her, and all her personal belongings were still at Christy’s home, they quickly realised that she had not run away.

Karen also had two uncashed cheques from her job as a waitress, and she had no prior history of running away from home.

After Karen’s disappearance started being shown on TV, the man in the red car who approached Christy that night came forward and said that he might have seen Karen. However, the version of events that he told the police was very different to what Christy had said.

The man, who has not been named, said that he saw a car that he believed had broken down and that he saw a woman walking away from the car. He then claimed Christy got out of her car and walked to his car, and told him that she had been in an argument with her sister-in-law and asked him if he would give her a ride home. The man then went to look for Karen, but after driving around for 10 minutes, he gave up and continued on his way.

Due to the conflicting versions of events, detectives made both Christy and the man in the red car take polygraph tests. Both Christy and the man passed the polygraph tests about the night Karen went missing.

Police will not reveal the name of the man, but they have said that he was living in Harrison County, Ohio, at the time of Karen’s disappearance.

One woman contacted police saying that she was outside with her dog at around the time Karen went missing and that she heard a woman screaming. This woman lived close to the Loveland-Indian Hill exit off I-275, which is close to where Karen was last seen. The woman wasn’t sure if this scream was related to Karen’s disappearance or not.

Karen’s family were holding out hope that she was still alive, and conducted several searches around both sides of the I-275, and even walked from Milford to the I-71 interchange several times. Sadly, their intense search efforts found no evidence of what happened to Karen that night.

The police made several public appeals for information, but no one came forward with information. The police were open to any possibilities, but privately they thought that Karen was most likely dead even though they had no evidence to support foul play had taken place.

Karen Ann Spencer. Credit: Unidentified Awareness Fandom

Karen’s family eventually stopped talking to Christy due to tensions becoming so high. Christy was also the last person to see Karen alive, and although there hadn’t been any evidence to suggest that Christy was involved in Karen’s disappearance, there were too many unknowns and Karen’s family were unsure of what to believe.

In 1993, Richard and Diane moved from Reading, Ohio to West Chester, Pennsylvania. Even though it had been 4 years since Karen went missing, they set up a call-forwarding from their old phone number to their new one, just in case Karen decided to call them. Richard and Diane desperately wanted to believe that Karen was still alive, and had just started a new life for herself.

In 1993, a truck driver told police that he saw a man in a pickup truck near Lake Isabella in the late December of 1989 digging a grave and burying a woman’s body that was wrapped in a blanket. He said that after he saw Karen’s missing poster, he recognised her as the woman who was being buried. The truck driver took the police to where he saw the man dig the grave but after an extensive search of that area, they found no evidence to suggest that anyone had ever been buried in that location.

The police did keep the truck driver on their radar for several years as possibly being involved in Karen’s disappearance, but they found nothing that linked him to Karen’s case.

In 2000, Richard and Diane received a call from a man who told them that their daughter was buried in Renfro Valley, Kentucky. However, it was later revealed that this caller was 54-year-old Larry Mullins who lived in Hamilton County with his grandmother. It turned out that Larry liked to amuse himself by writing journal entries about car accidents, missing people etc and then years later call the families and taunt them. He had over 230 journals.

Larry was charged with several misdemeanours. In Karen’s case, he was given a fine of $500 and sentenced to 45 days in jail.

However, the new publicity of Karen’s case evoked a call from Kate Harner. Kate had actually called the police in 1990 with her tip, but the police never returned her call. So Kate called them again and told them the same tip she had told them in 1990.

Kate said that sometime in the late December of 1989, she had offered a ride to a young woman who was walking along the I-275 highway. Whilst Kate was talking with the woman, a red pickup truck with Kentucky license plates pulled up next to her. There was a man who was driving the truck, and when he rolled down the window the woman smiled at him as if she knew him. The woman then waved off Kate, and Kate assumed that she was going to get a ride with the man in the pickup truck. It was when Kate saw the missing posters of Karen that she realised the woman she had seen that night was actually Karen.

Karen’s case went quiet for a few years until in 2009 when the police announced that they had a suspect in the case and that they hoped an arrest in the case would be imminent. The suspect has not been named publicly, but he is the man who was driving the red car on the night that Karen went missing.

Police ruled him out at the time as he had passed the polygraph exam, but over the years the man started to change his story, whilst Christy’s version of events stayed exactly the same. This made detectives suspicious, so they asked the FBI to go over his polygraph test results. The FBI’s behavioural scientists determined that the man had actually been manipulating the test, and had actually failed.

