Amy Mihaljevic’s dad: ‘They’re going to find her killer’

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BAY VILLAGE - 25 years later, Mark Mihaljevic is, believe it or not, optimistic. "I've never lost hope, it's going to happen," Mark says.

"They're going to find her killer." In late October 1989, Mark's 10 year-old daughter, Amy, disappeared from a quaint shopping plaza in Bay Village.

Friends said she was planning to meet a man who had lured Amy on the pretext of buying a gift for her mother, Margaret.

Amy was never seen alive again.

Her body was found three months later by a jogger running along a remote road in Ashland County.

Mark says families of missing people are grateful for any help they receive in looking for them, as he was when his neighbors in Bay Village helped in the search for Amy.

"What a community," he says fondly now, 25 years later, "to offer that kind of involvement and that kind of concern."

The "Cleveland Miracle," the rescue last year of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight, rekindled interest in old, unsolved cases.

In some cases, authorities are still trying to see if they can find the person alive.

FOX 8's "Missing" project has helped police locate scores of missing people in just over a year.

The station features a missing person each day on the air in all its newscasts.

Mark Mihaljevic says families of the missing are grateful for any help in looking for their loved ones.

But if, as in Amy's case, the search leads to a tragic discovery, Mark says families than pivot to looking for help in finding their loved one's killer.

And now, there is a renewed effort to find Amy's killer, including new billboards, and the decision by County Prosecutor Tim McGinty to hire retired FBI agent Phil Torsney to work only on Amy's case.

"Puts a lot of hope in your heart," Mark says.

Torsney is perhaps best known for helping to track down notorious Boston mobster Whitey Bulger, who had evaded the FBI for more than a decade.

"I think Phil's idea is to whittle it down to where they can have a workable number (of suspects,)" Mark says.

Authorities are reportedly hoping that advances in DNA technology will help them crack the case.

Mark says he's grateful for all the help, especially that of the new Bay Village Chief of Police, Mark Spaetzel.

He was a young officer 25 years ago who spoke to Amy's class on the day she disappeared.

He has never given up the search for her killer.

Mark says Chief Spaetzel says he will retire in a few years, and needs to solve this case before he does.

Meantime, Mark says he thinks of Amy daily, but tries to keep active because, "you can't just sit, and let your mind control you."

Mark and Margaret divorced, and his ex-wife died in 2001 - Mark says, in part, of a broken heart. Margaret is buried next to Amy in Wisconsin.

Meantime, in Ohio, there is a renewed effort to find Amy's killer and bring a measure of peace to Mark, and to all those who still seek justice, for his little girl.

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