Cherrie Mahan

Presented By

Bonnie M. Wells

By Liz Hayes


Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Shirley Mahan wants one wish granted before she dies: to learn what happened to her granddaughter who disappeared 20 years ago while walking home from her school bus stop.

"If I just knew if she was dead or alive, it would help," said Mahan, 77, of Clinton, Butler County.

Cherrie Mahan was 8 years old when she disappeared on Feb. 22, 1985.

Today marks the 20th anniversary of her disappearance. Her family knows about as much now of her whereabouts as they did that afternoon

"I just wish I had some closure," Shirley Mahan said. "But I don't."

Relatives concede that Cherrie likely is dead but vowed they won't stop looking for her or hoping she's alive

Mahan said she's dealt with the deaths of many family members -- including her father, a son and her husband -- but hasn't been able to come to terms with Cherrie's loss.

"Sometimes I wish I could sit on a couch and pull a blanket over my head and just not wake up," Mahan said.

Janice McKinney, Shirley Mahan's daughter and Cherrie's mother, said she keeps hoping someone will confess or give police the clue that solves the case.

"Somebody out there knows something," McKinney said. "They might not even know they know it."

McKinney said she wishes she'd driven her daughter home from the bus stop that day, rather than let her walk

Cherrie's stepfather, Leroy McKinney, usually drove her the 50 yards from the bus stop at Cornplanter and Winfield roads in Winfield to the family's mobile home at the end of a steep, wooded driveway. The home was not visible from the road. But that day they decided to let Cherrie walk.

"Every day I feel more and more guilty for not picking her up," Janice McKinney said. "That's a lot of guilt to carry around for 20 years."

The McKinneys contacted police within an hour, and hundreds of volunteers combed the woods and searched roadsides for a sign of Cherrie.

Other children from the bus and a mother who picked up several youngsters at her bus stop recalled seeing a blue or green van with a large mural that featured a skier and a snowy mountain scene. The van's description soon was circulated regionally and nationally, although police were never certain it was connected to her disappearance.

The van, like Cherrie, never was found.

"There has been hundreds and hundreds of vans that have been photographed and history checked," said Butler State Police Trooper Frank Jendesky, who is in charge of Cherrie's case.

Jendesky said the case remains open and he periodically checks out reported sightings. He sends out releases on the anniversary of her disappearance to keep the case in the public eye.

"We just pray that we'll get a break," he said. "It's really a bizarre case."

Cherrie's mother and grandmother, along with some family and friends, met at Saxonburg Memorial United Presbyterian Church on Sunday to celebrate Cherrie's life.

"She was such a loving little girl when she lived with us," said Shirley Mahan, recalling when her daughter and granddaughter lived with her in Clinton.

Mahan remembered the Cabbage Patch Kid doll she gave Cherrie.

"She carried it with her everywhere she went," Mahan said.

McKinney had a judge declare Cherrie legally dead in 1998 so money from a car accident settlement could be placed in a trust for McKinney's son Robert, now 15. Generally, a missing person can be declared dead seven years after disappearing; McKinney waited 13 years for the declaration.

"The not knowing is the worst thing," McKinney said. "I just don't know if she's dead or alive."

McKinney, who now lives in Mars, said she planted a tree at her workplace and places an angel statue near it to commemorate her daughter.

Mahan said she erected a cherub statue in a Saxonburg cemetery, but Cherrie doesn't have a grave or a gravestone there.

Until the family knows she's dead, Mahan isn't certain she'll ever have one.

"I just feel that I've prayed and prayed, and so many people tell me they've prayed for her," Mahan said. "If we get so many prayers, why don't we know?"

Cherrie Ann Mahan- born Aug. 14, 1976:

Cherrie Mahan disappeared 20 years ago while walking from her school bus stop to the home of her grandmother, Shirley Mahan, in Winfield, Butler County. Shirley Mahan, now 77, eventually moved to Clinton, Butler County. She says she's dealt with the deaths of her father, a son and her husband, but never has come to terms with the loss of Cherrie. Eric Felack/Tribune-Review News Service

Comments From Me:

Cherrie Mahan lived in Pennsylvania. She is not the only female that remains missing from Pennsylvania. And there are several others who went missing and were eventually found murdered. They too lived in Pennsylvania.

On this web site I have presented circumstantial and coincidental evidence that leads me [and many others] to believe that there is a serial killer operating within a 200 mile radius of Belpre, Ohio.

I believe that this killer began his career around 1975, and it continues to this day. He is now in his late 50's and has a history [as well as a criminal record] of offenses against women and girls. I also believe that he selected me, my daughter and my sister as three of his target victims. And I believe that if I had not taken every precaution that has been taken in the past twenty years, one or perhaps all of us would be dead today.

And I also believe that if that had happened, there would never have been anyone to pull these cases together and show how there is a definite pattern to their occurrence.


Bonnie M. Wells


I have been going through many of my web pages and doing updates or modifications as needed.

Today, March 3rd, 2013, while reading through this page, I noticed the dates and names - August 14; Butler; and of course Cherrie:

Cherrie sounds a lot like Sheree, which reminds me of the Sheree Petry murder of 1996 here in Washington County, Ohio. They say it is solved. I have always thought it was not solved correctly, and continue to believe that Sheree Petry's killer continues to walk our streets.

In recent years, August 14th has become a date of considerable interest to me, as I have seen some abduction cases on that date.

And the name Butler also reminds me of a case in which a woman was abducted and has never been found.

Here are the links to some of these cases. I just think it's so odd that the same dates and names just keep repeating themselves in these abduction and murder cases.

It's almost as if someone remembers the birthdays of certain victims; or the anniversary of certain cases - mostly cases of little girls, which is really frightening - and then has waited several years to re-enact those cases via the same names or dates.

Either it's all coincidence, or we are dealing with a long term, very sophisticated serial killer that really needs to be gotten off our streets.

Either way, I'm documenting the cases and showing how they fit together.

August 14th, 1994 case: 4 year old Jameika Porch

August 14th, 2000 case: John Thrasher

August 14th, 2002 case: 10 year old Jennifer Renee Short

Sheree Petry case, page 1

Teresa Lynn Butler

Bo Butler

Bonnie M. Wells

Without A Trace Series

Lookin' For A Killer

Pure Coincidence Book Series

Symbolic Cases

Case Directory

42 Days & Holding

2.2 Miles

Lookin' For A Killer Series

Dreams Panned-Out Series

This page is part of a 2005 Starlight Inner-Prize Case Profile special, and has been copied from various news sources available on the internet.

It has been chosen as a profile case because of the closeness between Ohio and Pennsylvania. Both states have several unsolved disappearances and unsolved murder cases:

There has been no "psychic work" done on this case.

A link to it can also be found in my Without A Trace Series:

Page posted/updated: 2-25-05/ BMW

Updated: 7-05-05: 9-22-05: 10-13-05 / 3-07 / 7-1-07/ March 3, 2013 / / BMW:

"Today would have been my mother's 99th birthday: She passed away in 1997. She so much wanted to see this killer apprehended. I tried Mom, I really tried - and am still trying. Happy Birthday Mom."