At the time of Karen’s disappearance, the man was in his twenties and he was driving a red Datsun B310 on the night of Karen’s disappearance. He admitted that he approached Christy’s car because he thought it had broken down, but Christy never approached him, so the only way he would have known about the fight they had was if Karen had told him. The man also admitted that he did see Karen that night, something that he denied during his polygraph test, but that she had refused his offer of a ride.

This makes him the last person to see Karen alive.

Richard, Karen’s father, has said that the man had his car cleaned twice on the day that Karen went missing and then his car disappeared. The title was never transferred so it was never sold, but the insurance was cancelled and the car was never seen again.

The suspect also knew things about the case that were never made public, and according to one of his friends, he referred to “the girl missing from I-275” before Karen had even been reported missing.

The Clermont County prosecutor has said that it is likely they would get a conviction based on circumstance evidence, but they still asked Karen’s family if they would be willing to accept a lower sentence in return for the location of Karen’s body. Karen’s family accepted this, as they just want to bring her home, but no charges have been filed.

The FBI is also convinced that the man is the murderer after hearing his interview tapes, but they believe that if the police were able to have a little more convincing evidence against him, they would be able to arrest him.

The police are urging anyone with information about Karen’s disappearance to come forward, as even the tiniest bit of evidence could be the one thing needed to arrest the suspect.

Do you know what happened to Karen?

Karen Ann Spencer is age-progressed to 41 years old. Credit: Medium.com / National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.


Tags:

Unsolved, Unsolved Case, Missing, Missing Person, Missing Female, Unsolved Mystery, 1989, Karen Ann Spencer, Clermont County, Ohio, True Crime, Mystery, Disappearance, Disappeared, Strange

Hang Lee

On the 12th of January, 1993, 17-year-old Hang Lee went to visit Mark Wallace for a job interview in St.Paul, Minnesota. Hang Lee told her brother before leaving to search for her if she didn’t return home.

Hang Lee’s friend, Nikki Lee (who is no relation to Hang) was the last person to see Hang Lee. Nikki recanted her story about Hang’s disappearance several times, and ultimately became uncooperative with the police and hired an attorney.

Mark Wallace is the prime suspect in Hang Lee’s disappearance. He has a history of sex crimes, and one of his victims was lured to him after he offered her a job interview. Mark Wallace ultimately ended up being uncooperative with authorities and hired an attorney.

Authorities do not have any concrete evidence to link Mark to Hang’s disappearance, but it is strongly believed that he was involved in her disappearance. Foul play is highly suspected.

At the time of her disappearance, Hang Lee was wearing black jeans, a black t-shirt with “skid row” written on the back of it and a black leather jacket. She was 5″0′, weighed 90lbs, and had brown eyes with black hair (her bangs were dyed red). Hang could speak both English and Hmong.

Hang Lee has been missing for 29 years. Do you know where she is?

Hang Lee. Credit: Unidentified Awareness Fandom

Tags:

Unsolved, Missing, Missing Person, Missing Woman, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1993, Disappearance, Disappeared, True Crime, Mystery, Foul Play

Dulce Maria Alavez

Five-year-old Dulce Maria Alavez was last seen on the 16th of September, 2019, at the Bridgeton City Park Recreational Area, New Jersey, playing with her three-year-old brother on the swings. Just 30 yards away, their mother (Noema Alavez Perez) sat in her car, helping a family member with some homework.

A short while later, Noema’s son returned to her car crying because he couldn’t find his sister. Noema became panicked that her daughter had been abducted, and called 911. The next day, an Amber Alert was issued for Dulce Maria Alavez.

Over 100 police officers searched the park and surrounding areas thoroughly, but they found no sign or trace of her.

Dulce Maria Alavez has not been seen or heard from since the 16th of September 2019.

Dulce Maria Alavez. Credit: FBI

A month after Dulce had gone missing, a witness contacted the police with a description of a man they saw at the park on the day that Dulce went missing. The police did ask Dulce’s family if they had noticed anyone at the park that day who seemed out of place or who was acting unusual, but they hadn’t noticed anyone.

The man the witness described is said to be a Hispanic male with light skin, and between 5’6″ and 5’8″ tall. He was wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans and a white baseball cap. He is thought to be between 30 and 35 years old, and the witness said that he was driving a red van. The man also reportedly had two young children with him, potentially to blend in with the crowd at the playpark more.

Sketch of the man suspected to be involved in Dulce Maria Alavez’s disappearance. Credit: NJ.com / New Jersey State Police

Although the sketch of the man was publicised and shown across the country, the police and FBI did not receive any new tips about the man or Dulce’s whereabouts.

In 2020, a false claim was sent to the Bridgeton Police Department that claimed Dulce had been found but was dead. This false claim spread all over social media and momentarily derailed the investigation.

