On February 22, 1985, 8-year-old Cherrie Mahan was last seen exiting her school bus near her home in Winfield Township, Pennsylvania. Cherrie never made it home, and has never been seen again.
Background of Cherrie Mahan
Cherrie Ann Mahan was born on August 14, 1976 in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania to a mother, Janice Mahan, who was only 16 years old at the time.
Cherrie was accepted by LeRoy McKinney as his stepdaughter after Janice married him. The family moved to a residence on Cornplanter Road in Butler County, Pennsylvania, in 1984.
At the time of her disappearance, Cherrie was a student at Winfield Elementary School, where she was regarded as a popular, intelligent, and cheerful young girl.
Disappearance of Cherrie
On the morning of February 22, 1985, Cherrie’s mother Janice accompanied her to the bus stop, which was located approximately 50 yards from their residence.
When Cherrie returned home from school, her mother intended to take her to a play date.
Cherrie exited the school bus with three friends at approximately 4:10 p.m. after school. Her companions boarded a car driven by the mother of one of the girls, while Cherrie walked home.
Cherrie was then observed walking past a parked blue/green van near the bus stop, before turning the corner and ascending her driveway.
Her stepfather went searching for her approximately 10 minutes after the school bus dropped her off outside their residence and she had not returned. After failing to locate her, he called the police at approximately 5:00 p.m. to report her as missing.
Investigation of Case
Police searched the area surrounding Cherrie’s home for days with the assistance of helicopters, bloodhounds, and 250 volunteers after she was reported missing.
The bright blue or green 1976 Dodge van seen at the bus stop during Cherrie’s disappearance may have a connection to her case, but the van or its driver have never been identified.
According to children on the bus, a van with murals depicting a snow-capped mountain and a skier wearing red and yellow clothing had been following the bus.
On the same day, a small, unidentified blue car was spotted near the bus stop, but it is unknown if it has any connection to her case.
Cherrie’s mother, Janice, later disclosed that Cherrie was conceived through rape and concluded that Cherrie’s father’s associates may be responsible for her disappearance.
The biological father of Cherrie has never been charged in connection with her disappearance, and he maintains his innocence.
Cherrie was declared legally deceased in November 1998, and her family established a trust fund in her name for her younger brother Robert, who was born four years after her disappearance.
In 2014, authorities received a tip that Cherrie was alive and living in Michigan under a different name, but DNA testing revealed that it was not her.
In November of 2015 cadaver dogs were sent to search a property in Winfield based on a tip they’d received, but no sign of Cherrie was found.
Cherrie Mahan’s location and the circumstances surrounding her disappearance remain unknown.
Authorities believe Cherrie was abducted, but no suspect has ever been identified in her case.
Investigators have no new leads in her disappearance, despite the numerous tips they have received over the years.
Born on August 14, 1976, a Caucasian female with brown hair and hazel eyes. Cherrie was 4’2 inches tall and weighed 68 pounds when she vanished.
Cherrie’s ears are pierced, and she has a scar on her left arm from a dog bite. Her left arm had been fractured below her left shoulder, but had healed by the time she vanished.
Cherrie was last seen wearing a white leotard, a grey coat, a denim blue skirt, white stockings, blue leg warmers, beige ankle boots, and brown Cabbage Patch earmuffs. She was carrying a blue backpack with two cream-colored straps and a blue top.
If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Cherrie Mahan please contact the Pennsylvania State Police Missing Persons Unity at (412) 284-8100.
Resources & Further Information
The Disappearance of Cherrie Mahan – Wikipedia
Cherrie Ann Mahan – NamUS
Cherrie Ann Mahan – The Charley Project