As of 2022, Dulce Maria Alavez is still missing. In 2021, the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children posted two age-progressed photos of Dulce.

Dulce Maria Alavez age-progressed to 6/7 years old. Credit: Fox 29 / National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

At the time of her disappearance, Dulce was 5 years old. She was around 3ft tall and weighed between 60 and 70lbs. She had brown eyes and black hair. On the day she went missing, she was wearing a yellow t-shirt with a koala on the front, white checkered pants that had flowers and butterflies on them and white sandals.

Do you know where Dulce Maria Alavez is?

Dulce Maria Alavez on the day she went missing. Credit: PhillyVoice

Tags:

Unsolved, Missing, Missing Child, True Crime, Mystery, Disappearance, Disappeared, New Jersey, 2019, Dulce Maria Alavez, Strange, Kidnapping, Abduction

Angela Darcel Cephas

Angela Darcel Cephas was a 20-year-old woman living with her family on Dragston Road, close to North Avenue in Port Norris, New Jersey, in May 1984.

On the 4th of May 1984, Angela left her family home on her pink and white 20-inch Huffy girls’ model bicycle with a white banana seat, the images of flowers on the frame, and the initials “KC” on the neck near the handlebars. She told her sister that she would visit her ex-boyfriend, who was an older man who lived close by.

Angela has not been seen or heard from since.

At the time of her disappearance, Angela was seven months pregnant with her first child. Angela’s sisters have stated that her former boyfriend was the father of her unborn child, but that he did not want to take responsibility for the child. Angela’s sisters also believe that he is responsible for her disappearance.

The man refused to co-operate with the police when they were first investigating Angela’s disappearance, but when he was interviewed by the Atlantic City Press in 1998 he said that he had never dated her, nor was he the father of her baby and that he only knew her as a neighbour.

Before she disappeared, Angela had said that she was thinking about running away from home. But her family don’t think that she would have left without telling them where she was going. Angela had not lived anywhere else aside from the neighbourhood her entire life.

Foul play is highly suspected in Angela’s disappearance.

Angela did not take her purse, cigarettes or watch with her when she vanished, and the bicycle she was riding that day has never been recovered.

Angela is described as being an African-American female with black hair and brown eyes. She stood at around 4″3′ and weighed around 135lbs. She was wearing a brown sweater, a white t-shirt, grey maternity pants and blue sneakers. She was seven months pregnant, and her child was due to be born in early August 1984.

If she is still alive today, Angela would be around 58 years old. Her child would be around 38 years old.

Do you know what happened to Angela?

Angela Cephas. Credit: The Charley Project

Tags:

Unsolved, Missing, Missing Person, Unsolved Case, Cold Case, True Crime, Mystery, Port Norris, New Jersey, Angela Cephas, Disappearance, Disappeared, 1984, 1980s

Tammy Mahoney

Tammy Mahoney was last seen on the 8th of May 1981, close to Route 46 in Oneida, Madison County, New York. She was most likely visiting friends by hitchhiking.

Tammy was a nineteen-year-old girl who was studying at the State University of New York, and she was planning on becoming a vet.

Tammy was picked up and taken to a house on Territory Road, just off Route 46 in Oneida. There was a party happening at the home, and according to some witnesses, Tammy left the party on foot.

After the party, Tammy has not been seen or heard from since.

Tammy Mahoney. Credit: FBI

Tammy was reported missing on the 9th of May 1981.

Some information was given to law enforcement that stated that Tammy had been gang-raped and murdered at the party that night. Investigators have between twelve and fourteen suspects, but they do not have enough evidence to charge anyone with Tammy’s murder or disappearance.

In 2003 the Madison County sheriff believed that the case was ready to go to a grand jury as he believed he had found who was responsible for Tammy’s disappearance, however, the U.S. Attorney did not move forward with the case.

In October 2020, the FBI made a public appeal to someone who brought in a wallet to a police station just a week after Tammy disappeared. They stressed that the person who brought the lost wallet in is not in any trouble, but the information they have could be the one piece of information needed to solve Tammy’s case.

The FBI is offering a $20,000 reward for any information that leads to the discovery of Tammy, or the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for Tammy’s death or disappearance.

If you, or someone you know, has any information regarding Tammy’s disappearance or the wallet, please contact your local FBI or police office.

Tammy Mahoney. Credit: FBI

Tags:

Unsolved, Missing, Missing Person, True Crime, Mystery, Disapperance

Blaine Hector

Blaine Hector was a married 30-year-old stay at home father to his two children from Cornish, New Hampshire. He was attending Norwich University in Vermont and was also in the New Hampshire National Gaurd.

Blaine’s brother passed away during a truck accident in Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf War. Blaine became depressed about his brother’s passing, and he dropped out of the New Hampshire National Gaurd.

Blaine’s mother said that he had attended a doctor’s appointment about his depression, but he had walked out halfway through the appointment as he was not satisfied.

On December the 24th, 2001, Blaine went to his father’s home in Cornish, New Hampshire. He had taken a used Saab car from an auto dealer to show his father.

The owner of the dealership reported the car stolen, and when the police showed up at Blaine’s father’s house about the car, Blaine ran off into the woods behind his dad’s home.

This was the last time anyone saw or heard from Blaine.

Blaine Hector. Credit: Facebook / NH and VT Lostnmissing

There was an intensive search for Blaine in the forest to which he ran off, but no trace of him was ever found. A helicopter even searched for any sign of an “SOS” signal or a makeshift camp, but there were none.

Blaine’s family say that he was an accomplished outdoorsman, and he had very good survival skills in the wilderness. But when Blaine took off into the forest, all he had with him was the clothes he was wearing.

Since his disappearance, Blaine’s bank accounts and social security number have been inactive.

After he went missing, Blaine’s wife divorced him on the grounds of abandonment.

Blaine’s father passed away in 2004, and Blaine’s family were sure that if he was still alive he would have come to his father’s funeral. Police staked out the funeral with the intention of seeing Blaine, but he never showed up to the funeral.

Blaine’s family believe that he ran away and started a new life, potentially in Canada, which is why there has been no activity on his bank accounts or social security number.

Some people believe that he may have run away because he was scared of the police, but many people, the police included, don’t think this is the case.

As of 2022, Blaine Hector is still a missing person. There is a warrant out for his arrest due to the car theft.

If he is still alive, he would be 51 years old.

Where is Blaine Hector?

Blaine Hector. Credit: Facebook / NH and VT Lostnmissing

Tags:

Unsolved, Missing, Missing Person, Mystery, True Crime, Disappearance

Amanda Grazewski

Amanda Grazewski was 23 years old in March 2020, and she was staying in Derry, New Hampshire at a friend’s house.

In the middle of March, Amanda left the hotel she had been staying in at Nashua, New Hampshire, to stay with a friend in Derry. Amanda brought two backpacks full of clothes, her purse and mobile phone with her to her friend’s apartment which was located on 18 Birch Street in Derry.

She arrived at her friend’s place on the 17th of March 2020, and she stayed up late that night with four other people who were also staying over. Amanda stayed up even after everyone else had gone to bed.

When one person in the apartment woke up in the early hours, they discovered that Amanda was not there. She had left her mobile phone, purse and clothes in the apartment. Amanda has not been seen or heard from since.

Amanda was reported missing two days when one of her family members was contacted by her friend she was staying with.

When police were investigating Amanda’s phone, they found that Amanda had been texting someone about her ambition to move to Salem. Police do not know the identity of the person she was texting, and they found that the number was tied to a prepaid burner phone.

Investigators have said that the text messages exchanged were brief and that there was no indication as to what location in Salem she wanted to stay at, but it did seem as though Amanda was leaning towards staying in Salem rather than Derry.

K9 units were used to search the wooded areas close to where Amanda was staying, but these searches yielded no results.

On March 26th, just nine days after Amanda went missing, her social security card was found outside of Elliot Hospital, which is around 11 miles from Birch Street, Derry.

Amanda is known by police to frequent Nashua, Salem, Manchester and Hooksett. Amanda also has a history of substance abuse but is thought to have been clean at the time of her disappearance. She did not have access to or own her own car.

Amanda’s family believe that she is a victim of foul play and that it is strongly out of character for her to not have made any contact with her family or friends. Police have always explored the possibility of foul play in Amanda’s case, but they do not have any evidence to support this theory.

As of 2022, Amanda’s case is still being investigated as a missing person case.

Amanda had several tattoos at the time of her disappearance. She had large butterflies on her right hip, a small heart underneath her left breast and a peace sign with a tree on the back of her neck.

If you have any information regarding Amanda’s disappearance, please contact the Derry police department on (603) 432-6111. There is a $1,000 reward for any information leading to Amanda’s location.

Amanda Grazewski. Credit: The Vanished Podcast

Tags:

Unsolved, Missing, Missing Person, Mystery, True Crime, Disappearance

Cherrie Mahan

Cherrie Ann Mahan was born on the 14th of August 1976 in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, USA. She was born to her mother, 16-year-old Janice Mahan, who later confessed that Cherrie was a result of her being raped at 15. Despite this, Janice loved Cherrie and doted on her all the time. Janice is quoted, as saying: “We were always together. We grew up together. She was my life.”

Janice married LeRoy McKinney, a Vietnam war veteran, who happily accepted Cherrie as his step-daughter. The three of them relocated to Cornplanter Road, Butler County, Pennsylvania.

Cherrie and Janice, 1979

Friday, 22nd February 1985 was an exciting day for Cherrie, as after school her mum had promised to take her on a playdate. That morning, Janice walked Cherrie to the bus stop, which was about 50 feet (15 meters) away from their house. They told each other that they loved each other, and Cherrie then boarded the bus.

At 4:10pm, on the 22nd of February, Cherrie was last seen exiting the school bus on Cornplanter Road. She left the bus with three of her friends, and then her friends went over to a car driven by one of their mums – Debbie Burk. Debbie had followed the school bus with her own car. Burk saw Cherrie turn a corner to walk up the driveway of her house. Debbie also said that Cherrie walked past a bluish-green van, that had parked near the bus stop. The van is described as being a 1970s-era Dodge (potentially a 1976 model) with a distinctive painting of a skier on a snow-capped mountain on the side.

An artist’s impression of the van

Cherrie’s stepfather overheard the school bus stopping near his house. He said he intended to meet Cherrie at the bottom of their driveway, but Cherrie’s mother said: “It’s a nice day. Let her walk.”

After 10minutes Cherrie had not arrived home. Her mum and stepfather began to worry. They did a search of their driveway which did not locate Cherrie or any footprints in the snow. They did, however, find a set of tire impressions in the soil of their driveway, just 50 yards (45 meters) away from their home.

An intense search by police was quickly launched to look for Cherrie. Bloodhounds and helicopters helped search the land surrounding her home, and investigators went house to house. 250 local volunteers conducted an extensive search of Butler County, but this turned up no results.

The local community raised $39,000 as a reward for Cherrie’s safe return, with local businesses coming together to pledge another $10,000 for information leading to an arrest of Cherrie’s captors. The local community was devastated by the disappearance of Cherrie.

Police ruled out that Cherrie had been kidnapped for ransom, and came to the conclusion that Cherrie had likely been taken by someone she knew. The family have been ruled out as suspects.

Police managed to get a few eyewitness accounts of the van that was seen near the bus stop. Eyewitnesses say that they saw a vehicle, matching that description, travelling in New Kensington and that the van was heading in the direction of Mount Pleasant. Another witness said that they saw a blue car following this van and that the van was repainted black just two weeks after Cherrie went missing.

After 3 months of Cherrie being missing, a national direct mailing company printed photos of Cherrie, alongside the artist’s impression of the van, and mailed them to thousands of households across the USA.

The poster that was mailed across the USA

There have been thousands of leads in the years since Cherrie disappeared. Most of them have been unhelpful, and none have ever gotten the police any closer to finding Cherrie. In 2000, a computer-generated image of how Cherrie may have looked at 23 was mailed across the USA, but this failed to turn up any leads.

In 2011, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania police department said that they had received a tip that they deemed “potentially crucial for the investigation in the future.” No specific details were released, but investigators say that the tip had come from someone close to Cherrie, and could lead police to a “known specific actor or actors.” The spokesperson declined to say more due to the ongoing investigation but did say that this “potentially crucial” information suggests that Cherrie is no longer alive.

In 2018, Cherrie’s stepfather received a letter that described, in detail, who had murdered Cherrie, why they had done that, and where she was buried. The letter ends with the writer saying “I pray you find some peace after you find her body” The author of the letter is unknown. The police and FBI did follow up with the letter, and even investigate a property mentioned, but the letter was deemed to be “not very fruitful.”

Cherrie’s mother, Janice, thinks that whilst Cherrie’s biological dad is not involved, people he knew are. Janice also said that authorities did not believe her when she told them she had been raped, or that she was pregnant because of the rape. Janice said in 2019 that an anonymous tip could help give her family so much closure and that she just “wishes someone would come forth and tell me what happened. That’s all I pray for, all the time, is just to know.”

Although Cherrie was declared legally dead in November 1998, the investigation into her disappearance is still ongoing. Hopefully, with the “potentially crucial” lead and advancements in forensic science and technology, Cherrie’s family and friends will one day be able to have closure.

Below is an age-progressed image of what Cherrie might look like at 42 years old. If you recognise her or know anything about her disappearance, please call the Pennsylvania State Missing Persons Unit at 724-284-8100.

Aged progressed image of Cherrie

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True crime, unsolved, missing, children, USA, Pennsylvania, missing person, missing child, unsolved case, cold case, disapperance, kidnapping, kidnapped